When I arrived in Paris at 19 years old to study at the Sorbonne for a year, I also arrived with an enormous zit on my forehead. It was the hugest pimple I’d ever gotten in my life—the cystic kind that hurts deep down and forms an obvious red mountain at the surface. It was only after a few hours of meeting Marianne, my host mother, that she instructed me to come to her bathroom. I cautiously entered her stately boudoir, where she selected a tube from the marble counter neatly littered with at least 100 products and beauty tools.
“I have something for that,” she said, eying my blemish and placing a generous dollop of a thick clay from India or Indonesia or Tunisia on my forehead. “This will make your zit go away in no time,” she told me. Embarrassed, I thanked her and went back to my room. Fifteen minutes later, I headed to the kitchen to see if I could help her and my host brothers set up for dinner. Before she could even hand me a fork, Marianne gave me a sharp stare, approaching me before her sons could see me. “I do not want to see this when I am eating,” she hissed, and instructed me to wash off the clay and pin my hair over my blemish during dinner. Keep reading »
Bonjour! Did you know that Bastille Day is tomorrow? The holiday is France‘s Independence Day, commemorating the siege of the Bastille prison and the downfall of the monarchy. Today, people in France use the day as an excuse to party, drink, and eat. (Not like the French ever need an excuse to do any of that.) If you feel like celebrating, check our guide for all things French: Get Parisian-chic style and beauty suggestions, learn how to make crepes, find sexy French films about weird sex, and more! Check it out after the jump! Keep reading »
You’ve already asked your parents where babies come from, but ever wonder about condoms? Deep in the south of France is a small town called Condom where a company called The Original Condom produces the birth control. Well, to be fair, the condom actually has a long history (did you know, for example, that in 1780, General La Fayette distributed condoms among his troops?), and it doesn’t quite originate in this French town. Founded just last year, The Original Condom does claim to make the world’s first “luxury” condom, which means giving it some regal packaging and jazzing it up with la French touche.
And FYI, the French word for condom is préservatif. Just a heads-up if you ever travel to France and think you’re asking your waiter for jam for your toast when you request preservatives, and he’ll undoubtedly give you a disgusted look. [The Original Condom] Keep reading »
Nothing cuter than a cute girl or boy on a bike, right? A new French dating website works off this principle. Called Velibataire, it’s a play on the French word for single (célibataire) and the name of the Paris public bike system (Vélib’). Because so many Parisians use these park-and-ride bikes to get around the city, it makes sense that you might cross a few hotties on your ride, just as you would on your daily subway commute. Velibataire lets users find other bikers closest to their neighborhood Vélib’ station, signal when they’re about to leave the house to pick up a bike (because maybe you’ll happen to “bump” into someone there), or organize bike ride dates with potential mates. Kind of a cute idea, n’est-ce pas? Think an online dating service like this would take off in the U.S.? [Velibataire] Keep reading »
I snapped a picture of this new McDonald’s ad in the Paris metro system a few days ago. Apparently, McDonald’s chains in France have added a new dessert to the menu—a frappé, a Frenchisized version of a milkshake—and these advertisements have gone up all over Paris. Despite rising obesity rates in France, here’s a clue as to why French people “don’t get fat”: while we’re super-sizing portions in the U.S., McDonalds in France are super-smalling portions. (Seriously, I’ve seen shots of vodka that are bigger!) To make sure my eyes weren’t fooling me with some whack Photoshop job, I browsed the McDonald’s France website to find nutrition information for this frappé. (Which, I might add, proved to be extremely difficult. For a web-savvy person fluent in French, it took me over 10 minutes to find because this info must either be a) downloaded as a PDF format, or b) found on an entirely different website. Scandal! But I digress …)
The McDonald’s frappé in France is served in a portion of 167 grams. The smallest sized milkshake in the United States clocks in at 332 grams. Keep reading »