All About The Pretty

A Southern Girl's Guide to All Things Beautimous

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Allure Has Fondness for the French Pretty

I picked up the June 2006 Allure magazine and low and behold who is on the cover. Audrey Tautou, the French actress of Amelie fame and currently starring in the movie version of The Da Vinci Code. (In the letters to the editors there is a backlash of recent articles on the French). Of course, I am thankful to freedom of speech, it keeps things interesting. Most people who know me very well also know that I have a passionate and consuming love affair with everything French. I am a true Francophile. I was blessed to study the French language in Paris in 2001 and because of that I childhood love affair with the French became a burning obsession. I remember stepping off the plane in the Charles de Gaulle airport and just sitting down and becoming teary because here I was this Southern girl in this new city, by myself, in a country in which I had only studied the language during high school and college. I also remember the cab ride and my little apartment in the 12th arrondisement (12th district). I had a great time studying the language, but the real education came in studying the French women. As my classmates and I would retreat to the nearest cafe after class, you couldn't help but notice the great skin these women had and that you hardly ever saw an older woman with plastic surgery. I had to find out why. I went to the place that I had read in numerous magazines. Anne Semonin spa. I had a French facial. After this, my obsession with skincare became part of my life's mission, aside from reading every book on the Modern Library's List of the 100 Best Books. Of course, I had heard of Dr. Sebagh, the French dermatologist that all the supermodels, when they had true supermodels, took care of their skin, but at the time I couldn't afford him. So, I decided to go to the best aesthetician. The French believe that everything can be solved with a lotion, cream or other potion. They were the first to pioneer innovations in skincare with antioxidents, grape extracts, Vitamin C, extra. I love the lines of Sisley, Darphin, Clarins and Vichey (which is available stateside now). A great book is Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. He lived in France and wrote for LeMonde along with the New Yorker culminating in a great book. My other obsessions became Bordeaux, Buddha Bar and Hotel Costes CDs, linens, and Hermes scarves which I am trying to control. My friend Deidre and I had a discussion on how everywhere in France there is twice the focus on skincare. Sephora on the Champs Elysee has the largest skincare collection in one place. There are rows and rows of skincare as well as a perfume bar to get custom perfume. It's also interesting that Chanel is sold at the neighborhood pharmacy. I love shopping for my skincare in France because you get a 15% credit if you spend a certain amount of Euros. I am very thankful for Nora at Skin Beauty Lounge who takes care of my skin here in DC. I really appreciate, as I have stated before, the European way of viewing women as they age. They still find beauty and sexiness in an older woman. There is a rumor that a woman is planning to run for President of France. Not only is she smart, educated and intelligent, but the papers have also deemed her "sexy." How many times have you seen a newspaper in America say a 52 year-old woman was sexy. I think this is great. My current European obsession is Italy and Spain. I have downloaded Italian language classes to my Ipod because I want to know a little more of the language when I visit this summer besides hello, thank you and you're welcome. It's time to step up my languages to the next level. After Italian, I plan to conquer true Spanish. I think a trip to Madrid is in order. (Thank you Steve Jobs at Apple for creating the Ipod. No, I am not getting paid to say this, but I depend on this little gadget so much that I don't know what I would do without it.) I try to get to Paris once a year to do a skincare, candle, linens shopping spree. Since I have been back a few times, I tend to not do the "tourist" thing. The only museum I choose to visit is the Musee d'Orsay to see the beautiful impressionists on the 3rd floor. I love having a great cup of tea or cafe at Laduree (known for macaroons) and of course, beauty product shopping which for me is the Sisleya Eye Cream by Sisley products. I was very disappointed to hear the closing of La Samaritaine. This was a beautiful department store with a rooftop restaurant. You had the entire view of the city from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacre Coeur. I also love Galerie Lafayette because the painted ceiling is just so pretty to stare at. You walk into this store, look up and it's a piece of art.


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