Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Already seen the Eiffel tower? Then go to Paris for the pharmacies.

She has seen it now - what next?

I am going to be very controversial for a few of you and then there will be those who will be high fiveing me cyber-spacially.  
But I am not that crazy about Paris. 
Anymore that is. (Gasps, I hear?) 
 
We all have different experiences of any place right? 
I loved it when I was 17.
Mind you I loved Renoir then as well. 
Things change.

Pun very much intended.
( To any Parisian readers, I apologize and I am sure you are the exception.)


In my teens, I used to dream about being a skinny, chain smoking,  snooty lady sporting an age inappropriate hairstyle and no makeup like some Parisian women.

Exhibit A of a chic Parisian woman

Baah non? They can't be real. ( Exhibit B )
But after you have been there a good several times, you realize it is a city for geared for tourists or die hard Parisians
but even tourists can find it boring sometimes.

Recent Paris Fashion week.
Come on Kayne, if you can pretend to like Kim - you can pretend to like Paris.

Paris is also for French people who can not be bothered to learn another language. 

Even zough we are meant to be zee best and zee brightest persons of la France, 
we both don't speak zee English - we hate each other but let's shake on that.

It is crowded and this is from someone who grew up in a city of ten million people.  The streets in the Latin Quarter and Le Marais were just not made for hundreds of thousands of people ambling about on Saturday afternoons. 

Champs Elysees.  
( OK, I cheated a little - there was a strike. 
The French are really good at that. )
But for me with the crowds, the attitude, the faded glory of the French empire, and globalization - there is just no need to go to the city unless you want great value cosmetics and first aid kits.

On every street corner - you can't miss it.

I have to hand it to them - they do great pharmacy products.   

The best. 
 I have tried many different lotions and potions from so many countries.  They are of such great quality that they would not be amiss in any department store and the price points are that of a generic drugstore brand.  

Even ordering on line is easy to do.  Depending on where you live - going on the Eurostar for the day might work out almost cheaper.  Most companies will add a bit extra to the price plus there is the postage.  If you go to Paris, you can go by several pharmacies and see which items might be on sale and get a few extra samples.


This is my list of must haves if you want to buy online or put on your list next time you go to Paris.


click for link

The best tasting toothpaste out there unless you like chalky, burning, caustic "mint" used in normal toothpastes.
Cinnamon Mint, Aquatic mint, Ginger mint - Yummy
There is also licorice and jasmine mint.  They have unusual flavours that are gentle and make brushing your teeth so enjoyable.  The toothpastes aren't any better perse but they just taste better so then you brush your teeth for longer which is better for you.

click for link
Simply one of the best eye makeup removers around.  I get both types. One regular and one for extra dry skin.  I wear contact lenses and have dry skin anyway so I tend to swap between the two.

Right one is for very dry skin - Tres seches means very dry.

Just get a cotton wipe and a gentle swipe will suffice. No pulling or rubbing around the delicate eye area.  When I run out - I literally stop using mascara because nothing else does the job like this.

click for link

This is the French equivalent of the famous
 Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream.


I prefer this to the 8 hour cream.  This one works a treat for chapped skin and minor abrasions.  I always make sure it is on hand in the winter for noses that get very sore, red, and chapped due to a cold and the weather change.  
In the summer, I use for minor sunburn.  It also makes a great overnight lip and cuticle treatment.  But please don't use around the eye area because you could get milia.  Also, due to its weight it will sag around the delicate eye area.

4) Avibon
click for link

This is a Vitamin A cream - retinol palmitate.


This is the one cream that is proven to be an anti-wrinkle cream.  
It reverses some forms of sun damage.  
I tend to use this during the winter months to eradicate as many freckles as possible.  I don't waste my money on super duper expensive moisturizers - I just add this to my moisturizers.  But do not use if you have an allergy to lanolin or are pregnant.  Also,if you are using this intensively, do remember to use a sunscreen.  


I sound really calm about this but honestly, amazing.


click for link

This cream is really difficult to explain.  It is super versatile!
It is a moisturizer, primer, cleanser, and soothing mask. 



A lot of make up artists use this as a primer and also as a mask to soothe skin.  I use it as a cleanser in the middle of winter or when the skin is fragile.  It is just a must have in your make up bag because you will find a use that suits your skin type.    

