Lili Barbery-Coulon, a close beauty-editor pal (seriously—she hooked us up with an awesome rental apartment downstairs from her own during Paris Fashion Week), gives ITG the scoop on her particular foot fetish:
OK, so we Parisian girls might be the laziest on earth when it comes to our hair. We go for a cut every three months at our best. Forget about the weekly blow-out—this doesn’t exist under age 50 here. And we’re stingy when it comes to spending a few hundreds Euros on color (which is why we think a few white hairs look cool) and most of the time, we don’t tip because we never know how much we’re supposed to give. But DON’T YOU mess with our energy gurus. Tell a French girl you’re just out from a foot therapy session and she’ll suddenly find you as interesting as an Isabel Marant press sale. You might get even more attention if you start talking about your “opened-up chakras' and the “feeling of metamorphosis' you’ve just experienced. We are mad about everything that we don’t understand and which promises to make us feel better. The more mysterious, the more magic, the better.
For a long time, Gwenn Libouban was the name most often whispered about in French beauty circles. But unfortunately, this amazing reflexologist (who can read your mind by just laying her hands on your feet) moved back to Brittany, by the ocean. She comes back to Paris every two months for a day or two, and the minute she texts you to announce her visit you feel relieved. As if everything was about to get back to normal. A one-hour treatment is enough to soothe your aura and re-inject some energy inside every molecule of your body. You don’t walk outside her treatment room—you float outside. And when you don’t have the time to spend a whole weekend on the coast with Gwenn for a quick aura fix, Jennifer Lafontan is another—indispensable—option (forgive my 'Brad Pitt' way of speaking) for foot therapy. Her office is in the 9th district, near Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge. First, she asks you if you feel any pain in your body. She also questions your state of mind and your level of emotions. Then, your lie down for one hour and let her play her game. She re-programs your feet as if she were reseting an iPhone. Jennifer never hurts; she doesn’t need to. Her gentle gestures, and the lotions and salves she uses , are enough to soothe that stabbing pain you had behind your neck when you arrived. Once she massages your feet, you can hear your stomach. “That’s normal,” she says, “I’m currently working on your liver. Have you been eating healthy lately,” Oops… No judgemental attitude, though. I think this is why she's already managed to magnetize a super demanding clientele—all of us women working in fashion and beauty. See, the secret behind Parisian girls' style is not their ' négligé,' hair, or makeup—it’s their obsession with getting uplifting therapy.
Lili Barbery-Coulon is a freelance journalist based in Paris and the founder of the blog Lili Barbery.