continental cravings

by Kate Shapland

Fat is definitely a dirty word in France. So the French use an array of more flattering euphemisms to describe someone who is not thin: ronde, robust, forte, solid, dodue, rondelette – round, robust, strong, solid, plump, chubby, or even enrolee (enrobed), words normally used to describe the chocolate coating on sweets and cakes.

Are you ronde, robust, forte, solid, dodue or rondelette?

And there are, apparently, many women to whom these adjectives apply, for it is said that every French woman feels she needs to lose at least 2kg (4.4lbs), which is why the slimming business in France is huge and the pharmacies are filled with all sorts of miracle diet products and more.

Which makes for some engaging hours viewing for beauty and wellbeing junkies, especially as nothing is off limits in French pharmacies. Feeling bloated? There’s a tea for that. Varicose veins? Take the vitamin K cream. Puffy ankles? Made to measure compression hosiery.

These are some of my favourites. What are yours?

  • Biocyte Cellulipill acts on fluid retention and cellulite, which speaks to me because of the link between the two – one (cellulite) often being symptomatic of the other (fluid retention). This supplement promotes drainage – so eliminates the fluid that makes us feel puffy – and carries away toxins in the system that contribute to cellulite. It also contains antioxidant polyphenol-rich ingredients like red vine extract to strengthen veins and capillaries which enhances blood flow and circulation.
  • Roge Cavailles Savon Surgras Extra Doux – wonderfully mild and rich soap, made for sensitive skins and babies bodies.
  • Oenobiol Autobronzant are the only tanning tablets worth taking, and I’ve tried them all. These are special because they give your skin a very subtle, even glow, and they condition it too, so it feels more supple and firm. If you want to be a deep bronze they are not for you – actually no tanning supplements are for you because none of them will achieve this, but Oenobiol seem to give the most realistic ‘colour’ and work relatively fast – I noticed a difference to my skin within a week.
  • Le Petit Marseillais – all the shower gels, especially the sea salt and grapefruit scented ones.
  • Lytess Nighttime Detox Capri Pants – contour and deeply drain your thighs overnight.