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A French Christmas

Could it get any more swoon-worthy than celebrating Christmas in France?

Is there anyone who knows how to do Christmas quite as spectacularly as the French do?

The food is heavenly, the lights twinkle like stardust, while the traditions make the holiday season feel extra special. Their festive season stretches out for weeks rather than a couple of days. 

What’s not to love about that?  

Although celebrating Christmas in France may not be an option this year, you can bring France right to you! From cooking a French-themed Christmas dinner and decorating your home to some gorgeous French gift ideas, there are so many fun activities to enjoy this season.

Here’s how to do the perfect French Christmas and have a très chic Joyeux Noël (FYI: that’s French for Merry Christmas)!

France at Christmas time

Go to town on the Crèche

Nativity scenes are known as the “crèche” in France and are super popular across the country. 

But you won’t just find the usual suspects like baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph popping up. 

Oh no.

France likes to get the whole community involved in the celebrations, and rightly so! You’ll see a butcher, a baker, and a policeman on display too. And traditionally, these are all made of clay.   

In the month of December, certain towns like Marseilles have delightful Christmas markets (more on this to come) where you can purchase authentic, local versions of these nativity figures.

One of the unusual facts about Christmas in France is that, unlike the rest of the world, the crèche remains on display in homes until February 2nd, 40 days after Christmas

French markets 

Christmas market

Christmas markets (marchés de Noel) are a big part of France’s Christmas tradition. The first one can be traced back to 1570, which was Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmarik

Many of them start in the last weekend of December, running through into the New Year. And each one is slightly different from the next.

At these staple French markets, you can buy beautiful decorations, yummy festive treats, and high-quality artisan products from local producers. Each Christmas market is slightly different from the next, with its own unique charm. At every market, you’ll find beautiful decorations, yummy festive treats, and high-quality artisan products from local producers. 

The array of delicious food is perhaps the highlight and a brilliant way to bring France to you this year.

If you’re looking to bring that beautiful Christmas aroma into your home, start by roasting some chestnuts. This is one of the most popular snacks at French markets as you stroll around the different stalls. 

Delicacies like pâté, foie gras, cheese, and charcuterie are all French favorites, and each region boasts its own specialties. 

One dish that can’t be missed when visiting a French Christmas market is a cheesy tartiflette, which originates from Savoie. It’s a mix of real comforting ingredients: potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons, onions, and herbs. 

 

Those with a sweet tooth can whip up a batch of homemade waffles smothered in melted chocolate, just like you’ll find at the Arras Christmas market. Other family favorites include beignets (a mini doughnut), macarons d’Amiens (an almond and honey cake), and gâteau battu (a brioche-like cake shaped like a chef’s hat).

Don’t forget to share a toast with a glass of gently spiced mulled wine, or vin chaud as it’s known in France. 

French market at Christmas time

Some of the standout French Christmas markets to head to are:

  • Colmar
  • Strasbourg
  • Amiens
  • Reims
  • Metz
  • Montbeliard
  • Lille
  • Avignon

Check them out, and make a note of the ones you want to head to next winter!

Le Sapin De Noël

Christmas tree

In France, a Christmas tree is called “un sapin de noël” or “un arbre de noël.” 

Strasbourg is said to be the birthplace of the festive tree. A fir tree is chosen because it doesn’t shed its leaves, a symbol of hope and eternal life. This tree was originally covered in red apples and lights and stood in front of Churches as a symbol of Christ. 

Many homes quickly adopted this tradition and would decorate their trees with apples and biscuits. However, one year there was a shortage of apples. To avert the crisis, glass-blowers created decorative versions of them, and that is how the Christmas bauble was invented!  

To create the perfect French-themed tree, decorate using ribbons, candles, and baubles, and place a star at the very top. 

If you want to go one step further, you can place your shoes under the tree (or by the fireplace) on Christmas eve instead of hanging stockings. It’s tradition for French children to do this in the hopes that Père Noël (Santa) will fill them with gifts. 

Spread the love like Père Noël

Christmas letter writing

Did you know that in France, it is illegal for a letter to Santa to go ignored?

