NY vs LA : Body Crazy

8 years ago by

It’s fitness mania these days. Like, fitness is more fashionable than fashion. To the point where you wonder what things were even like before. And then you remember. Oh yeah! Before, you could be chill half the year and then when May came around (or for people me, June) you’d start flipping out thinking about putting your bikini on and you’d go straight to eating salad and doing sit ups.

Aaaah, the good old days. Ok, I’m not saying it was ideal in terms of life balance, ok. But the fact is, now the pressure is ON 365 days a year. I think, as with anything, there are positives and negatives. The positive is that we’re all becoming more active and super well-educated about nutrition and when you get down to it, it has to be better than the rock n’ roll look of being skinny and pale with a cigarette in your hand and an empty look in your eyes.

But on the less positive side, there’s a kind of hysteria around being healthy and the impossibly skinny and muscular bodies that are presented to us as being desirable, normal, and attainable if you just try harder (you’re so lazy!). And all the weird juicing trends along with it.

And at a certain point, you have to be honest. Being as skinny and muscular as the dreamy girls on Instagram—that’s a job. Or at the very least, an obsession.

That’s how I saw things living in New York. I’d tell myself “Ok, it’s a bit crazy, this obsession with exercise and kale (well actually, kale is over, cauliflower is the new cool vegetable) but it’s a trend, it’s going to pass, it’s nice, so hey, let’s enjoy it while it lasts, find inspiration in it and give it a try.”

And then suddenly I went to spend a month in LA. And here, hey girrrrrl: welcome to the NEXT LEVEL.

Chris and I understood it pretty fast when, on the first day we arrived, we dropped off our suitcases at our bungalow in Venice Beach, got behind the steering wheel of our rental SUV , and headed straight to Whole Foods for some groceries .

Whole Foods is an organic supermarket that’s so nice it’s almost becoming better than Instagram for socializing. You run into your friends there, you check out new nutrition trends (and indulge into a bit of real life Tender. Oh yeah, and sometimes you even get groceries.

In New York, Whole Foods is mostly populated with hurried hipsters, moms (and dads!!!) who want “the best for their kids” and the occasional lost hippie, scratching their chins at the astronomical prices.

In LA, it’s simple – at first glance, you’d think Whole Foods was a gym.

EVERYONE is wearing exercise clothes. The men are wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, the women are wearing yoga pants, sneakers or flip flops, and a little jacket because “it’s soooo cold in LA in January!!!” And not only is everyone wearing exercise clothes, but on top of it all, EVERYONE IS SUPER GOOD LOOKING.

That’s how it is in LA. It’s the city of fitness. Delicious, healthy restaurants abound, and there’s a yoga or pilates class on every corner. People take their bodies super seriously and, I repeat, at the risk of sounding like Zoolander : THEY’RE SUPER GOOD LOOKING.

Any normal girl would feel like she was lagging behind and not being healthy enough. Especially since, unlike in New York, you can’t really make up for it by being cool. Your clothes can’t save you here. Most of the time, everyone spends their lives in lycra.

In LA, coolness is well-hidden. You have to understand the city to find it.

It’s funny, actually. Unlike in New York, with its seasons and insane density per square foot, in LA, the weather is constantly beautiful, there’s lots of space, and the beach and mountains are never very far away. It’s a real outdoor culture. For example, I was still there this weekend, and no one asked me if I wanted to go to brunch like in New York.


List of activities my friends proposed?

  • Go on a hike.
  • Go for a walk on the beach.
  • Go for a bike ride by the sea.
  • Go surfing.
  • Go see a guru.

Ok the guru has nothing to do with the rest, and I would have liked to go, but I had too much work. Anyway, that’s what weekends are like in LA. So there’s no time to be unhealthy, and tons of time to admire your abs and ogle other people’s bubble butts.

I have to admit, even with my French cynicism, it’s pretty inspiring. Oh and by the way, sticking to the TMI vibe of this post, here are the demons we got rid of while slowly adapting to our LA lifestyle:

  • Ok first of all, on the first day, Chris went to buy a surfboard and skateboard and he started surfing twice a day. And he’d skateboard to get to the surfing.
  • I got into the habit of running on the beach, since it was only two minutes from our house.
  • I bought a bottle of wine, of course, because I’m me after all. But I didn’t open it! Never once in three weeks.
  • Since I didn’t open the wine, I didn’t smoke any cigarettes. The only time I smoked was one cigarette after a dinner with friends.
  • I rented a bicycle and started doing everything on my bike. Unlike in New York, where it’s -12 degrees half the year and any car driver’s only goal is to murder everybody (which made me give up biking) – in LA everyone drives slowly and they stop religiously any time there’s a pedestrian (it’s easy, though, because there are zero pedestrians. I actually wonder if drivers stop simply because they’re shocked to see a pedestrian rather than doing it to be polite).
  • I downloaded Mind Body Online (an app for scheduling exercise classes) and started trying out Pilates classes in my area. There were classes everywhere, and that’s how I (finally) fell in love with Pilates.
  • Like, I actually wanted to go.

And, miracle of miracles, we cooked at home. EVERY DAY. No. I don’t know if you realize – for any New Yorker, cooking is a heroic act. I don’t really know why, but it’s probably got something to do with the fact that getting groceries is a heroic act. Other than the few exceptional people (like parents, who are basically heroes of daily life) who have mastered the art of ordering groceries online, in New York, it’s always a pain. We don’t have cars, so you end up at the supermarket with your arms full and you always end up forgetting something / not being able to carry 65% of the things you need, so you end up going home with an avocado and a roll of toilet paper wondering what delicious meal you’re going to cook with that. And even when you do manage to get groceries, most of them end up forgotten in the fridge because it’s too easy to be tempted by last minute dinner invitations or a late night Seamless delivery.

