Monday, August 29, 2011

VIP (Very Interesting Parisian) Interview: Elaine Sciolino






"Never be nude in front of your husband. Otherwise, he won't buy you lunch."
-Arielle Dombasle, French singer & actress




Come to think of it, the last time Big Cheese took me out for a romantic lunch was a très long time ago.

Perhaps La Mom needs to start following Arielle's advice. 

Or maybe I should re-read:

La Séduction : How The French Play The Game Of Life
 written by Elaine Sciolino.   

Elaine Sciolino's publisher sent her book to me for my summer vacation reading. I couldn't put it down.  Elaine, the longtime Paris bureau chief of the New York Times,  gives an insider's view of how seduction works in all areas of life in France, analyzing its limits as well as it's power. She reveals that seduction is much more than a game to the French: it's the key to understanding la France.

So pour yourself a coupe de champagne, sit down, relax, and let Elaine Sciolino seduce you...

Pink or blue for Carla & Nicolas? Baby Chanel in black and white. If it doesn’t exist, Karl Lagerfeld will create a wardrobe for the Elysée baby.



Favorite French meal: A generous slice of truffle on a buttered piece of crusty bread for breakfast with three-star chef Guy Savoy. (See “The Gastronomic Orgasm” chapter of “La Seduction.”)

Perfect French aperitif: Campari and soda, no ice (I’m Italian).


Ladurée or Pierre Hermé? Neither. Take a class and learn (with a lot of practice) to make scrumptious home-made macarons.

La Maison du Chocolat or Patrick Roger Chocolat? La Maison du Chocolat champagne truffles. But not very often, to keep them special.

Espresso, cafe au lait, or cafe américain? Cafe au lait for breakfast; after that, one of the green teas from Jugetsudo on the rue de Seine.


Evian or Badoit? San Pellegrino. Definitely not Perrier. As I wrote in my book, Perrier’s campy ad campaign years ago with a woman’s hand stroking an eight-ounce Perrier bottle until it exploded came close to pornography. Vulgar, not seductive.


Macarons or cupcakes?  Lemon tart.


Vin rouge or vin blanc? Whichever tastes better.


Café Costes or the bistro du coin? Definitely bistro du coin, any coin. In France, as I wrote, conversation can be as important as the meal, and that can happen in just about any  corner bistro. 

Favorite French writer/singer/actor? The young Jean-Paul Belmondo


Most handsome French man? Will never tell. Seduction means keeping some secrets.

Amelie Poulain or Carrie Bradshaw? Good grief. Neither -- The young Brigitte Bardot. As I write in my book, Bardot is “the woman who has held the status of the most seductive woman in France for more than half a century...Not the Bardot of today, but the Bardot of the past.

Favorite part of France? Ars-en-Ré in summer



Favorite French language expression? “Pas mal,” because it’s a form of second degree and doesn’t really mean “not bad” but can mean “terrific!”


Marais or the Latin Quarter? My new neighborhood around the Place St. Georges and the rue des Martyrs. Very lively, few tourists; all the food merchants know you by name. 


Parc Monceau or Jardin de Tuileries? Any park bench in the garden of the Rodin Museum. 



Favorite museum in Paris? The Louvre, or more specifically, the area around the statue where Edith Wharton met her lover.


Favorite restaurant in Paris? Bistro Paul Bert

Favorite blogs?  Rue89

Le Figaro or Le Monde? Read both, as well as Le Parisien, Liberation, Elle, Marie-Claire, Vogue, Paris-Match, Marianne, L’Express, Le Point, Le Nouvel Observateur.
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La Mom & Big Cheese are hiring an au pair girl to take care of the French Fries. What are the really important, heavy duty interview questions only a French person asks? Stop by later this week to find out what Big Cheese is up to!
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