That’s right.

In 1962, France passed a law stating that all letters to Père Noël must be responded to with a postcard. Isn’t that beautiful? All those handwritten letters from children are saved from ending up in bins and storage boxes. 

Christmas is traditionally a time of giving and receiving, so how about giving to those less fortunate than you this year? 

You could volunteer to respond to children’s letters to Santa or donate food and gifts to a local shelter. Bake some French Christmas treats and give them out along with blankets and sleeping bags to homeless people in your local community.

This year has been a tough one for all of us, but Christmas is all about family, love, and compassion. Let’s end the year on a high and spread the Christmas cheer.

Enjoy a beautiful log fire

Christmas socks by the fire

Long ago in France, it’s said that a large log would be carried into the home on the eve of Christmas, sprinkled with red wine to make it smell nice (plenty leftover for you to enjoy), then left burning all night long. 

Yule logs made of Cherry Wood are always a firm favorite across French homes. 

There’s something about an open fire that feels so wintery, cozy, and festive. You might even want to make some mulled wine or hot cocoa, slip into some snuggly clothes and relax as the warmth fills your soul. 

The perfect stocking stuffers

Christmas stocking

Whether you’re filling shoes or stockings, it doesn’t matter! What really counts is what’s inside. 

What better way to celebrate Christmas like the French than by stocking up on some French beauty products? 

Our Long-Lasting Matte Lipstick Duo Pack in classic red is the perfect shade to see any woman right through the holiday season. Think Réveillon, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve, and everything in between. And if red is too bold for you, there are plenty of tamer shades to choose from. 

No French woman can do without some classic French mascara in her beauty bag. Why not pick up the legendary Cabaret Première Classic French Mascara—promising natural volume and definition in one swoosh. 

How to celebrate Réveillon in style

Christmas dinner spread

In the US, Christmas dinner on December 25th tends to be the pinnacle Christmas meal. But the French like to do things a little differently.

The holiday season’s biggest meal is traditionally eaten around midnight on Christmas Eve, known as le Réveillon. Starters often include delicacies like foie gras, oysters, or escargots. The main course is usually roast goose or turkey. And the meal is completed with the bûche de Noël (Yule Log). There’s always plenty of wine on hand too.

Doesn’t Christmas dinner in France sound amazing?

If you’ve never done this before, why not mix things up this year and prepare a feast for Christmas Eve. It’s a perfect way to get into the French Christmas feels.

Sweet treats to indulge in

Holiday pastry

What I love most about the way the French do Christmas is their celebration of all things sweet.

One of the most noteworthy facts about Christmas in France is their tradition (in some regions) of eating a grand total of 13 different desserts! 

Yes. You read that right. 

Here are a few of the standout sweet treats to try


Chocolate Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) Cake

A French pastry chef invented this in the late 1800s. Traditionally, it’s a Genoise sponge layered with buttercream and shaped into a log. It’s then topped with some beautiful decorations like meringue mushrooms or even a fresh cutting of holly. 


Classic French Marrons Glacés (Candied Chestnuts)

These are a popular holiday treat in France and will fill your home with a deliciously sweet aroma. They take a few days to prepare, but they're definitely worth it.


Chocolat Chaud

This is hot chocolate, but it's not just any hot chocolate. This is probably the most decadent hot chocolate you’ll ever drink! Made with melted chocolate, warm milk, topped with whipped cream, and maybe some marshmallows for extra fun—the perfect companion to an open fire. 


Celebrate the Fête des Rois

Fête des Rois

Fête des Rois (known as Epiphany in the US) is celebrated on January 6th. This marks the official end to Christmas in France.

Baking and eating a galette des rois (king cake) is a tradition. This is a delicious flaky pastry filled with frangipane (almond cream). Hidden inside the pastry is a fève (a small baby figurine). Whoever is lucky enough to get the piece with the fève becomes the King or Queen for the day.

This is such a popular tradition that most French bakeries sell the cakes with a paper crown.   

And why not?

We are all Queens in our own way. Let’s celebrate that more this year!