After two weeks, we were like two different people. Not yet SUPER GOOD LOOKING (hahaha)(JUST WAIT) but we were definitely eating better and our cheeks were rosy from the ocean air.


You have to admit, there are times when all that good health can hurt your eyes it shines so bright. If you spend too much time in certain neighborhoods, LA can quickly turn into a mini Stepford Wives of young, beautiful women in yoga pants taking their children to school in their shiny SUVs.

But I really liked that energy. Since we were based in Venice, I still had access to a rather interesting mix of people. I could do everything on foot or by bike. I loved having such easy access to nature. In that sense, it reminded me of my native Corsica. I also liked having a car. It’s crazy how much you can do when you have a car!

And finally, I also really liked the style of the girls here. There’s a real sense of style that resonated with me. I’ve always had a weakness for brands like James Perse, lovely tee-shirt dresses (that you can really only wear with a perfect body, typical of LA, cool but not so cool) but now fashion is blossoming in a totally new way in LA and I can’t wait to tell you about it because I think it’s in response to a new desire we all have for fashion that’s simpler, more intimate, less flashy, and most of all, less based on trends, which don’t mean much anymore. But I’m getting off topic—I’ll tell you more about that later.

In the meantime, I hope to bring back a little bit of that spirit to New York with me, and that desire to live a simpler, healthy life. It did me an enormous amount of good—I think it even changed something in me deep down, and I’m really going to miss being able to go sit by the ocean whenever the New York (imported via email, text and Skype) stress gets overwhelming.

Translated by Andrea Perdue

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  • Oh, oh, oh, I don’t like California much at all. I love New York. I admit though, that when I lived in California fitness and healthy eating were a number one priority and it was easier in many ways to maintain health. Here, sometimes, we have to really work at it. But that’s the point to me, I think we just work harder, things are crazier and sped up. One either likes it or not.

  • Ooohhhh so when are you moving over??

  • What i don’t like is the obsession people have for sport food fashion i am more into is here so we can enjoy try different things do sport but also just nothing…people are so much occupied with how they look their body the end of the day they are empty in mind… they feel their life with sport and good healthy food..but they lost the fun the craziness what makes life interesting..
    *and just for Whole Foods you can buy a lot of junk in there Frozen pizza for example ….just do it yourself so much more heathy…we transformed “bad habits” by “new habits” with great marketing …cook and eat simple and smile and do sport and drink wine and make love…what else..
    Yael Guetta

  • You need a good dose of Annie Hall

  • “Unlike in New York, where… any car driver’s only goal is to murder everybody”

    Haha that is so true – it’s like that in the UK too.

    Otherwise LA sounds terrifying. New York too! I’m very glad not to have to live amongst the thin and muscular. I much prefer those who are a bit dumpy but don’t really care too much about it.

  • I wouldn’t mind exercising more if I could do it outdoors, on the beach…

  • Girl, please. Get back to New York. California is for sissies.

  • It’s better not to compare your body to other bodies when it comes to the fitness thing. And I don’t think people taking care of their health through fitness and nutrition should be a fad like if it was just a fashion trend people throw away. It’s just that people don’t have to be as intense about it as some people are. I also think eating a reasonably healthy diet is preferable to juicing. I rather have some of those juices along with actual food than spend days just having juice.

  • Yes, the vibe in California, which includes San Francisco, is a much healthier lifestyle since we are quite focused on the outdoors and fitness and eating well. I travel a lot to New York, Paris, India, and Hong Kong a lot for work and am always so happy to be back home in San Francisco. Maybe you can make a visit here and I can show you the highlights of our city too!

  • Yoga pants? All the day long?
    It may be the Parisian in me speaking, but no way Jose… Not chic enough.
    Plus, the pressure is dreadful!
    Anyhow, if you want to laugh a bit:

  • As a Parisian too, no way any decent girl would wear yogapants out of the fitness room, even the trendiest ones. This is sport apparel and should remain in a sport facility or be worn during your running session.

    Really, “ça ne se fait pas”. Honestly I am not a fashion or appearance craze but I would never go shopping in my running gear, ave if I happen to look good in it !

  • Le lycra, bientôt, ce sera dépassé !

  • I started Pilates just over a year ago and LOVE it. Last fall, I even started going twice a week. I’m not looking for a perfect body (which I have never seen so many of–HOW do they do it? Pilates, I guess!), but I want to feel good and be strong. Not weird strong, but just to not get hurt from stupid things like lifting things that are heavy (like kids).
    I think the downside of LA is the rigidity about good looks. They’re all chill, but there’s such pressure to stay young. Maybe those who ARE young choose the healthy life because it’s kind of cool, but it seems like too many people are doing it in a stressed, keeping up way. The way New Yorkers are about money and real estate. FOMO.
    I like the French version, which is about all things in good measure.

  • I haven’t been in NYC or LA for very long in my adult life to really feel what you are describing but part of me believes and absolutely cannot wait to experience it. That’s one of the things I love about travel – the culture.

    Glad you could take some inspiration back with you and glad you and Chris got kind of a break away from it all.

  • I’m a Californian born and bred, and there’s a lot to what you’re saying. The hot-body hype can get really out of hand…although that really is mostly Southern California. (It doesn’t do to conflate LA with the rest of the state. Apples and oranges, people.)

