A Hair Salon Visit Is the Best Paris Souvenir

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A Hair Salon Visit Is the Best Paris Souvenir
There are lots of souvenirs to bring home from Paris ranging from postcards to Tour Eiffels on a keychain, but the best souvenirs are the personal experiences. These range from laughing with a nice waiter at a restaurant to a sunrise morning walk along the Seine to getting your hair cut and colored using classic French techniques and style at a Paris hair salon. Getting a haircut (se faire coiffer) and/or hair colored (se faire une couleur de cheveux) in Paris? Oui, it can be a fun and special experience and the results will probably make you want to only have your hair done in France. In famous films, Audrey Hepburn twice went to Paris and changed her hairstyle. The first was in Roman Holiday and the second was in Sabrina. Both salon visits changed the character’s self-confidence and style. In 1954’s Sabrina, Hepburn starts the movie with a long ponytail which was a common style of the time. In Paris, she is told by Baron St. Fontanel, “To begin with, you must stop looking like a horse.” A salon stylist cuts her hair into a pixyish, chic bob and Hepburn returns to New York where she attracts two wealthy brothers with much intrigue and plot twists. The youngest brother doesn’t even recognize Hepburn at first, but is taken by the pretty, elegant woman with a great haircut. Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. © Paramount Pictures/ Wikimedia Commons While Hepburn’s experience was just about the haircut, the color techniques used in French salons result in an elegant color style. A French favorite is le balayage which is basically painting color throughout sections of the hair. The result is a blended look that is more natural than the common U.S. highlights technique of dying wide hair sections wrapped in foil. Although it’s getting more popular in the U.S., stylists with good balayage skills are difficult to find. French stylists typically have learned balayage techniques in depth.
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Intrigued by France since her first stroll along the Seine, Martha and her husband often travel to Paris to explore the city and beyond. She lives part-time on the Île de la Cité and part-time in the San Francisco Bay Area, delighting in its strong Francophone and French culture community. She was a high-tech public relations executive and currently runs a non-profit continuing education organization. She also works as the San Francisco ambassador for France Today magazine.