mercredi 8 août 2012

Why I don't like the Longchamp Le Pliage handbag

Pourquoi je n'aime pas trop les sacs à main Longchamp le pliage...

Sac Longchamp Le pliage - Noël 2011 - Bonhomme de neige (€235)

Sac Longchamp Le pliage - Noël 2011 -
Manège enchanté (€290)
This is a post that's been in my head for months, no, years... Ever since I moved to France I started to notice that almost every woman between the age of 15-65 seems to have one of these bags! ARGH. Not just in France, but all over Europe and I'm sure in Australia and the USA too.

You know those people that succumb to peer pressure and buy something because all their friends have one or because the media says you have to have one? Well I am the total opposite of this! When everybody has something it makes me want the item LESS, not more. Call me strange but that's just the way it is. Why wouldn't you want something rare, special and unique rather than something that the whole world has?

So, first things first... Longchamp translated literally means 'long field' and 'pliage' actually means 'folding' in French, so 'Le Pliage' means 'the folding' or rather, 'the folding bag' as bag is implied.

Longchamp designed an ingenious way to fold the handbag into a neat little pocket (with only the leather handles sticking out), a design that's been copied over and over again by other bag manufacturers. I even saw a copy in Migros (a supermarket!)

There are a few reasons I don't like this bag:

  1. Everybody has one and I don't want to be like everyone.
  2. It's way overpriced for what it is, especially since they are now made in China and Tunisia where labour is cheaper. Of course it's saving a lot of money for them, but does it save us (the customers) money? Nooooooo.
  3. There are no compartments inside. You need something like a Tintamar (another French invention that's been overcopied) to organise the inside of your bag. But even worse than that, there are no zippered compartments or pockets outside.
  4. The short handles look cuter but are an absolute PITA when you need to be hands free (if you have a child, if you are on a bus, if you are just busy, etc). Meanwhile the long handles are more user-friendly but on the smaller-sized bags just look plain weird.
  5. Sure the handles and the flap is leather but the rest of the bag is just nylon. Why people pay so much for a nylon bag is beyond me.

I do confess, however, that during a moment of weakness, I almost succumbed to this invisible peer pressure (I say invisible because only one of my female friends owns one of these bags)... I was doing some research and wanted to get one of the adorable limited edition Longchamp Le pliage Christmas 2011 editions.... (and now you realise how belated this post is... oops!)

(pics above)

As you can see, they are pretty cute but when I realised:
  1. They cost way over 300 Australian or US dollars and only the handle and flap is leather.
  2. They are pretty tiny (21x21cm with a 14cm wide base), way too small for me.
  3. The handles are way too short and it's impossible to get anything in/out of the bag if both handles are hanging on your arm.
  4. The fabrics and trims are way too delicate and not really suitable for every day use (IMHO) and would get worn and dirty easily, making your new and beautiful bag be not so new and beautiful.

I decided not to get one.

I'll stick to my trusty Lancaster handbag that I got in a nice handbag boutique in Nantes for only around 60€ which has plenty of pockets both inside and out, and after almost 2 years it still looks brand new! AND it has leather handles too (which are much better quality and are not 'hollow'). I often bring an SLR camera in it and it's strong enough for that too. Not a single seam, stud, etc has popped. Plus the fabric is waterproof and much more hardwearing than Longchamp's nylon. I've noticed, too, that they have an updated, similar design n the stores. However, there are some cost cutting aspects in the design (that's another rant for another day how in the world of fashion you keep on getting less and less and paying more and more).

Over Christmas I was on a plane leaving from London. I was travelling by myself as was the girl sitting next to me. I wanted to buy something from the duty free catalogue and so did she. I asked her what she was getting and she told me the Longchamp Pliage. I was a bit confused because she already had one on her, even in the exact same size and style! so I asked her why she was getting a second one (thinking maybe it was for a gift) and she said she wanted it in a different colour! Ha!

Meanwhile, on another flight to/from Asia, I noticed in the duty free catalogue (different airline) that there was also a Longchamp Pliage bag but this was an exclusive "inflight duty free" only design (and only onboard flights going to/from Asia)... oohhhh... the exclusivity. I must admit I was tempted to get it just for bragging rights but again, I did not succumb. Too small. Short handles. Don't want to be a lemming. Pass!

If you insist on getting a Pliage, get it in France, or elsewhere in Europe. Much cheaper than in other countries. And it's not like they are hard to find, sold in practically every department store or handbag store in their myriad of colours.

lundi 6 août 2012

London Olympics 2012 sports French vocabulary

Some sporting vocabulary!

Diving Plongeon
Swimming Natation
Synchronized Swimming Natation synchronisée
Water Polo Water-Polo
Canoe/Kayak (sprint, slalom) Canoë-kayak (course en ligne, slalom)
------ ------
Mountain Biking Cyclisme VTT (Vélo tout terrain)
Road Cycling Cyclisme route
Track Cycling Cyclisme piste
------ ------
Artistic Gymnastics Gymnastique artistique
Rhythmic Gymnastics Gymnastique rhythmique
Trampoline Gymnastics Gymnastique trampoline
------ ------
Beach Volleyball Beach-volley
Indoor Volleyball Volley-ball en salle
------ ------
Equestrian - Dressage Sports équestres - Dressage
Equestrian - Eventing Sports équestres - Concours complet
Equestrian - Jumping Sports équestres - Saut d'obstacles
------ ------
Freestyle Wrestling Lutte libre
Greco-Roman Wrestling Lutte Gréco-romaine
------ ------
Archery Tir à l'arc
Athletics Athlétisime
Badminton Badminton
Basketball Basket-ball
Boxing Boxe
Fencing Escrime
Field Hockey Hockey sur gazon
Football Football
Handball Handball
Judo Judo
Modern pentathlon Pentathlon modern
Rowing Aviron
Sailing Voile
Shooting (air rifle, pistol, skeet, trap) Tir (carabine, pistolet, skeet/tir aux plateaux, trap)
Table Tennis Tennis de table
Taekwondo Taekwondo
Tennis Tennis
Triathlon Triathlon
Weightlifting Halérophilie

