The Café Marly at the Louvre

Here’s a fabulous place to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, champagne, cocktails, whatever:  it’s open 7 days a week from 8 am to 2 am, it’s stunning, reasonably priced, and it overlooks the courtyard of the Louvre.  Both Parisians and tourists come here, so it’s a nice mix.   Classy, or as the French say, “La classe !”

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More budget hotels in France

For those of you travelling to the French Riviera, Brittany or Normandy, here are some lovely offerings culled from The Guardian newspaper in London:

The Côte d’Azur’s top 10 beach hotels and B&Bs on a budget:

Brittany’s top 10 beach hotels and places to stay on a budget:

Normandy’s top 10 beach hotels and places to stay on a budget:

Cycling holidays in France:

12 Parisian hotels with character:

Paris – random photos

Hello blog readers,

Here are a few pics taken last Sunday afternoon during a ramble around central Paris.  I must admit I’m pretty lucky to be able to jump on the metro and in 10 minutes find myself standing in front of the magnificent Louvre museum.  Another thing I like about this city is its compact size.  You can cover a lot of ground, on foot, in just half a day.

It was a gorgeous, breezy day and as I look at these pictures, I must confess:  Paris is one beautiful city!

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YSL Touche Éclat


Here’s a marvellous discovery I made while wandering the aisles and perfume counters of Au Printemps department store on the boulevard Haussmann in central Paris. Accosted by a ravishing sales rep promoting Yves Saint Laurent products, I was asked if I’d like to try the new Touche Éclat – they were offering a 20% discount.  I said “sure.” Or rather, “bien sûr !”

I wasn’t really in the market for foundation because I was quite happy with my Diorskin Nude.  However, after the sales rep had finished with my face, I walked away with a new bottle of Touche Éclat creamy foundation at 44 euros ($59CAD/$58US/£37GPB) minus the discount and I haven’t touched the Diorskin since. It appears that a lot of women worldwide – and some men, too – are raving about this product. Yes, it’s more expensive than other foundations, but I’d say it’s worth the investment.  

So what makes this French product stand out from the crowd?  Firstly, it goes without saying that Yves Saint Laurent is a valued and luxurious cosmetic brand. Secondly, as you apply the foundation to your skin you notice it has a lovely delicate scent which is a pleasant thing to acknowledge as you stand bleary-eyed in front of the bathroom mirror early in the morning. Thirdly, it blends easily into the skin with an almost-moisturizing texture because it’s gel and not water-based like other foundations. Fourthly, it has a super-lightweight consistency (what YSL calls “weightless”) which is great for summer and it has a built-in sunscreen of SPF 20.

Oh, and did I mention it comes in 22 different shades segmented into three complexion groups of pinks, yellows and beiges?

This is an illuminating foundation which means it’s light reflective, hence the name éclat which means Radiant. Bright. Luminosity.

What’s really special about this product, as if the above features aren’t enough, is that it’s a long-awaited follow-up to – and has the same properties of – the iconic Touche éclat stick which came out in the 1980s and caused a sensation among makeup artists and models.  A lot of people, however, don’t know how to properly use this stick.  I’ve had several over the decades and was initially baffled by it.  The stick is called a complexion highlighter and claims to illuminate your skin and make dark circles, lines and signs of fatigue disappear with a few strategic strokes.  It is also light reflective.  All this interested me because I’ve had dark circles under my eyes since I was 6; as a result, I think I’ve tried every concealer and highlighter on the market.

Here’s a video of a French makeup artist (looking quite pleased with himself) using the two above products on a model who looks like she’s walked straight out of The Stepford Wives. Only a Frenchman would say “long strokes that caress the skin”, and I’m guessing that the YSL brush he’s using costs more than the foundation itself (why are those brushes so expensive?)  

But the video serves as a tutorial on how to correctly apply skin foundation, as well as that Touche Eclat stick.  I found it informative and maybe you will too.  Applying foundation to your face with a quality brush seems like a good idea.  One last thing – at the beginning of the video he explains how to select the right shade for your skin.  You shouldn’t be doing this (because we always get it wrong.)  YSL sales reps are trained to select the right shade for you.