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Postcards from Paris


Contact Loulou de la Paumardiere

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Contact Loulou de la Paumardiere

"Facile," said Nicolas gallantly. "Le nain de madame du Barry adora son corbeau." ["Easy. Madame du Barry's dwarf loved his crow."]

And Prince Charles chimed in and said that he adored the painting of Madame du Barry hanging in the Louvre that commemorates how she worked her way up with help from the pimp Jean du Barry to become the mistress of Louis XV, and praised the Louvre as a magnificent display case for colourful illustrations of the hags-to-bitches makeovers that are, to him, the essence of France. And Carla said she hopes that both she and Nicolas will one day be hung in the Louvre, and Charles said "Madam, if only you knew how many people would love to see both of you hung."

Before being seated, we stood chatting amiably and I could not help but admire once again the famous British eccentricity as an elderly twenty-five-year-old woman standing near me drew no attention whatsoever from the English guests even though she was wearing only false eyelashes, a tiara and a stole made from a live three-toed sloth. She spoke very movingly of the recent passing of "Daddy," no doubt another Royal, who "had died here in this very house. His gout-ridden foot had gangrened so badly that the doctor said it would have to be amputated but Daddy was a body snob from way back and refused and we watched him liquefy and the Princess Royal observed how a cannibal, turned dainty, 'could have eaten him with a spoon,' but finally the smell got so bad that we all agreed that he wouldn't want to continue reeking that way so we buried Daddy in the garden even though he was not, strictly speaking, dead, but Daddy had always felt the Americans had the right idea about health care and this way he was getting to experience it almost first-hand and being English, all that he asked was to be buried with a live schoolgirl, and so Prince Harry knocked one off her bike with a brick and then we threw her into the grave with Daddy and the noise she made as she hit the liquefied body, sounded, Camilla had said, 'like a vat of celery puree being poured from a third floor window at the Ritz onto Picadilly,' while Charles claimed that it made 'exactly the same sound an arrow shot from a crossbow makes when penetrating nasal cartilage at close range, not that I've ever witnessed such a murder at Highgrove on Boxing Day in 1998,' and we covered them up and what is amazing is how you can put someone four or five feet under the ground and it takes care totally of the smell but you can still hear them whining and complaining for several hours, and then I guess they just run out of air, poor Daddy, he has gone to a better place." And I almost shouted you're tellin' me, sister, but instead chomped into one of the hors d'oeuvres that looked like little human phrenicolienal ligaments, and were.

Even for a Frenchwoman used to Chambord and Versailles and I daresay La Paumardiere, the table at Windsor, the largest in England, is impressive, with the royal silver gorgeously laid out on the immense white linen table cloth and every single can of beer on the table perfectly chilled by its rubber sleeve bearing the Queen's coat of arms. The food is so beautifully presented that it looks almost edible, and we had the grandest time trying to guess what the voluminous pale pink meat that looked, from the front, like a naked, headless Dolly Parton from behind, actually was, and we weren't totally surprised, as the British are all exotica-loving "foodies" nowadays, to be informed that it was a platter of neotenic mole salamanders in tar salsa, which was followed by shar pei en croûte. As I said to Her Majesty, "We in France have always envied British cooking, almost as much as we have envied British teeth."

As we entered the great room, Nicolas whispered playfully to Carla and me, "Ladies, go dazzle," and Carla said "You, too, mon petit Nicolas," and told me how lucky she had been to be able to get Nicolas' gold lamé crocodile Gucci for Tweens! loafers out of layaway just in time for the trip. Still, at one point, I overheard Carla telling Her Majesty that she was not only a singer but an astronaut, and I whispered "Carla, that's not true." And she whispered back, "I know, but I hate what I'm wearing."

To my right sat the Prince of Wales, and to his right Ms. Amy Winehouse, whose beaming face had "welcome to England" and "group A streptococcus," written all over it and she was understandably bubbling as she had recently swept the Grammys with what one newspaper hailed as "her peppy dismissal of drug counseling." I told Amy that while my children love her music, they are in no danger of being influenced by her dangerous message, as I have taught them from an early age that hard-core drugs are only good for people who are into soft-core sex. In France, I told her, where people tend to like their Jews assimilated, self-loathing and medium well, we love Amy for her beautiful voice and performer's skills, but above all as a constant reminder, along with rabbinical faith healer Bernard-Henri Levy, that Jewish people can be dismally stupid, too. Unfortunately, Amy's boyfriend, Blake, couldn't attend the dinner because he was in jail, where Amy told me he passed the time placing bets on www.whenwillamywinehousedie.com, but I told Amy, whose first two questions on a date are "You're not a cop, are you?" and "Does this smell infected to you?", that she is lucky to have a boyfriend at all.

