Saturday, July 19, 2008

A journey to Provence


Let's take a little break from this busy week... how about a little journey in Provence? Not this Provence, unfortunately, but the one you can find in Paris (and in many other places, including the US, I noticed last time I was there) when shopping at L'Occitane. Yes, it's a chain store, and yes their marketing is very well made, but still, I love the way they use local products of Provence to turn them into body lotion, eau de toilette or skincare and many other totally useless products! Even the Sales sign of this outlet (I took this photo in Bercy Village), is cool ;) Now, it's the right day to wish you a happy weekend (I was a little early yesterday LOL).

80 comments:

  1. (Someone comment already so I won't be the first one!!!)

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  2. from cali - but I was waiting for you to go ...

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  3. well, I don't want to be first. YOU do it...

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  4. I get to be first because it looks like I will be making a comment on the pix! I will go to my local Occitane at PHX Fashion Square in hommage to this picture.

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  5. Thank you Phx. I think we all will be headed to our local Occitane after seeing this photo.

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  6. whew

    I don't think I've ever seen one of these before. They probably have one down in Santa Rosa or Corte Madera. I'll keep an eye out.

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  7. Whew!I also wanted to write(but my heart was pumping too fast and my fingers weren't) that while on the Paris Metro last month, a farmer came on with huge bags of Lavender over his shoulders. I didn't notice him until I smelled the lavender. I quickly took a few pictures of this unusual, memorable occurance.

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  8. phx, do you have a blog where you can show them to us?

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  9. P.S. Bercy Village is on my to do list--if there is such a thing as a bargain in Paris(it is like an upscale outlet mall)-- and S-O-L-D-E-S is my absolute favorite word in French.

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  10. Eric I know you're not working for L'Occitane, but I think you're going to get a lot of us to seek out their local store today after seeing this photo, and the amazingly beautiful photos you took of Senaque Abbey. I actually used some of their shower gel this morning! And there's a certain kind of their shampoo that smells divine. I'm out and I need more now!

    Here's a question I've been meaning to ask a native French speaker for a long time -- how do you correctly pronounce L'Occitane?

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  11. awwwww!!!Mr. PHX promised to help me put my picture on PDP,and if you can add your personal pix's to one's page, I(he) will try. Or maybe I can try Snapfish. Promise to only put the interesting ones on and not the "I was there " photos.

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  12. L'Occitane de Provence is a cute store, with all kinds of soap and stuff... very hard to resist! They used to have the little baskets with leather handle straight from Provence... pretty cool stuff! I buy my stuff from them in the US, though, because in France, with the exchange rate, yikes!...

    By the way, Eric, the CEO of l'Occitane was here in San Francisco last October, giving a presentation with Bill Gates when Microsoft launched it's VOIP communication software, Unified 2007 (MS threw a fabulous party by the way). Anyway, the French guy came on stage (I forgot his name) and charmed the audience as well as MS's own Jeff Raikes while explaining with a very thick French accent why his business "L'Occitane de Provence" benefited by running on the new MS product.

    (to "from Cali" : I responded to you and put the link you requested in the commenting section on my blog)

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  13. Katie, there is one at Embarcadero 1 or 2 (or is it 3 or 4?). I buy stuff there from time to time. You can't miss it, though, you'll smell the store before you see it! :) And there is one in the heart of the Castro, too, if you feel like going in that direction.

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  14. (sorry it's me again.) Funny, I was asked that question only last Saturday!

    L'occitane: LOXEETAHN

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  15. I appreciate that Tomate. I answered you on your blog.

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  16. What the heck, one more ...

    Here you go, guys, the store locator in the us

    http://usa.loccitane.com/FO/StoreLocator/StoreLocator.aspx?Country=United+States


    LOX-EE-TAHN it's LOXEETAHN! ;)

    (Boy this tomato is definitely ready for the week-end! or is it the lavender going to my head?)