  • Mais la mer à Ny , tu l’as ! Moins accessible , ok ! J’ai grandi aubord de la mer et je vois bien ce que tu veux dire… Oui , ça manque .il te reste les hamptons pour les we mais oui , l’esprit n’est pas le même !

  • I think you can have a bit of the life you want wherever you are. We just shouldn’t overthink so much because in the end we are the ones responsible for our stress and not the city we live in. I recently moved to Moscow to study and I was very scared of coming to a city that is nothing like the ones I know, and where during 9 months of the year people don’t even bother going out as long as they don’t have to. But I don’t have to be like them so I decided to keep my European routine of sitting in the sun, drinking coffee outside and going for a run outdoors rather than driving to the gym, even when it’s cold.

  • Some of these comments are quite silly. The post was spot on and hilarious !! If one has ever spent more than 5 days in LA specifically on the west side they know exactly what you’re talking about. And that whole foods – by far the worlds most beautiful humans! Such interesting insights and comparisons of your lives coast to coast. I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Cannot wait for more observations especially your analysis of that perfect white tshirt they all wear. :-) xo

  • J’ai trouvé ton post super cool et ensoleillé, et première question, je me suis demandée comment on avait envie de porter de jolies fringues quand tout le monde est en leggings ou short ? Ca ferait pas décalé ou contribuerait à un manque d’inspiration ?
    Et puis j’ai sauté 2 fois sur ma chaise en lisant tes arguments en faveur de la voiture : on ne peut pas faire ses courses sans voiture (à NY) et ca permet de faire un tas de trucs (à LA). Je ne suis absolument pas d’accord. Je n’ai pas de voiture et n’habite pas une grosse ville, mais un pays super bien organisé. Je fais mes courses avec mon vélo et ses sacoches, ou avec un caddie à roulettes super pratique. Que ce soient les sacoches de vélo ou le caddie, tu peux charger un max et du coup faire du sport en ramenant tes courses chez toi. Je me fais livrer à domicile les trucs volumineux ou lourds. J’ai des transports publics super bien à proximité. J’habite à 550m d’altitude et j’ai 1 train par heure à 5′ à pied et 2 trains par heure + 1 bus par heure à 15′ à pied (par sens bien sur). LA est une des pires villes du monde en transport public, une honte totale pour une telle ville (c’est mon domaine d’activité, je connais bien, on fait de l’innovation dans ce secteur). A LA les gens ne marchent pas, mais conduisent conduisent conduisent, la pollution est débile, la taille tentaculaire de la ville aussi (pas de densité verticale, pas de stratégie d’urbanisation, pas d’organisation sociétale) et tout le monde s’en fout. Pour compenser, ils vont au fitness ou voir un gourou. Ca n’a pas de sens…

  • Delijulie February, 9 2016, 3:20

    Merci pour ce bon sens ! J’approuve complètement o/

  • J’aime ce commentaire!

  • la relation de L.A. vis-a-vis la voiture a change d’abord lentement et depuis 10 annees assez radipdement.
    il ya beaucoup de districts qu’on s’appelle “pedestrian friendly”. j’habite au Fairfax district…and so end my french…where i could walk to and for everything. when i do not have to drive, the car is parked (parking is a problem). certain parts of the city is well covered by public transport and the metro lines are slowly expanding. there are improvements as far as pollution as california has the stricitest standards for car emissions. although traffic is bad, i think i’ve seen worse traffic in other parts of the world.

    it’s been in the back of our heads here in l.a. that sooner or later our relationship with the car will change in a big way and signs of it are already showing.

  • Zaza von Geneva February, 10 2016, 3:26

    Habiterais-tu en Suisse ? ;-)

  • Such an interesting and entertaining take on life in LA! I have to admit that as a northern californian (and if there’s anyone who hates LA more than New Yorkers, it’s a northern Californian) forced to visit LA against her will for several years (boyfriend’s family lives there), I’ve grown to like it. But, it is a completely different LA for me. Venice Beach is pretty rarified, LA actually has a ton of cool little neighborhoods and diversity. Meaning, not everyone in LA is as well-to-do/health obsessed as perhaps is the situation in Venice beach! It’s our Manhattan, perhaps one could say ?? (or wherever all the rich people live in NY). I actually feel like the range of possibilities and people in LA goes under appreciated, but maybe I’ve just been acculturated haha.

    I will say though, that through my boyfriend the number of people I know trying to break into show biz is about 1000x higher than before.

  • eh ben c’est ennuyeux la vie en Californie… du coup ma pauvre vie d’infirmière dans la campagne suisse me paraît bien plus variée et enrichissante

  • Alexandra February, 9 2016, 12:02 / Reply

    I think you are seeing a very small portion of what life is really like in LA. Getting to and from work in downtown, etc and driving to the other parts of the city is a daily hassle; life isn’t so easy with the constant, crazy traffic. And I’m born and raised in LA and think people drive just as crazy as in LA as in NYC. You have to remember that the people who have the time to spend at the gym and beach 24/7 are a small percentage- not everyone gets to live near the beach and the joke in LA is that most people never even get to spend a day there because there’s so much traffic/parking stress to make it there!

  • I totally agree. Taking a vacation in L.A compare to living in L.A is completely different.

  • On peut pas se faire livrer ses courses du magasin à NY (faites pour de vrai, pas par internet) ? Paris est en avance ???