I had Prince William, who is a darling, sitting to my left, and to his left Aryan Nation spokeswoman Ms. Tilda Swinton, who looks the way British cuisine tastes, sat frowning throughout dinner, but everyone was still all a-flutter about the incredible courage she had displayed when she grudgingly accepted her Oscar with the words "Only my agent could convince me to come to America, with its Negroes, Mexicans and poor white trash," but then said that "the only thing good about America is hip hop music," although with its infectious rhythms and clever lyrics calling for the extermination of uneducated black women serving to unite its rich, black authors and rich, white consumers, what's not to like?

It is helpful, when thrown together at state dinners, for long-standing enemies like the English and the French to find some shared hatred, and so we all talked about the Americans, and I was so glad to be able to tell Tilda that Carla and I had been sent to Hollywood by Nicolas as part of the French delegation to the Oscars, where we saw a Frenchwoman win for a biopic in which she embodies our national treasure Edith Piaf, who had the beauty of an aye-aye and the voice of an eagle.

And you won't believe it but we were at a post-Oscar Mexican-themed poolside party at the Beverly Wilshire, where we were staying, when who should come up to me but Patrick, Carla's horrid American boyfriend from downstairs at 60, rue de Varenne! To say that I was startled to see him would be like saying I was startled to look in the mirror and find my head inside a bar-coded block of Swarovski crystal in the lobby of Caesar's Palace. Anyway, he speaks several languages, but apparently all at the same time and all with a ghastly Texas accent, and he put a plate of Mexican food in my hands and says "Hereyago, priddy ma'am, I wintngotchacuplatacos, Anna Breedo," and then disappeared into the darkness with Carla and I wondered what he'd said as I looked around in vain for any sign of Ms. Breedo.

Everyone wanted to know which of the new pawns of powerful criminal networks we thought the Americans would finally elect to answer the phone at 3 a.m.: the pair of equal opportunity Ivy League quota lawyers; the pair of hillbilly Ivy League lawyers; or, just when years of education and outreach had finally started to chip away at the stereotype of the evil albino, John McCain, and all of us, Brits and French alike, agreed that being European we believe in change you can spend, but the royal family all know how to steer the conversation away from such taboo table talk as politics and Princess Ann said "I see that Michelle Obama is on a best-dressed list."

And I said darling, I suppose that for the wife of a man who says Massatoosetts and whose chief fashion rival, Attila the Hen, wears outfits that would be fit, in Paris, only for rat catching-are they really called Pan Suits?-anything other than overalls would get her on someone's list. At least Hillary has the ability to shapeshift according to her audience, and I found her black person's voice (http://youtube.com/watch?v=6FlpbRFXC9E) was simply squirming with negritude, but she really outdid herself before a predominantly blue collar Wasp audience in Mississippi, where she began a speech with "There's nothin I like better than whoppin some squirrels over the head with my Bill Dukey and pressin me up a mess of furless paninnies on my George Foreman," and I do wonder how many more final gs Hillary will be droppin in her campaignin, a habit I find almost as revolting as Meryl and Gwyneth doing their ghastly "accents" and if I had only one hour left to live I'd summon all three of them to my bedside and dig my fingernails into their cheeks until the good Lord whispered "Loulou, it is time."

The British react to the topic of sex in one of two ways: tittering or murder, and we were a bit surprised to see that they were all still sort of tittering over that governor of New York with the call girl kerfuffle, and I was happy to have had a little anecdote about that, too, because on Monday, March 24, Cecilia, Nicolas' ex, remarried in New York, and as Nicolas had asked me to attend I stopped over on the way back to Paris. Well, who was going up in the elevator to Cecilia's new home but ex-governor Spitzer's wife! The poor thing was still wearing her ashamed and confused, whore-in-the-kitchen, cordon-bleu-in-bed look, and she had attempted to tie her Hermes scarf à la parisienne with offensive results, and I said, "Why not just use a goddamn stapler?" and she sort of teared up and I thought naughty Loulou you shouldn't have said that as she's been through so much, so you just make the poor little darling smile, and so I said "Knock knock" and she said "Who's (sniffle) there?" and I said "Silda," and this little half smile took hold of her haggard face and she said "Silda who?" and I said, "Silda envelope 'n give it to da ho," and I think she had been holding it in for several days because she fell down on all fours and just sobbed with her face against the carpet and it must have felt good and Camilla commented that it must certainly have made me feel good, too, to know that I had somehow facilitated such a release and I said yes, it had.