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  17. Eric, your photo of the Senaque Abbey and the rows of lavender are very beautiful. Although the fleur de lis is the national flower of France, the lavender should be named the official flower of Provence.

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  18. Tomate thanks so much for the pronunciation! I wasn't sure if it was "lox" or "loss" so now I'll say it with confidence! I'm headed over to Embarcadero Center in 1/2 hour to go shopping!

    And PHX soldes is one of my favorite French words too, but I'm usually in Paris in the fall, so I miss the official summer and winter sales. Tant pis! Most stuff is too expensive anyway. At least bread is still subsidized so I won't starve!

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  19. I was just wondering if Paris had chain stores. I know that's unrealistic, but I don't like to think of Paris that way.
    We have one of these at our mall, but it can not hold a candle to the one you have posted here!

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  20. Katie, 2 cc's in L'occitane, that's why you pronounce it "x" otherwise it would be pronounced as you thought.

    "accident" AXEEDENT (unless you're riding your bike bare buttocks, like that picture Eric had on a couple of months ago, in which case it's ass-eedent ;)

    Tomate Farcie

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  21. Tomate I'm just never sure with some French pronuciation. There always seems to be some odd exception to the rule that trips me up. You crack me up with the ass-eedent comment! What a visual!

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  22. Katie - they have a store at Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek across and a little down (South) from Nordstrom. There is a store on Fillmore north of Pine in The City. Altogether, "Louis" thinks they've got about 10 locations in the Bay Area now - maybe more.

    "Louis" likes their shaving products. He started using them when he lived in France.

    (Editor to "Louis:" Les vaches don't shave.

    "Louis" to Editor: Yeah, well how 'bout if I have someone scalp you?! Can't I visit one blog without you butting in?)

    Eric - It was OK that you wished us a good weekend yesterday. We are all in a weekend frame of mind - especially those of us who have to put up with pesky Editors....

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  23. J´adore L´Occitane!!!!!!!!!!

    We have this store here too, in many cities here actually and I´m crazy about their products!! I love the Provence style, so I often buy a little soap or a home care product at their shop. Of course it´s a little (a lot!) bit expensive, and by what I´ve notice it´s not cheap in France either, but every now and them it´s totally worth it!!


    Phx: Bercy Village is on my list too!!

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  24. The sign in front of the shop indicates they´re on sale.. I wish L`Occitane here would go on sale too..!

    Have a nice weekend every one. I´m going on a small trip this weekend so I´ll only be able to log in again monday!

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  25. Did you know that the same chain has stores that sell very nice olive oil and cooking items? I think these stores are named "O" but to get the name for sure, go to the L'Occitane site or a store and ask them!

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  26. From Cali: I didn't see anything, but as long as you got the link, no worries. Blogger, sometimes, works in mysterious ways!

    Katie: French is weird. There is no logic to why such object is feminine rather than masculine, and don't get me started on the spelling of words... There are grammar rules, of course, but soooooo many exceptions!

    By the way, just in passing, Louis, the mental picture of you shaving is pretty funny. I'm sure if someone at Pixar got a hold of that one, they could have some fun on the computer with that idea ;) On the other hand, tell your editor that if Stuffed Tomatoes can drive, wear a back-pack, type on the computer, then certainly cows can shave, too?

    Clearly this tomato needs to step away from the computer... ah.. thank goodness it's Friday!....

    Tomate Farcie

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  27. lilly hydrangea: Paris has Starbucks!

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  28. It sounds heavenly! I love lavender, especially in my breakfast, lunch, and dinner! (Oh, and it's not too bad in lotions and bath gels either.) I have a recipe for lavender creme brulee and so many lovely things. This place is just up my alley and I'll have to put it on my list as well.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

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  29. OK! OK! I'll admit it! I did shop in this store when I was in Paris in June and yes, I did make several purchases for friends back home. The store smells heavenly!

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  30. Louis thanks for the info about the Walnut Creek store. I walked over to the SF Embarcadero store after work. I needed instant gratification!