  • I so agree Molly! I grew up in Southern California and now live in NorCal (and in between lived in NYC and Seattle). California is so large it is impossible to generalize and that’s true for the LA area too (very different vibe in Venice than say, Pasadena). Plenty of thoughtful and intelligent people there as anywhere, and caring about your body (the way it feels and even the way it looks) does not make us “empty of mind.” I think I can safely generalize by saying that LA lives lighter than NYC, especially in winter, and I’m not surprised that you found a lot to like there Garance :)

  • Yes there are a lot of fit young people running around in yoga pants and sports bras but there also a ton of us who somehow have to work and dress normally. I don’t think anyone actually works on the west side area so they can work out all day. (just kidding). But seriously we might be slightly more conscious of our bodies since it does seem to be warm most of the year.

    You were definitely in the Manhattan equivalent part of LA. There is more money and people follow the trends more. The rest of us have a few extra pounds to shave off for bikini season and wish we could bike everywhere but we would and do get hit by cars all the time. There is a huge campaign to watch out for bikes now.

    I’m so glad that you were able to see the side of LA that is special and fun to us. The beach is wonderful this time of year, Not as crowded and hot as in the summer.

  • Anonymous February, 9 2016, 12:24 / Reply

    Nutrition/fitness is NOT a trend. Nutrition/fitness is a necessity to reduce disease/death. People should be healthy….it lowers medical issues and insurance costs. The obsessive compulsive issues with working out can be due to, job pressure or body dysmorphia. California is rat race, Hollywood, surfing, biking, gym…because of the landscape ( mountains, trails, hills, ocean, beach). New York is rat race, real estate, NYSE, networking….because of the landscape ( cars, buildings, streets, a tiny Central Park). Europe is lots of time with family/friends, work (go to work and get home as fast as possible… not AT ALL career), stores/bank/offices have short opening hours (more time to lounge at the park, cafe, bistro, museum INSTEAD), closed on sundays, walk/ride your bike ( parking is expensive and gasoline is expensive), cook every SINGLE day, long vacations ( why? because work sucks…enjoying life instead).Etc. Etc.

  • Hmm, if that’s Europe I need to move there. I’ve had it with North America’s rat race culture of work 24/7.

  • Totally agree! I’m Scandinavian and feel like it’s the perfect balance here. Suits me since I think moderation is key!

    But, Garance, I LOVE your NYC vs LA / NYC vs Paris-posts, just the other day I went through all of them: you are so witty, funny, and observant it’s actually delicious!

  • G, sounds like you had the most perfect vacation in LA. I used to live there from 2013-2015…just moved to Miami last summer. Reading this post makes me miss my old hood, Venice, so much. A lot of what you wrote was basically my life when I was there. I also understand how some people who don’t live there could judge and be turned off by the LA life but it seriously is a great life IF you have a good job with good income…otherwise you would just be bitter while still admitting the good life around you. Does that make sense? I think that’s why people say they love LA but life is still so hard!!! life is hard now and especially in LA…it’s super competitive. Everyone wants a good job and a good life and there are just so many people and not enough jobs. Wages stay the same but cost of living is rising. And now with the existence of Instagram everyone wants what every it girl has etc and that doesn’t help the situation. I mean this conversation can go on and on but over all, LA is an awesome place but beware it’s also super hard to build a life there.

  • Oui ! la Californie est un tout autre “continent”…. A SAN FRANCISCO depuis 21 ans, la pression pour un corps parfait existe aussi mais teintee par cette empreinte de coolitude post-hippie. Sauf que les Hippies, “gone”, remplaces par les “geek”. A SAN FRANCISCO, Whole foods est un supermarche bio ou les clients hipsters, geeks, hippies (“se grattant le menton devant les prix hyper eleves”, bien vu Garance)Francais (en grand nombre, a la recherche de nourriture saine) se croisent sans trop se parler….Mais la coolitude existe dans le berceau de la contestation des annees 70′

  • Having an ocean and the mountains so close… A dream!

  • Very glad I was drinking a green juice when I read this and not digging into a bag of Doritos. I’d love the weather in California, and the ocean; the pressure, not so much…

  • What an interesting post! And I agree how there is such a fitness mania craze nowadays. Active wear is now part of the casual wardrobe. It’s ubiquitous. Thank you for sharing.

  • LA is the new ‘wanderlust ‘ place ( to live)!
    They invented a particular clean & lean lifestyle in a perfect outdoors state (-of-mind) and they continue to embrace it.
    The attraction of all mankind to join and settle there is very much ‘en vogue’.

  • Ooh LA sounds scary! I was hoping to visit this year. I’ve been to NY many times but found they never catered well for vegetarians like me. Florida has a good vegan scene without being too OTT x

  • Je veux aller en Californie ! La Corse, Ajaccio, le cours Napoléon c’est bien beau mais un petit voyage à LA, je dirais pas non quand même, pour sortir un peu de mon île ;)

  • It’s funny. I live in Chicago, and it’s like a hybrid between NY and LA. The weather’s cool, drivers are out there to murder you every minute just like in NY, yet all the people in Lincoln Park are wearing spandex. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s do look like gyms.

  • mosaic_world February, 9 2016, 2:10 / Reply

    hahaha, I don’t really shop at Whole Foods but a couple times when I dropped by the Trader Joes in the Westside of LA, I thought the customers looked like models (very casual clothing but hair very well done and healthy, well-kept bodies). it’s true, women generally wear their gym clothes to go shopping (yoga pants, lycra tights).

    I still don’t get the LA style. I like how people dress at museums. not exactly out of an InStyle magazine but just a little more considered. but the tide seems to go more and more relaxed.

