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A Paris Face Lift: Aging Gracefully

Every night this past weekend was yet another birthday celebration. Getting older is not what any of us really want, but as my father-in-law used to say at every birthday: “It’s better than the alternative.”

I couldn’t agree more, and in fact, getting older shouldn’t be a negative aspect of our lives, but a positive one. Living longer on the planet “should” make us more experienced, more intelligent, saner, more relaxed, etc., etc.

But does it? If you really want to look at the negative aspects of aging, we can legitimately complain that our health, good looks and our ability to be as active wanes as we get older. Many people seek some sort of “fountain of youth” and indulge in plastic surgery or other artificial means, to make them look younger and therefore feel younger. I have vowed never to indulge in such alterations, because I don’t believe that it really works. What gets lost in translation is all that natural expression in our faces that displays an inner beauty of experience and wisdom that comes with…age.

60 candles

60 candles 59

Happy 29



Life Lines by Erica Simone Lines by Erica Simone

Biafine stock in Corsica

Hello Beauty Before After Biafine®

What is so wrong with that? Would you really want to be young and naive again? I doubt it. Ever hear the expression “youth is wasted on the young?” But we all do want to look and feel younger. Don’t we?

In my head, I’m only 25 year old. Maybe that’s because it was the age when I fell in love, married and started a family. That seems to be the line of demarkation for my personal maturity level. Have you thought about it? When was yours?

Out of the three who celebrated their birthdays this past weekend, one happily admitted to turning 60 — and there were 60 candles on the big cake to prove it. (It took several good-winded blows to extinguish them all!) Another wouldn’t admit to her age at all and put “29” in big numbers on her cake (that we jokingly turned around to spell out 92) and the third one turned 100 very proudly, as he should (John G. Morris, who I wrote about last week. All were Americans living in Paris.

Paris the city, ages gracefully, and is prouder all the time of “her” maturity, although I must admit, “she” is constantly going through a “face lift”…however with restrictions. (I use the feminine pronoun because it’s impossible to think of Paris as masculine or even neuter gender!) Making any change to the exterior of a building requires the permission of the city architects and officials, as well as the building management. No “plastic surgeon” can come along and simply add a new feature without scrutiny and that keeps the effects of the “face lift” in check so that the basic character never wavers.

This is one of the things we love most about Paris — her age. Isn’t it? Without the centuries of life that took place in Paris evident at every turn, we would not feel her profundity.

That being said, the constant changes of certain districts in the city are so rampant that we barely have time to adjust to the new look. Rue Vieille du Temple is one of those streets. Chanel just opened its new double and temporary boutique in the Hôtel Particulier Amelot de Bisseuil (a.k.a. Hôtel des Ambassadeurs de Hollande) at number 47, open only until May 2017. I wonder what it took for Chanel to score the space — perhaps the cost of the renovation along with an act of God!?

Rue Vieille du Temple, a.k.a. in the past, rue de la Culture-du-Temple, rue de la Couture-du-Temple, rue de la Clôture-du-Temple, rue de l’Égout-du-Temple, rue de la Porte-Barbette, rue de la Poterne-Barbette, rue Barbette, rue Vieille-Barbette and rue du Vieille Temple (!!), has a history beginning in the 13th-century as the road leading to the Temple. Down the street at number 61 was a small door in the Philippe Auguste wall.

In 1407, the Duke d’Orléans, leaving from the Hôtel Barbette just steps away on what is now rue Barbette, was murdered just in front of the Hôtel Amelot de Bisseuil marking the beginning of the civil war between Armagnacs and Burgundians. More than six centuries later, the street is a haven for designer boutiques the likes of Lagerfeld and Chanel. It will never be the same.

As a photographer, my daughter has always been fascinated by the experience evident in the lines in a person’s face. She created a body of work titled “Life Lines” in which she discovered the inner beauty manifested on the faces of older people from all over the world.

Personally I’d prefer to have a few less lines — just like Paris would like to have a few less cracks! Because I think I’m still 25, I still want to look 25. On my own, I discovered the miracle of Biafine® — no plastic surgery necessary. Every French person has a tube in their medicine cabinet at the low cost of less than 5€. (You must request it at the counter in the pharmacy, but it requires no prescription.) It’s a “cutaneous emulsion” for the treatment of first and second degree burns and other skin wounds.

One summer in Corsica I fell asleep on a raft on the calm waters for two hours, burning and poisoning my face, but mostly turning my lips into the size of car tire inner tubes. The first step to repair the damage was a trip to the local pharmacy where a huge stack of cartons of the magical cream was blocking access to other products, awaiting the hordes who needed it…including me. I was forever thankful.

When I tell you that Biafine is also a miracle potion for age lines and spots, believe me. Within only a couple of days of daily use, you will see all those little lines in your face virtually disappear. “Hello to Beauty” writes about it, as do many other proponents of the product, so I am not alone in this discovery. Of course, it’s great for burns, too!

Biafine® was created by a French chemist named Wenmaekers in 1971 to care for his stepdaughter, a model, who had burned herself ironing on the eve of a major fashion show. So impressed with the calming effect of the emulsion, the young woman decided to submit the formula to doctors at a Marseille hospital, where its beneficial effects could be tested for relieving post-radiotherapy burns. The product was officially released in 1976 and in 2004, it was purchased by Johnson & Johnson. Today, there is an entire line of products under the name of CicaBiafine® for the skin that I will swear by.

Purchasing it in the U.S. will cost you a small fortune: $45 a tube! So, either purchase it here in France or be sure to ask a friend coming from France to bring one or more to you.

With or without a face lift, you are really going to thank me for this tip!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - Paris, France

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

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Erica Simone's Nue York

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