So as you can see, many words are the same (some with just a hyphen added) but some are totally different. I learnt a few new words by doing this exercise! :D

dimanche 5 août 2012

Fort Boyard

And so I was introduced to Fort Boyard, apparently THE show to watch over the summer. It's a French series but even popular here in Switzerland, where I live.

I've only watched two episodes so for the purposes of this blogpost, I had to do a bit more research.  Wikipedia tells me that Fort Boyard was first created in 1990 (which makes it seriously old and seriously successful!) and airs year after year. It is always filmed and aired during the summer (for obvious reasons if you know anything about European seasons and weather).

It reminds me of and has elements of tv shows such as: Survivor, Fear Factor, The Mole, Gladiators, and It's a Knockout.

If you're too young you probably won't have heard of It's a Knockout as it's a show I watched during my childhood in the 80s. Surprisingly, a Wikipedia search tells me the show that I watched (Australian version) was based on a British version which first aired in 1966 and that was based on a(nother) French show called Intervilles, created in 1962. Interesting, n'est-ce pas ?

Perhaps I'm seeing a pattern (or rather, a cultural phenomenon) here.... That French people are good at creating and like to watch these wacky tv adventure game shows!

The series is filmed and set on the real Fort Boyard (French link). I created a map (above) to help you get a better idea where it is in France. It is on its own tiny island on the east coast, near the city of La Rochelle. I have been to La Rochelle and Ile de Ré (the larger island to the north of Fort Boyard) and it's just beautiful there.

From what I can tell from the tv series, Fort Boyard  is a beautiful, HUGE old fort (built in 1857), full of nooks and crannies. It is an amazing setting for such a tv show. It seems a bit like the French version of Alcatraz.

The presenter is Olivier Minne

Unlike other game shows (mentioned above) there is only ONE team. Therefore they are not competing against another team and there is none of that nasty backstabbing type stuff that you had with Survivor. The only thing they are racing against is the clock as each challenge has a time limit.

In each team there are 6 people, with 2-4 of each sex.

Apparently, before, they were teams of families or friends but now they all seem to be celebrities who play for a charity of their choice. This is the team I watched last night:

Vincent Mc DOOM, animateur et acteur
Patrick PUYDEBAT, comédien et scénariste
Hélène ROLLES, chanteuse et comédienne
Juliette CHAPPEY, comédienne (Les vacances de Ducobu)
François VIETTE, comédien (Les vacances de Ducobu)
Jade HANDI, organisatrice de voyages aventures et aventurière de Koh-Lanta

(more info on the team here)

I thought they did really well compared to the previous team/episode I watched.

Then you have the characters who help or hinder them:

Le Père Fouras (whom I affectionately like to call "the old dude"). His name is based on a coastal port in the region. He's been played by Yann le Gac since 2003.

Passe-Partout. The English translation of passe-partout is passkey, a skeleton key, or a master key, but the literal translation is "goes everywhere". Thus, he is someone who can go anywhere. He is played by André Bouchet (right in photo).

Passe-Muraille. Someone who can go through walls. Played by Anthony Laborde (left in photo).

(they are both featured in the team photo above, wearing blue and white striped French-style shirts).

Much like any tv series, as time goes on, new characters are created and old characters disappear. Admittedly, I've never watched an entire series and I don't pay attention to every little thing (and to be honest I don't understand everything!) so those are the three main characters IMHO.

If you would like to find out more about the characters since 1990 (and can read French) please check out this awesome Fans de Fort Boyard site here, created by some fans of the show.

You can also go to the Wikipedia link to read about the 3 phases and the challenges as I could not begin to describe everything myself given how little I know about the show. Suffice to say, I do find the show very interesting (and I am someone who never watches tv these days).

You have your:
• dare/phobia type tasks which usually involve: heights, depths (water), insects and reptiles, and darkness.
• physical endurance/strength/skill/balance type tasks
• and those mentally challenging tasks, brain teasers, etc.

In that aspect, the show ALSO reminds me of The Amazing Race.

I really like that even though these people are celebrities, they are not arrogant or annoying and attention-seeking like you get on many of the above-mentioned tv game shows. They really come together and cheer each other on and it's great to see the team spirit. I was particularly impressed by the two kids (Juliette and François) last night who had to do balancing act where they were each standing on a tightrope many metres above the ground and had to face each other and walk across it in a synchronized fashion. There were were also funny moments where Vincent (who I assume is a guy, but who dressed in the girls' uniform and acted like a girl) was screaming when the giant bugs fell on him (her) during one of the tasks.. Gosh it was so funny.

Another thing I like about the show is that the whole thing is over by the end of each episode. None of this waiting weeks or months to find out who the winner is at the end. Also, I watched it on the France 2 channel and there were no ads at all - bonus!

All I can say is, if you get the opportunity to watch this, do it! It's good wholesome family fun, perfect for any age and any kind of tv viewer (even those who never watch tv, like me)! :)

Here is a teaser of last night's episode:


Related Posts with Thumbnails