  • We see the same thing here in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s all ocean, mountains, Whole Foods, smoothies and yoga pants!
    There’s a 50/50 split of black suit wearing (the unofficial colour of the west coast business world) polished young professionals and lululemon wearing everyone else.
    I mean fit or not, its what you see EVERYWHERE. And let me tell you, some of those sights I really don’t want to see.
    I get that it’s “comfortable” (all I hear is lazy when I hear that word to describe clothing), but you know what’s not comfortable? Trying to un-see women and men that have no business wearing exercise spandex outside of the gym! Some sights need to be left to the imagination.

  • I live in the Seattle area, and the whole of the Pacific Northwest is pretty healthy. Healthy dining choices abound here, and women aplenty appear to wear $100 yoga pants every day of their lives. I don’t think it has quite reached LA’s level of obsession, just because my impression of LA (I was born there and return every year) is that they are more appearance-oriented than Seattlelites and Portlanders. I do think that this whole beauty and health obsession is ironically, bordering on unhealthy. Is it really about holistic well-being? Or is it just another way to feed your insecurities if you start to lag behind the rest?

  • I need to come back to the gym…!

    Mónica Sors



  • Comme toi je trouve qu’il y a une grosse mode du fitness. Tous les mantras sont en mode : “be tone”, “be strong”,”eat clean”. Alors c’est vrai que c’est peut être la tendance la plus intéressante et utile car elle pousse les gens à prendre soin d’eux. Mais pour moi comme tout à l’excès c’est néfaste.

    Mais surtout, surtout, surtout, tous ces selfies en salle de fitness et autres comptes IG en mode je suis une bombasses bien musclées est anxiogène au possible autant que les magazines de modes finalement. Car beaucoup sont des modèles fitness ou en ont fait leur passion, et beaucoup partent en quête du même résultat sans possibilité de succès. Je trouve cela extrêmement dangereux. Dans ce sens les dernières vidéos de Cassey Ho sont limite d’utilités publiques.

  • Oh Garance, (and I say this with love) step away from the Moon Juice!! I lived in Venice for 5 years and got into the Westside trap where I rarely made it north of Santa Monica or east of the 10 fwy (except for work) There’s so much more of L.A. to explore! ;) Glad you are enjoying yourself.

  • Cecilija February, 9 2016, 2:47 / Reply

    This was a great read and all, but all I am thinking is GURU!? Oh, I wish you have gone to see the guru and tell us all about THAT! Next time, promise?

  • ahhh j’étais à Venice en Novembre dernier et se retrouver sous 27 degrés en plein hiver c’est plus qu’agréable. Tout le monde nous avait dit que San Francisco était mieux que LA mais nous avons préféré LA c’était trop top avec tous ces gens cools (et hyper gaulés) et pouvoir surfer en pleine ville c’est juste ouf ! On pense même regarder s’il n’y a pas des possibilités de boulot pour des petits européens sur place ;-)
    Par contre faut que tu m’expliques le concept d’aller surfer en skatant ???? Il met sa planche sur son dos ?? ahahah

  • You’re not speaking about LA but just about Venice which is a village in a huge city, it’s like trying to compare Brooklyn vs NY city !

  • I am a Los Angeles native and I live right by Santa Monica and Venice! I didn’t know you were in the neighborhood. Welcome! And yes it is quite a change from New York and Paris. But it really is a great place to live and work! The lifestyle balance is amazing here and the weather, obviously that’s one of the best parts of it. If you have any questions about LA from a local, feel free to message me and welcome to the neighborhood! Maybe I will see you around Whole Foods, Abbot Kinney or other wonderful places!

  • It’s funny that you posted this because I moved to New York a few months ago and I’m already considering LA for my next move. Coming from New Orleans, the weather here makes it hard for me to even think about doing anything active. I’ve just signed up for a gym but it’s not going to do me any good if I keep ordering through Seamless. I completely agree about getting to and from the grocery store. I always have to be mindful of how much I’m picking up since I only have two hands and no car. I feel like this post came right on time.

  • Too bad you didn’t come to Silverlake/Echo Park/Highland Park, it’s a totally different scene over here. While still good-looking, people are not otherworldly beautiful, and people are much less likely to be spending their whole day in lycra. Much more of a Brooklyn-y vibe.

  • Haha – c’est tellement vrai tout ça.
    J’ai passé un peu de temps à Venice au mois de janvier et me suis sentie comme un cafard difforme…ça m’a rappelé à quel point vivre sur Abbott Kinney m’a manqué…New York et LA ça fait très Ying et Yang…

  • Ai-Ch'ng February, 9 2016, 7:42 / Reply

    Sounds like you’re both having a much needed sun-surf-sand-and-sea change!

    I loved hearing about Venice Beach from your point of view, Garance.

    While Perth is much, much smaller than where you and Chris presently reside, we, too, have pockets of grey, white, black and pinstripes (like your business-clad lawyers, accountants, government workers) in the heart of Perth’s CBD. This is juxtaposed (just twenty minutes drive – yep lots of us have cars – or ten minutes smooth train ride plus ten minutes idyllic walk amongst soaring Norfolk pines, before you are gob-smacked and greeted by some of the loveliest stretches of beach and ocean – from the CBD)… And then another few minutes walk, and you join the Lululemon-clad super-skinny/toned/avid cyclistsof both old and young/bendy young and old things (male and female) parts of Cottesloe with its beach-side mansions and trendy, healthy cafés, greengrocers and holiday-wear boutiques.