    Monica have a fun weekend trip. I hope you're going to tell us all about it on Monday!

    Tomate I think we need to have a post-work drink soon so you can fill me in on more French rule exceptions. Maybe we can get Lois to join us!

    Carrie are you thinking of O&Co (aka Oliviers & Co)? I remember going into a store in Paris and they had all sorts of fun stuff.

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  31. Bercy is a lovely place to stroll. This trip I noticed the shops selling white cotton clothes (something de Nil?) everywhere in France we went.
    Today, Death Takes A Holiday at Sydney Daily Photo

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  32. Katie, the L'Occitane at Embarcadero has pasta, sauces, olive oil, herbs, etc. When you walk in the shop make a sharp right. That is the food section. Yes, I would be delighted to get together with you and Tomate.

    Monica, Yeah, it's expensive. During the holidays I bought a variety of olive Tapenades for dinner parties there. I didn't mind spending the extra money because it is a special time of the year. I bought Huile d'Olive a la Mandarine. I thought it would be good in a duck salad. It is delicious -- old time Provence. I think it might have come from Nice originally. I saw a really old sign advertising it.

    Carrie, The trademark on the food is "O&Co." www.oliviersandco.com
    They are affilliated. Sort of like, "Crate & Barrel" and "William Sonoma" -- sort of.

    I love the way they package their products. I am going to keep the can after the oil is gone. I think is looks nice in the kitchen. Kitchen art. Gives it a cozy feeling.

    Free samples: http://usa.loccitane.com/FO/Catalog/Samples.aspx

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  33. Thanks a lot, Eric (she said sarcastically) -- now I'm having a major l'Occitane craving. Fortunately, they have 10 stores here in NYC (and they all smell like Provence -- heavenly).

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  34. There are tons of chain stores in Paris from Caroll(sp)clothes, to Andre for shoes to Monoprix, to Max Mara.TONS.
    Louis la Vache, I crack up everytime you write.I am so in love with you.
    You too Monica!
    Still working on Mr. Lavender in the metro pix.
    LOXEETAHN LOXEETAHN (I hope I remember)

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  35. L' Occitane - Ala Moana Hawaiʻi.

    I find myself lingering just a little bit longer at
    L' Occitane - just to enjoy the heady scents of Provence.

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  36. OK Eric, I am totally convinced that you are on the payroll of L'Occitane now! Even here in Birmingham, Alabama we have a store. Tomorrow after my trip to the Apple Store, I am running, not walking, 3 stores down to Loxeetahn (I'm practicing the pronunciation so I won't mess up) to experience it for myself. I'll tell them Eric sent me. I am sure I will receive a discount!

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  37. On my last trip to the US (Washington DC area) last year I was amazed of the number of L'Occitane shops I saw.
    For those who leave or visit around DC, there is even an outlet store with almost all the ranges of products in Williamsburg !!!
    And prices are just great !!

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  38. Didn't Gertrude Stein write about L'Occitane that it was one of her favorite stores in all of Paris because you know "to shop is to shop is to shop...before you drop is to drop is to drop."
    Well, as Hemingway might say, if it wasn't Gertie, it's pretty to think so. ;-)

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  39. Tomate - Re "Louis" and Pixar: LOL!

    Katie & Tomate - The man who founded L'Occitane also founded Olivier. They have a store right across from L'Occitane on Fillmore in The City.

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  40. I have never heard of L'Occitane. Sounds pretty fancy for us small town girls.

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  41. (uselaine: ughhhh!!!!! ;)

    OK, guys, I was wondering if anyone was interested in seeing what that French CIO of LOXEETAHN looks like so I posted a couple of pictures of the Microsoft geek convention last october in SF. here you go!

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  42. USElaine: Louis LaVache can't hear you right now, he's fast asleep right now.

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  43. Virginia "OK Eric, I am totally convinced that you are on the payroll of L'Occitane now!" LOL!

