Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tropezien tarts

The famous 'tarte tropezienne'.
Some call them 16/61's , a friend of mine dubbed them 'Don't Look Now's' after the Nick Roeg movie in which a child's figure in red suddenly turned round and was in fact a wizened dwarf. I call them Tropezien tarts, in part a nod to the famous cake created in St. Tropez but also a tribute to the world centre for women who, from the back look young and from the front look, well, their age.
Femmes d'une certain age in France don't just settle, British style, into elasticated waist bands and comfy shoes. They write books like 'French women don't get fat', live on a mix of caffeine, slimming suppositories and steak tartare. They obsessively 'maintien leur ligne'.
The women of St Tropez all look like Brigitte Bardot. Now.
When you get pregnant in France, the doctor spends his whole time exhorting you not to put on weight, you must 'fait attention'. You are allowed to put on a kilo a month only. Most British women put on three stone, more than double.
French women may not get fat, but they aren't much of a laugh. There ain't no sistahood in French culture, despite boasting such luminary feminists and forward thinking women as Simone de Beauvoir, Colette and Chanel.
If your man is unfaithful to you in France, everyone will shrug 'et alors'. You will get scant sympathy.
I do admire the fierce determination not to age gracefully however. My favourites are the one's that dye their hair bright red, in the style of Edith Piaf or 70s nightclub owner Regine, as if to say "I'm not grey!"
Below: not before and after, but back and front.... Click on the photos to see close-ups
My 15 year old daughter has a dress like this...
Shoes from the lady above. Hmmm.
After 30 you have to be careful with frou frou skirts and lace.
Pushing that 'yummy mummy' look a little too far...
The top half Parisian chic, the bottom half, St Tropez bohemia!

She looks chic, this one.

You feel naked without a little doggy in St. Tropez.

Lovely sun hats only 15 euros

The world's poshest car park is in St Tropez

Piped music and a floor so clean you could eat off it...

Even the homeless in St. Tropez are tanned and happy! Oh yeah.


  1. Would I be the first to admit that apart from the sailor boys and the homeless that I actually like a bit of mutton.

  2. Great photos!

    According to the midwife, I've already put on over half a stone since becoming pregnant (15 weeks in, now). All on the front, so far. I don't know how they keep the carb cravings at bay especially when it's only way I've found to control Every Waking Moment Sickness.

  3. It's the necks and the hands... you can do a lot with the rest of you, but these two areas will always give the game away.

    Still, you have to admire them for a good old try... I wouldn't mind looking lambikins even if only in parts. :)

  4. the phrase 'mutton comme baa baa' covers this very nicely me thinks.

    On my 1st French exchange visit as a teenager my pen-friend's mother told me that one of the hardest decisions a woman has to make is that of face or arse. It seems that once 30 you must choose whether to preserve your face by keeping a few extra pounds on your arse, or conserve your (skinny)arse by risking the haggard look in the face. And I was only 14 at the time!! And had neither a skinny arse, nor a particularly beautiful face it must be said.

    Me, I chose my face - I figure that's what most people talk to, and those that want to talk to my arse have more to direct their conversation to!

    Great pics by the way and I agree with Josordoni - the turkey neck is always the giveaway.

  5. I definately chose my face!
    Trouble is, all these French women are too thin plus they all smoke.
    Catherine Deneuve had the right idea...a nice size 14, and you keep your face...
    Plus of course a lot of them are on the yachts where it is unavoidable going dark mahogany.

  6. Love this! Some great paparazzo work for the front and back shots too! But not sure what to make it of it all- in one sense admire these women for not retreating into cardie-wearing older person stereotype (though not sure that stereotype even exists anymore) but on the other hand constant calorie counting, etc, etc, seems a bit of joyless existance.

  7. ah, Catherine Deneuve. One hell of a woman. I met her once at a recording studio in west London and she is as gorgeous in the flesh - if not more so. And very approachable. A true star. And very womanly.

  8. In Poland we call them "z przodu liceum z tyłu muzeum" what means something like: from the back secondary school, from the front muzeum ;)

    Enjoy your day, Margot

  9. So you were on holiday while I was striking, but working hard on the lovely photographs while I did my picket line duty!

  10. WOW photo number 28 with the woman in a knitted cap in the background and the gorgeous young girl in the foreground is fantastic! Was it on purpose?

    Loving it!

  11. those ladeeeeeeez sure are working the looks. Some good, mostly suspect! It make a girl think??????

  12. Marmite! My favourite! My absolute favourite. Love the site btw.

  13. They look amazing from behind... and if they discovered sunscreen they'd look good from the front as well!

  14. What's worse than looking at their photos, is being subjected to their return to the streets of Paris, wrinkled knee skins still exposing a ghastly marmite covered tan....


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