    And then, another ten minutes of very easy driving drive along a straight, uninterrupted-by-traffic-lights coastal route and you land in historic Fremantle- known for its penal history (and for being home to the America’s Cup many moons ago), hippy, youthful (in mind, not just in body) and artsy vibe. That’s just the tiniest part of the southwest side of Perth. Drive another four hours out, and you hit the stunning beaches and treescapes Albany and the vineyards of Margaret River.

    Going in the other direction? Sure, it’s easy! Drive five to ten months byes minutes from the CBD, you’ll find yourself away from the beach, and immersed instead, in leafy streets that shade stunning old renovated houses, more cool cafes, and a completely differently (very stylishly) dressed group of people.

    In that sense, Perth people can- and do- have whatever life they want, at any time, within fifteen to twenty five minutes easy drive of pretty much anywhere that they live: Lululemon yoga madnes and cycling frenzy at 6am in the morning, a quick shower and breakfast at home, or at a trendy breakfast spot (these are more for the yoga and fitness set, though), a hard day’s work in the CBD or nearby inland industrial areas, then driving/cycling/running home in summer (we have more fine weather here than intensely wet, plant-loving winters – and we have loads of clear, blessed sunny days) and heading out for more beach or sports outdoors, or at the gym (either because we adore outdoors, or are gym bunnies), then home for dinner (or out to eat again, if you’re young and can’t or won’t cook).

    Of course, there are those of us who excercise and eat to fit into our clothes or an image we believe we must fall into. And there are those of us who’ll move simply to prevent anime and joint disease, and eat healthily and tastily, because we need to watch our heart health. And there’ll be those of us who move and eat, simply for the pure joy of it. And you’ll often find all three types of us in the one gym session, the one workplace, the one café, the one supermarket, and sharing the one beach, café, train, greengrocer. In Perth, residents tend to frequent pockets that are more commensurate with our income (groceries swing widely in price just by driving fifteen minutes in a completely different direction)… But we certainly spill over into other areas frequently.

    It’s more what’s in our minds – how we feel about ourselves and our jobs and asking ourselves consistently what the pros in any given life situation are for ourselves – that determines our contentment in any place… Although, admittedly for me, I find more good weather helps me, while successive, intensely cold rainy days and snow just set off my eczema and sense of “get-me-out-of-here”!

  • but this is because you were on the west side, Garance! over there they really do not take off the yoga pants. over here in Los Feliz / Silver lake we love a good brunch and/or boozy brunch and ALSO love getting dressed in real clothes just fine :) next time…

  • It’s funny for me to read this today, as I’ve just realized (thanks to the infinite wisdom of Facebook “Memories”) that today is the fourth anniversary of the day I arrived New York City. I came for what I thought would be a visit, to see Björk perform at the New York Hall of Science (magical); afterwards, I flew to LA for pilot season, with the intention to ultimately move there. I am an actress, after alI – and I had an agent there, at the time – so joining the industry in LA seemed for me to be the only wise course.

    When I arrived, I took a class and spent a month auditioning for foamy television scripts, going every day to study in a little cafe across from the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. Every day, I would drink espresso amidst the sea of soy and green juice and watch aspiring Scientologists filter in and out of the grounds, each indistinguishable from the next. When the time arrived to begin looking for an apartment, I realized I had fallen into a serious depression: I was lonely all the time, despite the fact that many of my very best friends lived there, and I couldn’t understand for all the world why a group of people (Hollywood) who say they wish to tell stories about and inhabit the myriad facets of the human condition would choose a lifestyle so homogenous and insular. Once I cracked the surface of that cultish, institutionalized narcissism, I began to understand that “posi vibes” only appear positive when they are left unchallenged; I immediately booked a flight to NYC, and it was the best decision of all my life.

    New York keeps me company when I am lonely, and lets me be when I wish to be anonymous. New York values candor over bullsh!t, and doesn’t give a flying f*ck if I wish to spend my days wearing fur or my nights drinking bourbon and sucking marrow out of a bone. (In moderation, of course; I haven’t packed it in just yet, are you $h!tting me?) New York is not without struggle, for it is a city in which joy and hardship come together in all their unmasked glory; indeed, since I moved back I’ve reunited with a great, old love of mine (a huge happiness), though my career is no longer what I wish for it to be (which often makes me sad). All the same: I know it may also not have been, had I chosen the other coast, for I surely would have lost myself.

    It’s different for everyone, of course, and naturally it isn’t possible for absolutely everyone to move here (nor would we want them to! – that would just drive up the rent). But personally, I’m glad you’re here, Garance. You are one of the shining lights of our Byzantium, and may you never lose your frank and honest heart, wherever you may be.

  • Alexandra February, 10 2016, 12:57

    Good point about New York keeping you company and letting you be anonymous. I often feel I can live any kind of life here and it’ll be OK, rather than other places where there is one specific type of lifestyle people lead.

  • All I can say is I love LA! I lived in New York for a decade (also loved it there), and there is no less pressure in one place or another, it’s just that the pressure is focused on different things. I also lived in London for a year, and it’s so true that the differences of a new city stand out in stark relief when something feels foreign to you. But extremes don’t really seem so extreme to the people who are integrated into a culture. (And for the record, I’m not a super healthy eater with a perfect body, but I don’t feel any pressure to be that kind of person, either!)

  • Oh come on!? No piece on the rampant plastic surgery that goes with the skinny bodies? Was the “Stepford Wives” comment a tease?

