November 5, 2012
Having grown up on CVS and Walgreens, the French pharmacy was a revelation to me. Anyone who has ever been lured by the glowing green cross knows that pharmacies in France shill more than medicine and bath staples. They’re cosmetic wonderlands that offer some of the most ingenious—not to mention luxurious—products around.
For a long time, a trip to France meant loading up on these goods and then painstakingly rationing them in between visits, but of late, they’ve begun to invade new markets. In New York, at least, you can now find brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Klorane and Avène right in Duane Reade. Duane Reade! Continue Reading »
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November 7, 2011
Every time I go to Paris, I’m inspired anew. I look at the women with their ruby red lips, their studiously disheveled hair, their outfits that—really, aren’t that exceptional and yet still scream “cool” because of the way they hang on their petite frames or just because of the attitude with which they’re worn—and I think: I can do that!
You see, French women make beauty look so easy. They’re not all made up, hair sprayed and complexion painted to perfection. Their nails don’t match their lips. Their shoes don’t match their bags. They’re not highlighted, bronzed, veneered, acrylic tipped, implanted, injected or perfected. And yet they’re beautiful.
So what do they have that we don’t (okay, at least I don’t)?
It all starts with attitude
My friends who date French women assure me the pretty young things are actually racked with insecurities. But you’d never know it looking at them. French women ooze sex appeal. It’s in the way they walk, the way they talk, and the way they hold their wine glasses. They think, “I’m beautiful,” and it radiates outwards, causing others to look at and admire them which, in turn, makes them feel beautiful—a brilliant cycle if there ever was one. Continue Reading »
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April 21, 2010
Still stranded in Paris? Step away from the ticketing hotline and treat yourself to a little trip to the steam baths. Guest blogger, writer and illustrator Badaude shares her favorite spots along with a little know-how on navigating the traditional hammam (North African steam baths). We can’t think of a better way to make the most of your bonus days in Paris!
It may be getting warmer, but some April days in Paris still start off pretty icy. But it’s not all bad. April is the last month I can indulge in my monthly treat at the only place you can get truly warm in the Paris winter – the hammam.
Paris has lots of hammams: traditional North African steam baths, not chi-chi hotel spas. They cost on average €45 per session including massage or exfoliation (gommage) and pastries — and who could fail to be attracted by this combination? There’s a hammam for every kind of Parisian, but how do you choose? I’m now a hammam veteran, but here’s what happened at my first visit to my favorite, the Hamman de La Grande Mosquée de Paris.
Illustration by Badaude – Click on the image to view larger version
I step off the street through a hidden doorway behind the main entrance and hand over the notes to the cashier at the till in exchange for a handful of colored paper raffle tickets and a mysterious squishy black plastic sachet. I knew this was savon noir. I’ve seen it for sale in big plastic tubs at the marché at the Place des Fêtes in Belleville. What I don’t quite know is what to do with it. Or when. A visit to the hammam might make you warmer, but they certainly don’t hand out an instruction booklet.
My outside eyes take time to adjust to the blue patterns of the Moroccan tiles. Looking up through the steamy light filtering down from the small, domed window in the ceiling, I’m suddenly in fairyland, a Dulac illustration from Sleeping Beauty. Continue Reading »
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