What is joie de vivre?

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What is joie de vivre?


'Joie de vivre' is a French phrase which expresses a cheerful joy of living, an exultation.

A joie de vivre can be a joy of conversation, of eating, of anything one does... And joie de vivre might be seen as a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a worldview.

It encompasses a sense of appreciation for all of life's experiences, both big and small, and a desire to live life to the fullest. This can be expressed through a passion for new experiences, a curiosity to learn, and a willingness to take risks.

To live a happy life, you have to accept life's ups and downs. Things you can't change or control aren't worth worrying about. Being grateful for what you have instead of wanting more is the key.


There is evidence that the phrase was casually used in French as early as Fénelon in the late 17th century. However, it was only in the 19th century that it became popular in literature. Michelet (1857) used the phrase to contrast plant passiveness with animal joy, then Émile Zola followed it with his novel La Joie de Vivre in 1884.