    I live in Los Angeles and am often saddened to see how the sun and the money drives women to (rather than seek looking cool) to look weirdly tacky in their Lulu Lemon.

    So do go back to New York so I can read about really cool women again. If LA seduces you – I’m giving up reading fashion blogs for good!

  • j’ai adoré ce post, je veux en savoir plus sur LA!!! Inspire nous avec toute ta bonne volonté fitness, besoin d’inspiration réaliste! ;)

  • J’aime beaucoup ton article, il m’a fait reconsidérer le NEW YORK que j’avais mis sur un pied d’estale. J’imaginais une vie rêvée à NYC avec tout à porter de main. Mais effectivement comme tu le montres si bien dans ton post, la nature me manquerait: Courir au silence, le vélo, l’océan……
    A quand la vie à LA alors Garance ?

  • Jane B. Root February, 10 2016, 4:16 / Reply

    “En ce moment, c’est la folie du fitness.” Nan ! La folie du fitness c’était Véronique et Davina. En 1982.
    Ah ces amerloques qui redécouvrent constamment le monde en prétendant l’inventer… (soupir)
    Dans pas longtemps ils vont se mettre à bouffer du chou à lapins, vous allez voir …

  • Reviens en Frannnnnceeeee!!!!!!!!!
    Ils sont fous!

  • Ana @Champagnegirlsabouttown February, 10 2016, 7:13 / Reply

    LA sounds…sunny :) And actually quite lovely. I’ve been to SF and Lake Tahoe and loved it. I think I could easily get used to LA lifestyle what with the healthy food and sport every day. I blame my father- as a child and teenager I had to play sport every day- from basketball to tennis, you name it I’ve tried it :) Now it’s part of my lifestyle. I’m writing this sitting in my office in London, freezing by a*ss off in a Victorian building, dreaming of the sun and warmth. I could definitely get used to the weather in LA!

  • geesh! Garance, I couldn’t agree with you more about LA! I wish I could somehow bottle the sense of possibility that I feel every time I am there. Perhaps it’s the relentless sun, but somehow I always feel like anything could happen and you can do anything when you are there. Bring some back to our coast!

  • bavarian_blue February, 10 2016, 11:45 / Reply

    Go north to SF and You will find the best of LA and NY all in one: less body-shape- and health-addiction than in LA and more nature driven lifestyle than in NYC. Over the top there is an outstanding creative crowd (o.k., maybe not musicians and artists …)

  • Il faut comprendre un truc, LA est tellement multiple que chacun va y trouver son LA. Mon LA ne ressemble pas du tout à ça. Je crèche plutôt du côté de Hollywood, Westwood et Bev Hills. Venice Beach c’est loin et pas très bien fréquenté. Quand on veut voir des clochards et des drogués on va là…
    Donc chaque Whole Food est différent. Dans le mien (celui en face du Grove) les gens sont normaux: des gens qui travaillent, des jeunes en jeans, des latinos. Les filles et les femmes minces de Bev Hills sont hyper prétentieuses et moi je les regarde l’air de dire: ben quoi, moi je le suis aussi et sans me priver. Celles qui sont botoxées et injectées sont aussi super prétentieuses.
    Je ne peux pas dire que dans ma salle de gym il y ait des corps tellement extraordinaires, une seule fois: mais c’était un gymnaste russe, tellement prétentieux qu’il toisait tout le monde de haut, ou plutôt ne regardait personne.
    Pour ce qui est de la nourriture, à LA je fais exactement le contraire: je mange plein de take away, et de sushis, car en Europe on n’a pas autant de possibilités alors on ne va pas passer sa vie dans la cuisine quand on a Hollywood à ses pieds….

  • My brother and sister-in-law just moved back to New York after living in San Diego for years, and they are miserable! My sister-in-law, who used to be a diehard NYGIRL, misses exactly what you described: that outdoor culture, where people do something outdoorsy every single day because that’s just how life is there. Sometimes I think living in a place that’s half New York and half LA would be ideal…

    On another note, my boyfriend and I live in the city and cook mostly every night. It really is tough. Daily trips to the market, planning out meals and schedules beforehand, making sure you have enough time to actually cook. But it’s SO rewarding. I don’t even like ordering from Seamless anymore bc I know I could make a better meal myself. And eating out in New York is just SO expensive! I don’t know how I used to spend that much money on dinners and brunches all the time. The moral is, cooking at home in the city is hard, but it CAN be done!

  • J’ai passé 10 jours à Venice cette année; c’était un bonheur de profiter du soleil et de la luminosité de LA alors qu’à Paris il faisait froid gris et pluvieux depuis plusieurs mois. mais ce qui m’a gêné c’est la pollution. j’ai déjà du mal à paris avec les pots d’échappement mais là j’avais vraiment l’impression d’étouffer parce que je trouve que la sensation de manquer d’air est presque continue. après c’est vrai qu’il y’a une vraie politique menée à LA depuis quelques années pour faire évoluer les choses et apparemment ça a beaucoup progressé mais la ville est tellement pensée pour la voiture à la base qu’il y a encore beaucoup de chemin à faire en attendant. du coup je trouve que l’obsession healthy des habitants de LA dans ce contexte d’ultrapollution a quelque chose d’un peu absurde.