I turned to Prince William and told him that I remembered how upset I had been on the morning I heard about his mother's death because I had been planning to get out of Paris through the tunnel at the Pont de l'Alma and her mangled car was still blocking it and I'd had to cut back over to the Left Bank and William gagged and I changed the subject, sort of, and said what nonsense I found all that Al Fayed conspiracy to be.

And William goes "Quite. I mean it's not as if France had a history of organizing murders and covering them up."

And Carla blurted out, "Oh, yes it does! Omigod, when contaminated human growth hormone made from rotting pituitary glands kept at the Pasteur Institute in unrefrigerated jam jars killed dozens of innocent French teenagers several years ago, we had the victim's parents, i.e., the plaintiffs, diagnosed by state contract psychiatrists as insane, ditto for the mad cow victims."

As if on cue, the main course arrived and it was identifiably beef and the Queen noticed without seeming to notice that many of my fellow French guests hesitated and she said "I've been eating British beef for eighty years," and that was enough to convince everyone to dig in as Her Majesty continued "and there's absolutely nothing wrong with moo."

"And when," Carla continued, "this like foreign human rights guy claimed that anyone with €20,000 can buy a recently orphanized child in Paris and that this little sideline has made France richer than God, who Nicolas says made most of His money the same way, Nicolas had his lawyer Micheline Cahen call him 'someone with no morals whatsoever' and 'the most dangerous man in France' and had judges remove his children and hand them over to pediatrician Olivier Murry who had had his own children removed from his abusive care by an unsealed ruling handed down by the Paris Court of Appeal's 24th chamber, section C on March 30, 1995; forge his signature on a forced confession and strip him of the right to gather evidence or to press charges so now the big baby wants his human rights back and Nicolas says they'll probably just go ahead and kill him and that not a month goes by that he doesn't have to murder some scumbag whistle-blower, usually to protect high-profile child abusers, especially magistrates-just Google Christian Jambert, Karim Christian Kamal, Nicolas Giudicci, Katoucha Niane-but Nicolas says that's how we keep France pretty."

"Carla?" Nicolas whispered loudly.

I tried to come to the rescue and jumped in and said that for Easter we'd made a quick but wonderful two-day trip to the Holy Land, where we stayed overnight with the French ambassador at his beautiful residence in Jerusalem, and he gave us the most wonderful tour of the city and showed us the thousand-year-old official city motto still visible on a crumbling pre-medieval wall and which translates as: "Come for the humus, stay for the humuside!" and we had a lovely time learning all about the history of the place, but Carla ploughed on.

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© 2008 Louise de la Paumardiere

 

 

 

 

About LOUISE DE LA PAUMARDIERE It would be difficult to imagine anyone more purely French or a better embodiment of France and French values than polyglamorous Louise de la Paumardiere. Loulou's paternal great grandfather Andre Le Troquer, unfairly removed from office as President of the French Senate in 1958 for having run a pedophile network, and her maternal grandfather General Paul Ausseresses, unfairly stripped of his rank and thrown out of the Legion d'Honneur because of his role as a torturer in the Franco-Algerian war, are but two of her many famous ancestors. Author of From Foreign to French: 100 Makeovers in Stories and Pictures (New York and London: PLB Books, 2006), multi-talented and multilingual Loulou de la Paumardiere first came to public attention when several of the high-profile Paris-based foreign women on whom she performed makeovers committed suicide. Her family operates the majority of the uniquely French institutions known as Centres d'aide par le travail, or CATS, factories in which handicapped French citizens are employed at less than minimum wage because, as Loulou puts it with her typical Cartesian clarity, "they are handicapped." Her ancestral home, Château de la Paumardiere in Boilly-sur-Gui, an hour from Paris in Normandy, has hosted every head of state since Louis XIV and was a favorite haunt of Lully the Sodomite. She continues that great tradition of French hospitality on weekends in Boilly and during the week at her luxurious mansion at 60, rue de Varenne in Paris.