This cream is not always displayed on the shelves and you will have to ask the pharmacist and ask for it as they stock it behind the counter.

6) Z Gel
click for link
 
Via
 This is part beauty and part first aid kit material. 
This is my desert island item.
I would rather be without Dettol than this.
It moisturizes and heals. 
It contains arnica, calendula, and Bach flower essences in a base of aloe vera gel.  


 One more tip - if you can try not to do last minute shopping by the Eurostar Gare du Nord train station because they tend to charge a bit more as they know that there are procrastinators out there. 
They also tend to have sold out of the eye makeup remover.  Speaking from experience so there you go.

Bonne cosmetique!  

That makes no sense at all in any language but you get my drift.

62 comments:

  1. I was wondering when someone would be brave enough to say this! Perhaps other will join in and we can move on..(sigh).

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    1. Yes I was feeling rather brave. But I always think differences in opinion make things more interesting!

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  2. I should get a passport. it looks like I am missing out on everything. including the cream :-P

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    1. Paris is lovely but then again I do live in London so it just doesn't hold any fascination for me anymore! I would rather go to Melbourne for the weekend :)

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  3. I am so amazed by these fantastic pharmacy products! I would go there just for that~ to hell with the Louvre and the shops!! I hear London is by far the best city over Paris!! I will just have to go see both! My true love which makes my heart flutter is, and will always be, good ole NYC!!!!

    Love,
    (='.'=)
    Lauren at adorn la femme

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    1. they are just so cheap and so good! I think now London has pipped Paris but that is only very recent - perhaps the late 90's? Yes NYC got a little somethin somethin too! xx

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  4. Nooooo! Just when I thought I was all shopped out you post about lovely French pharmacie items!
    I need that Embryolisse stuff! Sadly, my nearest stockist is in Japan.... Too much of a hike just to buy face cream even for me!

    I sort of share your French ambivalence, but after a recent trip there I have re-assessed my animosity towards les Français. I spent quite a while working there once upon a time, and really did NOT enjoy it at all. In fact it put me off returning for a long time.
    Last year, however, I returned for a brief stay and found that a lot of the things that bothered me about France and French attitudes seem to have changed. Or maybe I have... Who knows. I certainly found it to be less parochial and anti-foreigner than in the 80s.

    You are so right about pharmacies there. They are heaven! If only I lived closer....

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    1. Funny enough, last 2 times I went I think Parisians are starting to realize that people just won't put up with any shenanigans and attitude anymore. They lost a lot of tourist trade as their reputation preceded them. They are trying to change as the tourist dollar is too strong to ignore. But the rest of France tend to agree though about their attitude as well...But when I run out of my stash, I will be doing a eurostar run to the pharmacies!

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    2. Yay! I've tracked down some Embryolisse online from Cult Beauty and have ordered it (along with some Miller Harris goodies to qualify for free shipping)
      Excellent! So much for no shopping :-)

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    3. Hope you got a good deal? Makeup artists use it all the time so you won't regret it - it is my desert island beauty pick! Hope you enjoy it x

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  5. Haha I agree French people are good at striking! But I'm still in lve with this city because even for a Parisian, you have loads of things to discover everyday!
    Cosmetics for example ;-)
    Kisses

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    1. Ha! You prove that Parisians can have a sense of humour! Yes, I bow down to the pharmacies hehe ;) xx

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  6. Love the first photo...she got bored after seeing the Eiffel Tower :D
    The thing with Paris is even the French are not fond of it.
    I'm so lazy with shopping for and discovering new derma/cosmetic products. When it comes to that, I'm not experimental. But on my next trip to Paris, I'll have a day out at pharmacies--and that will make my Parisian trip x

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    1. Yes, you are right, Paris is its own entity...But def try out the cosmetics and you won't be disappointed! x

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  7. Next time you do a Eurostar run, add two and a half hours more on to your train time and Eurostar it right down to Provence! ;) We have pharmacies here too you know AND glasses of rosé on the terrace...