  • well for some its important to look good naked, but i think sexy comes in many shapes and sizes

  • Garance, I spent some time in LA and this just took me straight back to Venice, loved it. BUT mostly I loved reading that you like the laid back surfy / outdoor style and want to intro our brand to you for that reason (despite being UK based – yeah whatever). Launching now, super easy hand printed T-dresses and more – yeah you don’t need the perfect bod for it but you got that anyway ;) thanks! x ps. we’ll send you some pieces, just as a thank you for years of this.. sooon

  • I very much enjoyed reading this post. I live next door to Venice and it is a great place just as you described it. There should be a docu-drama, a sitcom, a game app or something about Wholefoods in Venice. The phenomena that it is, is specific to Venice. Just before I read this post I went to the Wholefoods in Playa Vista to pick up a tub of bentonite clay. I wanted a fast in and out trip so I could get on with the business of conditioning my hair with the clay. Venice is where you go when you’re looking for entertainment or you’re showing off your city to your visiting friends and families. Wholefoods in Playa Vista felt a little more suburban, calmer, because parking was waaay easier I guess. I’m so glad you did such a good job of describing Venice in the best way.

  • Comme je comprend tes sensations…
    Quand j’ai découvert LA,ca a été un bouleversement … J’arrivais à la maison.
    Danseuse à Paris à l’epoque, LA (et pas SF), c’était le rêve: autant de soirée, que des connections boulot de folie, les gens qui parlent lentement et la MER, la nourriture healthy (et japonaise) et les montagnes …
    Le rêve.
    Un changement de cap professionnel m’en a éloigné mais suite à ça, j’ai quitté Paris… L’exploit!!!
    LA 4 ever ????
    C’est bon de te lire.

  • This post was so refreshing! It’s so easy to hate on LA for its superficiality and obsession on beautiful bodies but I loved the genuinely appreciative and non-judgamental way you observed and wrote about life in Venice! I have to say I was a little surprised by some of the comments on here…some of the New Yorkers seem reluctant to believe another city could possibly hold a flame to theirs in any regard (especially if that city is LA) but I chalk it up to them being unable to see beyond the bridge of their nose. Oh, grow up! Obviously NYC is a wonderful city and a definite epicenter of culture, art, and fashion but hardly the center of the universe as some who live there seem to think. For all their cosmopolitan air and city outlook, this viewpoint seems awfully insular. Or perhaps it’s an insecurity since they obviously have to try so hard in their city and this true (versus contrived) effortlessness of LA is threatening. Really, like the lifestyle of living/working a breakneck speed to keep up, peppered by too many nights of take-out and punctuated by leisurely brunches is any better way to live than tanned body-conscious beach babes who live and breathe pilates and yoga? The snobbery from those who wrote in from New York was enough to make me vastly prefer the appearance-focused peeps of LA. And that is pretty difficult for someone who comes from SF! (Classic norcal SF v socal LA rivalry)

  • “la mode rock, maigreur, clope à la main et regard vide.”

    Le regard vide je ne suis pas du tout d’accord! C’est la mode qui a le regard vide, de maniere generale. Pas specialement la mode rock. C’est moins mauvais pour la santé mais c’est tout ;)

  • Hi, I live in a city that I think combines the best of Europe and a touch of California, mostly LA and little bit of SF. Lisbon, an old capital, surrounded by beaches, with amazing weather mostly all year round, mountains to hike in, fantastic healthy food, a lot of fresh fish, surfing galore, safe!! (which I think is so important nowadays), laid-back, ( sometimes too much) and easy access to most cities in europe and the rest of world. And I love LA, love the museums, the vibe, the health food culture/ craziness, the food, you can eat anything, anywhere at any time and the weather and beach. Spent a little tine in July this year and it was magical. Guess living there with all that traffic wouldnt be the same.

  • OMG Garance! The easiest way to find pilates studios is through ClassPass!

  • Garance, I’m so glad you had a good time! I am very cynical about my home of S. CA, but some of the trends are good and very healthy. I do wish people wore actual clothes here and not just LuluLemon. You also forgot to mention that much of LA is smoggy and FULL OF CARS and people won’t even go hang out with their friends if they don’t live in the same neighborhood!

  • LA is full of the craziest drivers I have ever encountered, and I’ve also lived in New York! Perhaps this post should be focused on Venice, not LA as a whole? Great post, but LA is so large that most of the things you noted are very specific to Venice, which is one of the most expensive areas in LA. Also, I have found that I see a lot more obesity here in California than I did in New York, most likely due to the fact that most people in New York city walk everywhere! The only sitting down I did when I lived there was on the subway. Perhaps there is a more visible gym culture here in LA because we don’t have to cover up our yoga pants with huge coats when commuting. Just a thought :)

  • breevandekemp March, 11 2016, 8:20 / Reply

    En même temps on ne vit pas à LA. On y va pour se faire lifter ahah ;-)

  • As someone who has lived in San Francisco, LA and NYC, back again to San Francisco……I love SF and NY!!!! I have not met a New Yorker who likes Los Angeles when I was living there. Everyone said they hate LA, but they love San Francisco. SF and NY are pretty similar, I find people in LA are so plastic, yeppp, looks are such a main thing and ego. So much pressure, it’s hard to make friends unless you drive a Range rover or a Porsche. Everyone look the same, blondes or Kardashian wannabes. No individual style, seriously. LA drivers are slow than NY???? That’s completely wrong. LA drivers are nuts esp on the freeway, no wonder there’s a lot of highway accidents. SF might be not the fashion city, we are too high tech and hippies. But, we are laid back people who don’t care that much about material things and looks. LA is flat, SF is the most European city in the US. I miss NY, but I’m more happy to settle down here than to be in chaotic NYC. Not good for your health and mind, hehe….unless you are still young and single.

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