April 23, 2014
Lise Kvan and Sarah Mouchot at Holybelly (Holybelly & Kim Laidlaw)
As we know well, the promise of gastronomic delights is enough to inspire travelers to explore the world, seeking out hard-fought reservations and off-the-beaten-path restaurants in the name of really good food.
It’s easy to forget that behind these curated culinary experiences there is a team of dedicated professionals committed to using their talents and passions to improve and diversify the general landscape of food and dining. Certain events, TV shows, publications, and guidebooks spotlight some of these talented and resolute food professionals.
While these “foodie guides” are becoming more and more ubiquitous, they are unfortunately not always comprehensive as they far too often exclude women from their lineup. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »
April 7, 2014
It has long been a generally accepted fact that French women don’t get fat. It is now also increasingly accepted that they don’t succumb to spots and wrinkles either.
A glance at the beauty pages of my favourite glossy magazines reveals a veritable fascination with the rules of French skincare. The consensus on what those rules are however is far from clear. There is the minimalist, soap-and-water camp embodied by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who swears by Embryolisse, a simple, French pharmacy classic.
Juliette Lévy (The founder of Oh My Cream !)
That icon of Parisian chic, Ines de la Fressange, espouses an even more minimalistic approach: to eradicate wrinkles, a smile will suffice! On the other side of the fence, we have the French facialist camp. They book their appointments with Parisian skincare gurus months in advance and apply complex sounding creams with scientific precision. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 2 Comments »
August 1, 2013
Keeping cool, comfortable and chic during the Summer in Paris, can be quite the sartorial challenge. You feel like dressing for the beach but stepping out in a sarong and flip-flops in this city is not the way to go. When temperatures soar, I’m hit with the Parisian hot weather conundrum: what to wear in Paris when it sizzles?
In search of some answers, I hit the streets to capture some looks and see how les Parisiennes are playing it. What follows are some suggestions and inspirations on the art of trying to keep cool and chic in Paris this summer.
Right now, around town, the vibe is relaxed and the style is understated. Loose fitting clothes made with soft elegant fabrics, such as lightweight linens and silks, are a breeze to wear. Nothing is over done. Keep makeup minimal, plenty of SPF! Don’t worry about hair as this is the time for your trusty friend to make an appearance… Continue Reading »
Posted in Fashion | 14 Comments »
May 10, 2012
I’ll never forget the first time I was “perfumed” in Paris. After spritzing and sniffing numerous scents at a parfumerie in the Marais, I settled on L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake, a citrusy floral just right for warmer weather. The chic saleswoman held the tester aloft angled in my direction. “Je vous parfume, mademoiselle?” she asked, dousing me head to toe in a scented shower of Issey.
Not since have I worn quite so much scent but will admit to feeling quite glam that afternoon as I trailed its sweet essence through the streets of Paris. It was an early lesson in the seductive power of fragrance.
That was more than ten years ago and I’ve tried many perfumes since. While I love the idea of a signature scent, I can’t seem to commit to just one. With so much wonderful choice and temptation, why settle? But whether true to one fragrance or scent schizophrenics like me, French women are united in a deep devotion to perfume.
Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
May 11, 2010
I can already tell I’m going to get into trouble with this post, but I’ve never been afraid to ruffle a few feathers (especially of the French variety), so here goes. As a female ex-pat, living in Paris is no guarantee that you’ll automatically become a local. If you’re not a Parisienne and you want to be, these are the rules.*
1. Cultivate austere beauty. Today’s Parisienne has natural beauty down to an art: very little make-up and a fresh-faced complexion. Hair should be un-“done” (bonus points for bangs and / or a careless ballerina-inspired bun) and brown. With a few rare exceptions, blond hair is a red flag that screams foreign and/or fake. Beware! You want your look to seem unstudied—even though we know it’s not. For inspiration, look no further than Jane Birkin and Jane Birkin 2.0 (her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg).
2. Don’t smile much. You might be surprised to learn that smiles are, in fact, a limited resource in Paris. They’re not to be wasted on the undeserving, and they play no part in most daily interactions. When deployed, a well-timed smile is a Parisienne’s deadliest weapon, but your default expression should always be set somewhere between deadpan and “subtle scowl.”
3. Nail the “I don’t think so, but I guess if you do…” look. When someone says something you find wrong / distasteful, don’t openly object. Passive judgment is much more effective. Just raise your eyebrows, and look down / sideways to see if anyone else is noticing how absurd the statement was. Note: This is also a good way to establish solidarity with other true Parisiennes in the group, who will undoubtedly be giving the same look.
4. Be thin. But not just thin, a particular kind of thin that I like to call “healthy frail.” Other than a few moments spent standing on a mysterious vibrating plate from time to time, Parisiennes don’t really exercise. As a result, they don’t really have muscles, so they’re diminutive but vibrant, waifish but not gaunt. Damn them. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 51 Comments »