    N, I LOVED this. When I moved to Paris from NYC (which, I beg your pardon, does not have a "little" something--it is the best town in 'da woild!) I was like "Huh? I don't get it." But I moved there for love so I tried to tolerate the bitchiness and the three hour lines to see an art show and the crazy sadness of the commuters on the metro...until we realized that there is such a thing as sunshine (no one tells you that it is gray five months out of the year in "the city of light") and the South of France! Yippeee! One thing that I think was a huge part of my disappointment in living there was that I really feel that beyond say, walking in the Tuileries at dusk with your honey (which really is lovely), you need money to experience the best of Paris and even the kind of best--not true for NYC and as I had no dough when I was there I felt just on the edge of the charm that makes people swoon over Paris.

    Ok, off my high horse--because YAY to all of these products! Certainly Bioderma which has saved my skin. I pretty much only use French pharmacy products now and would just add a few: Caudalie Huile Divin (smells insane and is great for summer hair and skin) plus their 50 spf sunscreen--paraben free with an anti-aging ingredient! Don't forget Phyto and Furterer Hair leave in conditioners--perfect. Oh and Eucerin night cream. :)

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    1. PS. One more: Arnica gel--totally heals bruises, minor cuts and soothes sore muscles...

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    2. I love Z gel - I panic when I don't have at least 2 tubes in the house - what a life saver! Yes, I do agree. And yes to your other recommends, Caudalie is such quality for the price. I really liked Paris as a teenager but there is only so much grumpiness a person can take. I do love New York and I also lived there in my twenties for a bit and I never got sick of it. Having said that I wouldn't necessarily want to move back there now...( getting older has a lot to do with it!) But I will say that it is good to see everyone has such differing opinions about Paris - Vive la difference! xx

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  8. CSW - I am with you on french pharmacies, though not entirely on Paris..However, I do defer in part, as I have only been once. My take on the world's cities (that I have been to) is this: Paris is the most beautiful, London is the friendliest and good time, NYC is the city where you believe that if it is happening anywhere it is happening there!

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    1. I thought you might differ on Paris Yes it is physically beautiful. :) But it's interesting to see you think London is friendly. At least the pharmacies force me to revisit Paris and I do love that I can take a train there - the Eurostar is marvelous!

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  9. I can't say I've been to Paris enough to become jaded by it like you! Wish I had that problem frankly... great list, I think the only Aussie pharmacy buy in my medicine cupboard is Pawpaw ointment... otherwise it looks like the French have it all covered!

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    1. I suppose I should see it that way but I do notice the further one is away from Paris the more one likes it so there must be a correlation! I love paw paw ointment as well but do be careful if you have eczema or any skin irritations with it because it is petroleum jelly based - there is another one similar called Pure - you might want to change it for that as it has paw paw but natural oil base. xx

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  10. If you are talking about Paris during the hot summer months, then I agree with you - partially!!!- Paris in the Summer - during the season can be unbearable... but we were there a couple of weeks ago and it was divine - cool crisp weather - no crowds - delicious food - and friendly service - I think the secret is going before the season begins - the French seem to get mighty irritated by the end of Summer - However, we (in Australia) are used to impecable service - the best service in the world quite frankly - and compared with this the lack-lustre service in Paris is very irritating.... The Pharmacies are WONDERFUL - I bought the best night cream there and now wish I had bought 3 jars!! xx

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    1. I find they used to be irritated year round until the tourists dried up a little and their tune changed a little! But yes, Australia and America has such good service that it is more jarring when there. But when I do go there I do stock up on pharmacies as they truly are masters of ointments! A country with 15 different cellulite creams on any random pharmacy knows what they are doing! xx

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  11. I would like to try Avibon and Embryolisse cream!!!!!
    Have a great day darling!!!!

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    1. Those two are the best. I think I will use them always Paola! x

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  12. Oh commenting in here now too, I LOVE the pharmacies, utter treasure troves of beauty unguents

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    1. Oh yes and I end up going into one after another and still manage new find new potions!

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  13. I love Paris but only in winter. And I stay away from the touristy things, but I definitely do not think London could be termed "friendly" maybe I'm jaded from living here, but if you are looking for friendly....Scotland! Without compare xo

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    1. I think Scotland is really friendly and if the weather was better I would definitely love to live there!