And that is how to do Christmas like the French do. Enjoy weaving a bit of French wonder and magic into your holiday season.  

Wishing you all a beautiful French Christmas, wherever in the world you’re celebrating this year.


Joyeux Noël!

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Dispelling French Beauty Myths
August 05, 2021
Dispelling French Beauty Myths

The world is obsessed with French style, and for a good reason. Paris is one of the world’s fashion capitals, where new wardrobe and makeup trends are introduced every year. It’s no surprise that the French girl has become such a powerful image that women all over the world want to emulate.  However, there are also a lot of misconceptions about French beauty standards that lead to confusion and can make some beauty lovers feel excluded. Today, we’ll bust those myths and share real beauty facts about French style to help you figure out how to make it your own.  French girl beauty is diverse The first image that comes to mind for many when they hear the phrase “French girl” is a pretty blonde actress, like Brigitte Bardot or Catherine Deneuve, with tousled hair and full lips.  While the tousled hair and full lips are often true to French beauty, being blonde or even white is certainly not a prerequisite for having French style. France is an incredibly diverse country, and Paris itself is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. No matter your skin tone, hair color, or cultural background, you can embody the inherently cool, effortless vibe of French beauty.  You don’t have to be skinny  Much like the misconception about skin tone, there’s also the idea that French women are all impossibly waifish, which is another idea that can be incredibly harmful. The truth is that the streets of Paris are teeming with gorgeous women of all shapes and sizes. Online, models like Clémentine Desseaux and influencers like Gaëlle Prudencio are proving that French style has very little to do with size.  It’s not always ultra-feminine   There’s a bit of duality when it comes to French beauty and gender. On the one hand, there’s this idea of an ultra-feminine woman in a flowy floral dress, while on the other hand there’s the image of Jeanne Damas in a blazer and loose-fitting jeans.  French femininity is, in itself, complex, but having some masculine elements in your look is still seen as beautiful.  In a city like Paris, anything goes, as long as it fits you well. You can shop in the menswear section, stick to totally gender-neutral outfits, rock a hyper-femme outfit, or mix everything into your wardrobe, and your style can still fit into French beauty standards.  Red isn’t the only lipstick color    Red lipstick is not a total myth, but we do think its popularity as part of Parisian style has been slightly blown out of proportion. While almost all French women do own red lipstick, it’s not necessarily a daily staple for everyone.  In fact, most days of the week, French women prefer to wear a natural-looking pink lipstick or even just a sheer layer of nude gloss. Red lipstick, on the other hand, is worn to add a touch of drama just once in a while, sometimes during the week and other times for special events.  No one douses themselves in perfume    You might have heard the term “a French bath” in reference to a person soaking themselves in perfume or cologne in lieu of bathing, but that idea seems to come from the English-speaking world. In reality, no one understands perfume as well as the French, which also means that they know how to apply just the right amount.  The cloud method There are two approaches to applying perfume. The first is great if you have a stronger perfume: Spray a cloud of the perfume in front of you, and then walk through it. This will cover you (and especially your hair) in a delicate mist of fragrance that won’t be overpowering.  The strategic method The second method is great for a more gentle perfume or eau de toilette. With this method, you spray the perfume directly on your wrists, and then gently tap them over strategic points, like behind the ears or on your neck’s pulse points. If you’re wearing a skirt, you can add a spritz behind the knees.  This gives a targeted application, so your fragrance will be strongly felt at specific times, like when someone kisses you on the cheek, but the rest of the time it’ll be subtle. If you choose this method, be careful to never rub the perfume, as that will cause it to dissipate more quickly.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money We often associate French style with expensive brands like Chanel and Givenchy, but following French beauty standards doesn’t have to cost much. Sure, many French women have a few basic essentials from luxury brands, whether it be their signature perfume or a pair of Chanel two-tone slingbacks, but they’re just as likely to buy from affordable but trusted brands.  It’s not unusual to see a French woman carry a Saint Laurent handbag along with a thrifted outfit from one of the vintage stores in Montmartre or Le Marais. The same premise applies to beauty products. For instance, most French women buy their skincare specifically from the pharmacy, where the prices are very reasonable. No matter your budget, you can absolutely find high-quality and affordable products that will help you feel beautiful, like the products here at Vivienne Sabó.  There’s room for creativity While French beauty can seem a little uniform with its staples, it’s not meant to be restrictive. In fact, a large part of French beauty is not caring about what others think, and just doing your own thing.  There are some beauty staples, sure, but creativity is still encouraged, especially if you’re aiming for Parisian style. Paris is a big city, so it has its artists and fashion lovers who love to break rules, especially during Fashion Week. If you want to wear unusual lipstick, try something new with your hair, or mix prints in your outfit... it might not be classically French, but it can still be chic.  Make French beauty your own  To truly rock French style, it’s important to know the beauty facts from the myths. While French beauty can seem unattainable, the truth is that it’s very inclusive, so every person who likes the aesthetic can make it their own.

