Style secrets of the French by Casilda Grigg
Nobody can fail to have noticed the French invasion of London. Where once the expats were a small, privileged band who lived in South Kensington and worked in finance, now they are putting down roots everywhere from Chalk Farm to Clapham. They cut our hair, they deliver our babies, they design our furniture, they mix our cocktails. British estimates put the number of French nationals living in London at 300,00, though no one quite knows. There is no obligation to register and Europeans are free to come and go. But one thing thing is certain – it’s virtually impossible to go anywhere in London without hearing French people.
As a Londoner I’ve watched this quiet invasion with fascination, not least because I’m a journalist (ex Telegraph Weekend) but also because I have a witty and spirited French mother and vivid memories of a dazzling Parisian grandmother. As a child growing up in 1970s London, I rebelled against all of it. Now I feel almost nostalgic. Instinctively I know there are things the French can teach us, all sorts of lifestyle tips that might improve our lives if only we knew where to find them.
In a bid to discover their secrets I’ve tracked down the most glamorous, capable and sussed French women in London I could find – the ones who have du chien, that indefinable French quality that’s part charm, part sex appeal, part independence of spirit. I’ve made it my mission to uncover their secrets. Over never-quite-perfect croissants in countless cafés I’ve grilled architects, bankers, PR agency owners, full-time mothers and ballet dancers.
What are the beauty staples they can’t live without? Who makes the best croissants in London? What are the top three small hotels in Paris? Where can you find the best steak frites in London? What do French women take back from Paris on the Eurostar? And how do they keep the weight off?
This is just the start of my journey so look out for my regular posts. Check out my stories under Food & Drink, Beauty & Wellbeing, Fashion and Out & About. And look out for my insider tips on Paris – the shops and restaurants Parisians really rate.
I hope you like the blog and would love to hear from you.