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  14. hee hee....I've been to Paris a couple of times; I don't rush to go back or miss it as such, but I like it when I'm there.......although I've never spent longer than 3 days, which may explain why I haven't developed a full opinion about it or the natives. I haven't once been in to their pharmacies because I usually have a bag of Boots goodies in my suitcase.

    I'm very loyal to my existing cosmetic products at the moment, maybe because I suffered with perioral dermatitis last year and therefore decided to stop experimenting with different products, before that I was a beauty sales person's dream and would have been having an anxiety attack about all these new products you have introduced me to. xx

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    1. Boots has a few great products for sure but it doesn't seem to have pharmacy brands here as such. It's too Estee Lauder parent company driven in general.
      You should do a post about nutrition for dermatitis bc I am finding so many people I know with skin irritations lately, myself included! xx

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    2. yeah I tend to only go in to a pharmacy to pick up a prescription. The pharmacies here are definitely not the place to buy cosmetics (well not my local one anyway).

      Unfortunately no amount of nutrition helped with with my particular case of dermatitis (trust me I tried everything), I had to resort to a 3 month course of topical antibiotics in the end xx

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  15. Long ago I went to school in Paris. The US/Franc exchange rate was very favorable at that time and I ate like a king. Each morning I would find a baguette at my door with some butter. I would then walk down stairs and step out my door and have a crepe from the crepe guy who stood each day in front of the Sorbonne. I could often have what was a fabulous meal for what amount to a dollar or two at many of the ethnic restaurants in the Latin Quarter where I lived. That being said, it was the least friendliest place that I have ever lived (including London and New York City. People smoked endlessly, blowing smoke in your face all day, every day. I understood French fluently but spoke it very badly and as such, each interaction was painful and awful. Because people assumed that I could not understand French, they said unbelievably rude things to me, routinely. I am glad that I was there for that 6 month period, but I was very happy to move to London.

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    1. Don't get me started Laoch. I spoke better French much better than I do now and I once responded Oui to a waiter asking if I wanted the bill. That is a word that defies accent and yet he insisted on asking me Quoi 3 times. It's things like that which drive people insane. I actually didn't go to Paris for about 5 years even though it is less than 3 hours away bc of their attitude and now I only go on a need to basis! It is physically lovely and it is their saving grace...

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  16. I went to Paris and got punched by a street seller person, bad times :( I tried the Marvis toothpaste recently, it's nice! I'm glad you use Bioderma as an eye make up remover and not as a general cleanser which a lot of people seem to do - gross! xx

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    1. OMG - I hope you called the police? Seriously dangerous. The streets in Paris really are getting more dangerous and I won't get on the tube. It is just a nightmare. They have that ring scam plus the petition scam and it is so intimidating. But Bioderma on the face just seems weird??xx

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  17. you are so BOLD.

    love it.

    when we were last in paris *saidairilytocamera* we stopped into a pharmacy to buy poudre pour le (la?) visage and used it again today and thought "aren't the pharmacies great in paris?" and here you are writing about them *spooky*.

    of course now we live in america we should say "drugstore" but that still makes us giggle inanely for some reason.

    love your blog.

    BOLD!

    _teamgloria x

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    1. I appreciate you being so kind. I have been called other synonyms similar to bold quite a few times ( but a bit harsher!) But then again I did edit like edward scissorhands ;) Thanks Teamgloria xx

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  18. I have been to Paris many times and I have sometimes encountered poor service but I do speak French and I think that often makes a huge difference to the attitude of hotel and restaurant staff. Having said that, I have French friends who have found waiters to be rather off-hand. However, I do think that in recent years there has been a general improvement. In fact, I was there last weekend and was struck by how many waiters were actually translating menus to tourists in a very pleasant manner! Paris is such a beautiful city and there are still areas to discover, where it is possible to avoid the crowds - I remain a fan! I discovered the amazing pharamacies when I lived in France a few years ago. I'm still amazed just how many pharmacies there are! Thanks for the introduction to Homeoplasmine - sounds like a great alternative to eight hour cream. I didn't realise it was so versatile.
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Yes, I don't think that the language ability has much to do with it. They have improved a bit but I suppose because the city is so beautiful they do get away with a lot!

