Saturday, July 02, 2011

Who is the Parisian male?

THE PARISIAN MALE…Who is he? Where does today’s Parisian man go for nightlife, to dine, for entertainment, or to shop for clothes?

Of course we are all salivating to know the answer to these burning and relevant questions. Aren't we?

Through its annual survey, Le Figaroscope a few months ago offered a quick sketch of the typical male denizen of Paris: "at once perfectible but seductive, snob yet distinguished, lighthearted yet erudite."

The survey had some interesting responses: the vote came in for the handsome and talented Edouard Baer as the icon of French male-ness. Can't argue with that. And details of his favorite haunts and habits are spelled out for you. Even if your French isn't le top, you can read the article here and find out the cool, hip places to be a man in Paris. And statistics about the runners-up.

Ah, then the tables turn! None other than Inès de la Fressange opines in the article, offering her view of the typical Parisian man. I didn't want anyone to miss this, so I translated it all for you.

According to Inès, the typical Parisian male

• takes his car to go exercise (e.g. jogging in the Luxembourg Garden) ;
• goes to cafés but only drinks coffee at the office;
• never wears brown suits;
• uses neither an umbrella nor a hat;
• buys his books in a local bookstore, even though he spends his life in front of the computer screen;
• has lunch on the Left Bank on weekends, but on the Right Bank during the week;
• reads the International Herald Tribune and subscribes to it when away at his vacation home;
• has a taxi-service subscription because he knows it’s delusional to think one can hail a taxi in the streets of Paris;
• drops his kids off at school but is never the one to pick them up;
• has two cars, including one Smart Car, but makes everyone think he arrived by Velib;
• votes in the countryside, where he has a second home: the only way to have his voice heard;
• skis in Megève, vacations on île de Ré or at Cap-Ferret, because there are plenty of Parisians there;
• makes snide comments about people whom he will then greet ceremoniously at Brasserie Lipp;
• is on a diet (he is a personal friend of Pierre Dukan);
• doesn’t manage to lose weight because the gym is under renovation, or too far away, or closed, or whatever…;
• loves going to London, IF it’s for work;
• doesn’t want to change residences, but his wife does;
• has a dog (more so than in any other city), but no place to walk it without a leash;
• wants to live in the 5th arrondissement in order to enroll his son in the Lycée Henri-IV (“you will be in the elite of the nation, my boy");
• “never goes” to the Marché aux Puces (« it’s too far, too expensive, no good finds») ;
• has furniture that comes exclusively from the Marché aux Puces;
• goes to Habitat to look like an American;
• buys his swim suits at Ralph Lauren, to look like Bobby Kennedy;
• “never” goes to the hairdresser (even though his hair is always short);
• doesn’t have a mistress, only « co-workers »;
• doesn’t have a guest bedroom;
• goes to bed early and gets up late, then is in meetings and unreachable;
• wasn’t born in Paris;
• starts out spearheading the search for child care for the new baby; and then, ultimately, asks his wife to figure it all out;
• doesn’t carry a plastic bag to pick up after his dog;
• never sees high chairs for the baby in restaurants; but since he isn’t Swedish it doesn’t surprise him.

Eh, oui, those fascinating, inscrutable Parisiens!

Edouard Baer image via Wikipedia


Paris Adele said...

Very informative - thank you for translating for us. They sound wonderful yet elusive.

Susan B said...

Heh! I think Ines has nailed it, at least for a certain socio-economic demographic...

BTW, did you know that the English version of "Stuff Parisians Like" is being released next week? Olivier will be coming to this side of the pond for a book tour and some wine tastings in July.

anglo said...

Hehe, thanks for the translation, love it! :)

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that the perfect Parisian man is 1/2 american and has spent many years being Franco/American?

Gerry Snape said...

I went to an afternoon english tea today....and there he was...the Parisian Male in all his glory! Rather dishy1

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing and translating, this is very interesting. I couldn’t help but wonder if you substituted Parisian male for London or New York male you might have a similar list. ;)

Linds said...

I have to the school I work at it's mostly dads who do the dropping off and the moms who pick up. Quite an accurate list I think!

Vps Web Hosting Server said...

Very cool list...
Thank you.

Joovy Zoom 360 said...

sounds great
Joovy Zoom 360

Diane said...

Hilarious! What a funny, insightful article.

I do have a soft spot for those fantastically glamourous French men, thin as a whip, dressed in suits, on motorbikes with a 5 o'clock shadow.

Unknown said...

I think this describes a bourgeois, not necessarily a Parisien! My husband was born just outside of Paris and has lived here his entire life and wouldn't dare spend a fortune on a Ralph Lauren bathing suit =) Anyway, the imagery is spot on for le dandy parisien, for sure!

F Cameron said...

Funny! Thanks for sharing!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Dear Lost in Cheeseland,

Oui oui. It was, of course, uber-Parisienne Ines de la Fressange's point of view, so I think you have a valid point.

As Une Femme concurred, "for a certain socio-economic demographic," which reflects the readership of Madame Figaro/le Figaroscope. But I can see the profile.

TN said...

I can see the profile as well...but def not my Parisian male. There are some points that do fit him i.e. he drops off our son at school and I pick up but that's because he works so late. And I'm sure its the same for other Parisian Dad's out there.

Darina said...

What a great list. Thanks for sharing this.

drbculp said...

Yet I still have a soft spot for them. :)

Anonymous said...


Polly-Vous Francais said...

Bonjour Anonymous,

Thanks for sharing.

As I said, I just translated, not postulated.

I do wish commenters with strong points of view (not just on my blog, but everywhere) had the courage to back up their points of view by identifying themselves. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

So Parisian men are all jerk offs. :)


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