Monday, October 03, 2011

Les brosses anglaises

I saw these stacked in a hair care store on the rue du Bac. Are English hair brushes sought after? Chic? Well made? I have no idea. But the display certainly caught my eye.

Pay no attention to the lice treatment solution on the left.

Store window displays in Paris are often very artsy (this one being the exception), even in the smallest boutiques. More than a sign, the display will entice you to enter the shop. In the old days, people did not go into most shops to browse. The spaces are often too small. One only entered a shop with the intent to buy. Most of the time, nearly everything a shop sold was displayed in the window, along with prices.

These days that is mostly all changed. Global tourism and shopping-as-recreation have had an impact on many stores and boutiques in Paris. Nowadays you will often see the sign "entrée libre" (enter freely) on shops inviting customers to walk in and browse. No purchase necessary.

Of course, it is still expected that you greet the staff and other customers with a "bonjour" as you enter and a "merci, au revior" as you exit. It's only polite.


  1. You hear how the French are arrogant but its really us who don't show respect when entering their premises. Here in Australia it's unusual to pay pleasant chit chat when buying a sandwich although I've found I've changed a little after our French experiences.

  2. It is such a nice little courtesy, and so easy to do.... a little greeting, a little goodbye, and no one gets hurt ;)))

  3. Once I got a really frosty reception at customer service in a Leclerc when I started with my question, rather than "Bonjour, madame." I plead stress--I had lost something important in the store. Even after I caught my error and started again, Madame did not care to help me. Luckily a younger woman at the same desk told me there was a lost and found area.

  4. Mason Pearson hairbrushes are just the thing for dogs and cats.... they love being scrubbed with them! But always finish the right way!!
    They have a double structure that removes loose hair easily and massages the scalp [or in our pets' case the skin]. One of Pauline's cats with a hair loss problem due to dust mite recovered her old glossy coat when the vet didn't expect any to grow back.
    The cat also used to use the brush herself if it was left lying on the bed... she'd cuddle it and give her head and neck a really good work out.
    Grest old fashioned packaging... well recognised and probably not likely to change.

  5. Tim, Thanks for info about cat and this hair brush. I think I'll see if our cat would like brushing herself with a similarly made, but inferior brush.

    Walt, thanks for giving us daily posts while you are so busy;)

  6. They are a very expensive cushioned brush for humans! I was given one as a christening present over 50 years ago.

    However most of us are animal lovers, and why shouldn't they be groomed with the best.........

  7. The entry greeting and the exit salutation become automatic after a few days in France.

  8. My American impulse to get to the point and not "waste" the other person's time still occasionally trumps my good French manners. The shock in the other person's face usually wakes me up. It's embarrassing.

    French window displays are one of my favorite things about France.

  9. I'll never forget how ashamed I felt when I saw the first American person I was receiving not say "bonjour", "merci", "au revoir" in the pharmacy of my village...

    I think I didn't dare to tell her about my surprise...

    And yet, she was a sweet person...

  10. The salutation was one of the first things I remember learning before my first trip to shop in France! (I actually went for other reasons, but shopping always has a place!) But, then, I always greet shopkeepers here and elsewhere as well.
    I even say good-bye.
    Yes, I do get a lot of funny looks sometimes....

    Mary in Oregon

  11. I feel that it is always good form to keep the French happy & feeling important.

  12. I do like the festive font style on the hairbrush packages. We don't have anything like that on our packages in our wide aisle WarMart emporiums. No idle chit chat either. Barbarians that we are.

  13. Is global tourism causing the French language to become more complex with foreign words and phrases?


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