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  19. I'm sure you pissed quite a few people out there with this one.:) But if I can be honest to - I get the appeal of Paris but it doesn't affect me personally, I'm not DYING to go. And yes, why do so many French (and Italian!!) people refuse to learn English?!

    P.S.: That strike shot really threw me off, we need masses to protest like that now!

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    1. Hehe - I think there was a few shocked people out there...Especially considering the blogosphere probably has more blogs dedicated to Paris than any other city!

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  20. I've made trips to Paris for sixty years or so and still love it, although, like some of your other commentators, I don't always care much for the Parisians, they can be some of the chilliest, rudest people around. It no longer seems an especially romantic place to me but remains an interesting place to shop!

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    1. Yes, when I do go I like to revisit the places where I spent my gap year and just walk and walk and that way there is no drama :)

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  21. ...and I'm adding your list of products to my shopping list!

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  22. I love french pharmacies, I use something similar to remove make-up and I have the Avibon on my bedside table. have you noticed how the pharmacies are obsessed with weight-loss and water retention as well? I love poking around the shelves for something new, great fun then trying to translate it and check that I haven't bought hemorrhoid cream!

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    1. Yes, they are amazing about weightloss, cellulite and bloating. They even had a self tan sunscreen cellulite fat burning cream!! Of course I had to have it...But they are great at homeopathy and they also will tell you if any mushrooms you foraged for are edible or not so they are quite handy...PS hemorrhoid cream is used by many as under eye cream!! no joke.

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  23. I was in Paris once and I loved it because I kept my eyes on the things I've been dying to see forever but I love to hear unique perspectives and it was truly interesting and original to read. There are pros and cons to every place and if I really think about it I could make a list of lots of negatives about Paris. But then again I could do that about any city. Thanks for a fun read!
    xo
    Sharon

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    1. Yes, you are so right. Funny enough writing this also reminded me of the good! :) x

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  24. Tnx for your funny comment!!!!!
    Have a fab day darling!!!!

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  25. *Crosses off Paris on next month's traveling list*--Just kidding! I had always wanted to go, and we actually DID cross it off our travel plans, but added it again at the last moment when we realized the train would be going straight through it from Zurich to Rome. Well...I guess I have at least the pharmacies to look forward to? ;)

    By the way, I'm going to have to get some pointers from you as far as London! I'm sort of freaking out because we're leaving in less than a month and I've planned diddly squat.

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    1. LOL! the thing is you have to go to Paris - it is just such a cultural reference but you are going to Paris before Rome right? Rome is crazy amazing - there are not enough adjectives. I don't know why there arent more blogs dedicated to that city...But email me and tell me how many days you are planning for and what you want to see and I can give you pointers tailored to those things ok? x

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  26. Haha, this made me laugh! Although I have visited many times over the years and I love it - it's one of my favourite cities and I only have favourable memories of my visits (mainly around the food and shopping if I'm honest) and pharmacies are definitely a stand out - I'm a Embryolisse user but I haven't tried Avibon and don't now how I've missed this one. I'm off to find an online stockist that ships to Australia...

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    1. Don't you love embroylisse? Avibon is really needed in Oz bc even with SPF sun damage comes through but be careful and red the precautions first ok? X

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  27. OMG to quote HJ Simpson: it's funny cos it's true!

    I used to go to France for the pharmacies AND (don't punch me!) for les supermarchés. it has something magical, the abundance of great wines in an endless isle at le Geant... the never-ending aile with desserts... and bread... 80% stuff I don't even eat now, but I was really impressed. in Germany, supermarkets offer a good variety, but not such joie de vivre... non, joie de groceries shopping!

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    1. I get it. For me the water aisle in Carrefour is something else along with their yoghurt selection. I didn't think you misspelt aisle I thought you just liked garlic with your desserts! :)

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  28. (I managed to write aisle wrong. twice! defo bed time. or bad? or bead? *sneaks away*)

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  29. You are bold, and honest, what more can we expect? This is one of the reasons you are so popular lady! I still love Paris. My husband has a real affection for it as well which I'm sure adds to my enjoyment. I'm loving your list of French faves here. You have added some must haves for my next trip.
    Merci! ;)
    xx, Heather @Stylemindchic

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    1. Ha! I have been getting that a bit lately Heather...Must be me getting older :) A bientot Heather xx

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