    But, but judging from your comments and the love you seem to have for their products, they should definitely send me a little package full of free samples LOL!!

    FYI, Apparently the founder of l'Occitane (and Olivier & Co) is Olivier Baussan and the CEO is Reinold Geiger

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  44. Eric - you said it - a store full of totally useless products!

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  45. You guys are hillarious. I've missed you. Verbena spray cologne is my every day thing! And now I know how to pronounce it! xoxo.

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  46. Monica
    Something we don't have in commom. I actually dislike their products. I love the smell, the way they use only natural ingredients and just adore their packaging but it is not my kind of product...

    PHX Nice to see you here more often...

    Louis la Vache
    What about massage lotions, etc? I am sure nto even the fussiest of the editors would disagree with you getting some for the beautiful Mme la Vache!

    Eric
    A good weekend for you too...
    Btw for people like me, the weekend starts on Thursday evening!;)

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  47. I wish I had one of these stores down the street from me.

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  48. My bad. Here you go, Eric.


    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/oct07/10-16UC2LaunchPR.mspx

    The speaker was Etienne de Verdelhan, Chief Information Officer (CIO, not CEO. I could have sworn they said CEO but who knows)

    (Katie: drop me an email if you want to get together in the near future )

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  49. This photo made me laugh...but only at myself. Since L'Occitane has become so ubiquitous in every American mall, I always assumed it was branding made up by some clever American marketing team to trick us all into buying products because we'd believe it was French when it was really made in New Jersey. We're such suckers for that. (Thinking of new condo ads highlighting "European kitchens!" Clearly, those buyers have never been to Europe.)

    By the way, if you don't have L'Occitane in your mall, they sell the line at Sephora, too.

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  50. It should be there now, Tomate. I think there was an asseedent the first time!

    Lots of info regarding a product I didn't know much about. Thanks all.

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  51. Eric, I'm a "Body Shop" girl but then again, I've never tried L'Occitane products. Perhaps we shall have a look when we get to Paris.
    Today is my 100th Post. I hope you might find time to pop down to Adelaide to Madame Benaut's blog to take a look! I've missed you.

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  52. Amy (Ellis). It's actually funny that you mention these "European Kitchen" advertisements. Here we have "Cuisine américaine" which is another word for "there was not enough room to put a real kitchen in this apartment so we installed it in the middle of the living room and gave it a fancy name". LOL

    So you have Sephora too in the US? I'm happy to see that the French are good at exporting at least something!

    > Mme Benaut. What do you mean socially agoraphobic ??? [private joke between 2 bloggers!]

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  53. I've always wondered about the translation of L'Occitane? I'm thinking it means a person from the land of Occ.

    But, I've only seen Occitan (without the 'e' at the end). And, I can't find the word with the 'e' in my French dictionary.

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  54. I guess it would be the land of Oc.

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  55. On a different note, I see Starbucks is closing hundreds of its stores in the US! Hope it is not contagious, but then again...I grind my own coffee. Still every now and then, Starbucks hits the spot!

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  56. Eric, you flatter us too much to say "American" is a fancy name.

    The "open floor plan" of most modern dwellings in America was rooted in an idea conceived by the Beecher sisters (Catharine and Harriet) in the mid-19th century - put the kitchen in the center and remove walls, and you have a maternally dominated space where a woman without cooks and other servants can survey and control the household. I'm not making this stuff up.

    Personally, I like a kitchen to remain "backstage" with walls and doors and rear windows for ventilating away from the living areas. But I'm old-fashioned. Apparently very old-fashioned.

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  57. Coltrane, people in San Francisco seem to be real happy about Starbucks's closing stores (OK, maybe 3 Starbucks on the same block is a bit much so I guess I see their point) but still... Starbucks is not that bad of a company, actually, and to see any business downsize is never good news, is it? I don't care for the taste of their coffee, but I bought it many times just the same, just add a little bit more milk and sugar that' all. I like the company, in fact they're rated on of the best to work for. They give medical and 401K benefits to the kids that work there. They give them flex time and in some cases allow them to go back to school. They give money to the "right charities," they promote the "right" music, and they have a nice set up. I don't know, I just don't think they're that bad.

