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La belle epoque

The French are full of paradoxes. Those logics helped Mirielle Guilano’s book become a hit and now it is the same logic that is also responsible for the Guide to the Pretty Women of Paris.

india Updated: May 06, 2008 22:47 IST

The French are full of paradoxes. Much has been made of their wine and cheese diet that enables them to live healthy lives, stay slim and erotically charged and so on. This sort of logic triggered a bestseller, Mirielle Guilano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure not too long ago. Perhaps it is the same logic that is also responsible for the latest exertions of a speechwriter to pen the Guide to the Pretty Women of Paris. With this overload, can the hapless homme be faulted for expecting French women to be the embodiment of all his fantasies?

“Just as every region has its gastronomy, every quarter has its feminine speciality,” writes the author Pierre-Louis Colin. “You do not find in Menilmontant the sublime legs you see at the Madeline. But you do find perfectly shameless cleavages. Radiant breasts, often uncluttered by a bra,” he notes with Proustian zeal. Such observations definitely push the envelope on political correctness. But imagine what would happen when male hordes descend on to Paris expecting a moveable feast and instead find a city of gainly behenjis?

Sadly, that might well be the reality. Like the rest of the world, the French also suffer from obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The French femme is not always the fantasy made out in Guiliano’s bestseller. According to government figures, 5.9 million — or 9 per cent of the French population — are obese. Some 20 million are overweight. And finally, there are no reasons to believe that the eye candy of Paris is any different from anywhere else. Why even Bhatinda has its belles.