Tuesday, June 07, 2011

La Seduction

Financier Gateau chocolat by Carol Gillott Gateau Chocolat, watercolor, 9" x 11"
Financier gateau chocolat
La Seduction by Elaine Sciolino
An American friend, who worked at Restaurant Guy Savoy for 3 years, made an observation I've never forgotten - 'Everything in France is layered'. I think of this each time I cut into a piece of French pastry.Elaine Sciolino's new book (out today), La Seduction, cuts through the complexity of French culture, politics, mores and most of all the layers of 'La seduction'. My copy is a mess of yellow markings. You won't be able to put it down either.
You can 'bite' a chunk at Amazon.
Sciolino mentions those petite details of seduction in an interview with lingerie queen Chantal Thomass. As New York Times Paris bureau chief for 5+ years, no one is out of her reach including a gastronomic 3-star chef Guy Savoy - she even gets to have a meal with his mother in the country!
This little blurb in an old Elle magazine sums up the books premise, 'Sexy, mais pas trop' (Sexy, but not too much) Suggestion in seduction is everything.
Wear something you can take off. And take a class on exactly how to take it off seductively!
Perfume is an essential in the game of French seduction - but all the senses come into play.
Obvious makeup is a non, non.
But traitment/skin treatment of the peau? Absolutement oui!
Much is summed up at a dinner soiree given by a French friend, so Sciolino can ask questions (with the essential politesse) of French experts in all arenas of the arts of seduction.
You'll be enthralled.
Sciolino dissects the French seduction the way I cut into a piece of cake to know it and paint it, layer by layer. Her bibliography is a goldmine of essential Frenchness. Many books we've discussed here like: Deluxe, The Perfect Scent, What French Women Know, French Women Don't get Fat, Almost French, The Essence of Style, plus I've added others into the sidebar.
The only oversight was the seductive powers of the French dog.


  1. You should do a watercolor of the sliced gateau and knife on that plate--a still life waiting to happen in paint. Love your top painting, Carol!

  2. Oh Carol, this is wonderful - I love your photos, and of course Elaine Sciolino - I am going to buy her book - and READ it! and also I. de la Fressange's!
    But your last line made me Giggle Out Loud! Thanks for making my day, one more time!

  3. Justine10:26 AM

    It looks delicious and very fulfilling (no calories either like yr chocolate gateaux!)

  4. ooh la la! Thanks for the recommendation - I need a good sultry summer read.

  5. Oh my, oh my, oh my. I think I'm too young to be reading this! I am feeling a slight warmth in my French blood.

  6. What an interesting observation - everything is layered - from the way the city is built on top of history, the way women layer their clothes, to the recipes of the great french chefs (and even the simple recipes when you layer flavours of cheese and wine).
    What an interesting and philosophical post.

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  7. Just downloaded La Seduction and can't wait to read it tonight, curled up with a cup of tea, my cat and perhaps a chocolate indulgence. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  8. Off to download La Seduction to my iPad. Thanks for the suggestion. Your books look like my books...with lots of notes and highlights!

    I keep seeing the book Parisian Chic in this month's magazines. Have you read it? What do you think? I


  9. Love this!!!

    'Everything in France is layered'


  10. Very enjoyable post, Carol. Great theme with great art work to go with it.
    It's sexy, too :)

  11. Hi Carol!
    Yes everything in France is layered... Being where I am your posts help me keep in touch... By now I am going to have to take my truck to Houston for books.....Bisous!Maryanne

  12. those fauchon sugar coated lips sure looked seductive!

  13. I have loved Elaine Sciolino's reporting for many decades, and so look forward to reading this book. I've reserved it at my library, so it should be in my hands within a few weeks. (Of course, in light of a certain recent arrest on a certain plane headed for Paris, this book is going to get even more interest.)


  14. Gateau Chocolat looks fantastic. Your drawing too. :)

  15. Such temptation!
    both the book and the gateaux

  16. Your Gateau Chocolat painting is seduction of the highest form! :-)

    (Would you believe it that I had a piece of exactly this kind of gateau on Saturday?)

  17. Merci - you just created my summer reading list!

  18. I have a friend who said she is always very wary of LUST and SEDUCTION. For her, each can lead to loss of control.
    The way I see it, that's when the fun part begins. Love your painting in this post, as always.

  19. Carol, I am totally in awe of your post. Everything about it - from the gorgeous watercolour at the start, the advert to the doggie (THAT is too funny - we already had a good laugh at that together...)
    I shall never look at layers in the same way again. In Scotland, layers is just what we do with the ever-changing weather. So, now the layers in Paris, well, I'm blushing!
    Thinking of you a lot recently. Guess what? I've injured my back - it's a real bummer! Cheers to you, Carol. Amazing paintings as ever. J xoxo

  20. Anonymous7:44 PM

    Why do you mark your books in yellow highlight? Or at all, I mean. I can't imagine marking my books so I'm really intrigued why you do.

  21. Unless I'm mistaken Joseph,

    Yellow markers were created precisely to underline and mark up books (and class papers too no doubt).

    You can even 'yellow-mark' up your Kindle. I am not alone in this endeavor.

  22. Oh, Carol--I adore this post and have ordered a copy of Elaine's book "La Seduction." I can't wait to read it and find out more French woman secrets. Yes, yes, yes, I too believe in the power of layering. Very important. And then again, the process of removing all those layers is tres sexy. Just the act of slowly removing a scarf can be an opportunity for un petit strip tease! Merci beaucoup for your brilliant words and beautiful photos! xo Jamie

  23. Carol,
    my books are often "marred" by marginalia and underlined text. I use a pencil. Somehow it makes me feel less guilty. ;-)

    Billy Collins even dedicated a poem to Marginalia. Makes me smile every time I read it. Here an excerpt:

    "I remember once looking up from my reading,
    my thumb as a bookmark,
    trying to imagine what the person must look like
    why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
    alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson."

  24. Great post Carol! Just received my copy of the book, can't wait to dive in!


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