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  58. On the front page of today's New York Times is "A Veil Closes France's Door To Citizenship" which is all about YESTERDAY's Moroccan woman on PDP.Hear that, New York Times? Read it if you want more in depth information.

    Thank you, Rose, but I'll be going to work tomorrow and will be gone again for a while. Will you be staying in touch while in Brazil?

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  59. sorry, typos... yeah, I just came back to say this in case anyone is interested

    There is a video of that Microsoft presentation in case anyone is interested.

    VIDEO of the Microsoft presentation I was talking about earlier.

    Fast forward to 1:00h 50second into the presentation to see LOXEETAHN's CIO introduce himself and L'Occitane. Do you like to hear the French accent? Then you're going to like to hear him talk.

    From 1:00:50 to 1:05:27 in the presentation, he just talks about his business and how the Microsoft software has simplified his life (ahem), all that good stuff.

    Then, from 1:05:30 to 1:07:01, they show a little video about L'occitane (keep in mind, this is presentation aimed towards an IT audience, so it's not all that romantic or anything but you do get to see some stuff filmed in France, even a quick shot at the Eiffel Tower ;)

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  60. Mr. PHX set up a blogger page for me with the Lavender man on the Metro as my picture, but I don't know how to sign into PDP to get this picture on.The page is phx-cdg.blogspot.com. HELP!

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  61. PHX - did the Mr. tell you the user name and password for aalife?! If so, click the word LOG IN on the upper right, enter your user name and password. Then click New Post. It's all very simple. The added benefit is that you can leave comments here that will allow us to link to your profile and Blogger blog directly! YAY!

    Only Eric has the power to post anything on Paris Daily Photo, if that's what you meant. ;^)

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  62. I want Mr. Lavender to be the same pix as I see like you, tomate,Coltrane etc.and plan on changing it to me sometime later.

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  63. Ah! Okay, I get it.

    When you go to the comment box here, you have the option to "choose your identity".

    Click on the Google/Blogger dot.

    Then enter the email address and password you use to log in to your aalife blog. Then when you post your comment, that identity, complete with photo, will come to life! Give it a try.

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  64. Thank you USElaine. Here goes, the pix should be the man.

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  65. That shoulder-load of lavender really is amazing to see on a modern train. Thanks!

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  66. Thank you! and your comment was exactly how I felt when I saw him.

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  67. Merci PHX-CDG! That's a bunch of lavender lavender lavender! Maybe soon you'll include a photo of YOURSELF too! ;-)

    Tomate...you doctor your Starbucks too! I call it personalizing taste!:-) Also, thanks for Micro video! Thanks to you, I can now pronounce L'Occitane and do realize it's not a Chinese restaurant in Provence!

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  68. USElaine...for a moment I thought I was looking at Dennis Rodman. Definitely not Eric though! It's the hat...Eric wouldn't go for that hat! However,the "HOT" on the hand...if it's the camera hand...yeah, I can see that!

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  69. PHX
    I won't be having much time for blog reading....:( but I will get a really good tan...so I can't complain really!

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  70. À PHX-CDG: hmmm.... despite the fact that Mme. la Vache is on a trip to China and Japan right now, he won't wander into any other pastures....

    The name's "La Vache," not "Clinton."

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  71. Hey neato, that "cuisine américaine" looks frighteningly like my own kitchen. I can't wait to tell all my friends with their "Tuscan kitchens" that I have a French kitchen.

    And seriously, I thought Sephora was from New Jersey, too! LOL I've no idea why I think everything is from New Jersey.

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  72. i found the loveliest soap here...it's such a fresh, motivating scent!!

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  73. Yes, we have one here in Southlake, Texas, USA. Love the products...if I can't get to France them at least it can come to me :-)

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