Marion Cotillard for Dior
In the past two years, I’ve lapped up information on Parisians and their way of life – from fashion style to love lessons:
– Ines de la Fresange’s French chic – My Style Bible
– Why French children don’t throw food – How not to raise neurotic and spoilt Anglophone kids
– What French women know about love and sex – My trusted guide on how to hold your own in a relationship
Additionally, I interviewed two of my French friends to let our readers in on the “je ne sais quoi” of French women.
The authors of the above books such as Pam Druckerman and Mireille Guiliano (her new book, “Why French women don’t have plastic surgery”, has just been released) have been riding the “French women know it all” wave successfully and even created a new genre of book, the French way of life.
This week, Australian magazine “Women’s weekly” raised the righteous question: “Are French women and culture really that superior in all they do?” After all, obesity rates in France have doubled in the last 15 years. Leading French ladies like Catherine Deneuve have succumbed to the plastic surgeon knife just like their American counterparts. The author who initiated the craze, Mireille Guiliano, admitted herself her books only contain “commonsense” advice (eat small portions and fresh produce only, wash your face before going to bed, take the stairs instead of the lift, etc). Generally accepted knowledge the French haven’t innovated. So is all the Hype around French women a well-marketed scam invented by smart Americans cashing in on the myth?
I say no, naturally. It is true that France hasn’t entirely resisted the wave of junk food chains that swept the world. However, France as a whole is still the slimmest nation in Europe. The streets of Paris are still dominated by family butchers, bakers and restaurants rather than American food chains. Take Starbucks, for example. While the American coffee chain has most of Europe tightly in its grip, it struggles to make money in the mother country of coffee culture. The French like to “sip and sit”, not carrying paper cups. French bakery chains like Paul’s and Le Pain Quotidien are hugely successful in London, but looked down on as “chains” in their home country.
French icons, surgically enhanced: Carla Bruni, 45, and Catherine Denueve, 70.
French actresses are not unreceptive to surgery. However, plastic surgery is nowhere near as widespread in France as it is in the US and the extent of the surgery is more natural.
Where do you stand? Have you read any of the French way of life books or do you refuse to believe that the French are God’s gift to the rest of the world? Let us know your thoughts and let’s discuss!
Rebel and myself in two quintessential French styles: Vichy/Gingham and Breton stripes!