Oh god – I loved this book. Mainly because it’s pour les femmes and, in their wisdom, Erotic Towers sent it to me, an unreconstructed male, and therefore quite possibly the last person in the world who should review it. You see, it’s all about how to be a Parisienne and so live your life with romantic success and passionate chic. By practising those many petits soins, that attention to minute detail that distinguishes a sophisticated, soignée Parisienne from her clueless, clodhopping London equivalent.
Having first unleashed their collective wisdom upon the French public two years ago as L’amour à la Parisienne, authors Florence, Eva and Claire are now telling Anglophone women ‘comment faire pour rester sexy, libre, drôle et fantaisiste tout en menant une vie à deux’.
Part one: ‘Fleeting pleasures’
In which you learn how to land your man and how to…
…talk dirty in bed:
don’t say “I can really feel it, your wooden cock” (please tell me that this hasn’t translated quite right?);
do say “No, now, come on!” (which, depending on emphasis, sounds like one of those hearty mums cheering on her son in the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race; again, I feel these terms of endearment have not travelled across la Manche all that well).
Part deux: ‘Encore, encore: still together!’
In which you learn how hold on to your chap and important little things like how to dress (or not) in bed and, if you’ve managed to separate him from his wife, deal with his ghastly offspring:
‘Obviously you are going to sleep in his arms. But how? Totally naked or in a silk negligee like Grace Kelly in Rear Window?’
Don’t bring your heavy overnight wheelie Samsonite:
Do bring a tiny wee vanity case like the one Grace had in that movie, in which you keep a ‘Caudalie spray for an express burst of freshness on top of makeup’ and lots of other things to ensure totally chic Parisienne freshness.
How to respond to his children if they say “Ugh, you’re ugly!”:
don’t say “So are you!” (which is, of course, exactly what this writer would say, adding a few choice epithets, and ending with ‘and bloody-well show me some respect, you spoilt little buggers!’)
do say… nothing, but bribe them by buying them toys or visualise yourself as a sympathetic aunt who is happy to make them crêpes slathered with Nutella.
Part three: ‘Years of happiness’
Now you’re married and you need to make sure he doesn’t stray.
So what to do when he ‘remains icy cold’when you’re in that sexy silk underwear that makes you look hotter than Isabelle Adjani in One Deadly Summer? (spoiler alert: there’s a lot of Hollywood references)
Mais naturellement! After seeing some trendy intellectual play in groovy Pigalle, you choose a sex toy with him in rue de la Gaîté: there are plenty of theatres and sex shops in that area. Et pourquoi pas?
And this is where we poor, clueless, Brexit-obsessed Brits can learn from this admirable life ‘n love guidebook: it’s got so many useful tips for good places to shop, eat and meet, that it doubles as a sort of Paris consumer guide. Now I think I’ll just combine it with my battered old Guilmin/Leconte Plan de Paris par Arrondissement in order to be one step ahead of any wannabe-chic, would-be Parisienne, chick.