10 Surprisingly Easy Bold Makeup Looks You Can Do At Home
July 20, 2021
10 Surprisingly Easy Bold Makeup Looks You Can Do At Home

You might be pleasantly surprised to know that bold makeup looks can be simple and easy to create. A lot of makeup can take time to perfect and recreate. But these easy and fun makeup looks will be like a breath of fresh air. We’ve searched high and low to bring you the best bold makeup looks that will only add a few extra minutes to your current makeup routine (we’re talking ten minutes max!). Even if you’re spending most of your time at home right now, adding something fun and different to your makeup routine might be just what you need. You get to be creative, try out a new look, and feel pampered. And the best part is if you mess it up, there’s no one to judge you! Just wipe it off and start again.  Plus, there’s no need to stock up on a ton of extra beauty supplies. The charm of these makeup looks is that so many of them can be done working with the products you already have. Dig deep in your drawers and vanity case and pull out everything you have. Chances are you’ll have a bright eyeliner or bold lipstick or eyeshadow palette in there that hasn’t seen the light of day in a while! And now is the time to use it.  Here are ten easy bold makeup looks to try at home today. Red carpet ready Who says you can’t get dressed up to the max and look a million dollars when you’re not going anywhere? Makeup was created for us women to have fun, reinvent ourselves whenever we please, and feel good.  This red carpet look is easy to do, requires just a small amount of makeup and a ton of sass. Find the boldest shade of red lippy, a matching lip liner, and a tube of your favorite sexy mascara.  A red lip combined with fluttery lashes is a classic combo that will never go out of style.  Wanna take this look further? Put on the most glamorous outfit you can find, and strut around your house like you are literally walking the red carpet. Because, why not?!  Smokey eye with a twist We all love a sexy, smokey eye—it has to be one of the best eye makeup looks ever invented. And even if you’ve never tried this look before, it’s simpler to recreate than it first looks.  But today, we’re giving you a smokey eye with a twist and a bucket load of drama. This look focuses on the under-smoke on your lower lash line.  Top tip: use a combination of chocolate brown and black eyeshadow for this look. Using the two together will create a warmer, more luxurious finish. Really layer the shadow under your eyes to create a rich, sultry look.      All-over shimmer To create an all-over shimmery look, you’ll just need a few key products. For a simpler look, opt for a neutral color palette. And if you want something a little more fun, pick one color and apply different shimmery and glossy shades on various features. Use a shimmer-filled highlighter along your cheekbones and below your brows. Choose a gloss to swipe over your eyelids for extra dewiness. Complete the look with a glossy lip.  And voilà! Let the light catch your face and shine like a diamond all day long.  Double metallics The metallic trend is so hot right now. But what’s better than metallic eye shadow? Double metallic eyeshadow, of course! Pick your two colors of choice. You can stick with classic metallics like silver and gold or make this look even more fun by throwing in a jewel-toned metallic color.  Apply one color on your eyelids (right up to about 1-2 cm below your brows) and the other to your lower lash line. Don’t worry about trying to apply it perfectly—this look is more about letting those metallics work their magic.  Finish with a coat of mascara.  Half and half This bold makeup look is a ton of fun and can be created in a couple of minutes.  All you need is two different eyeshadow colors that you love, and an eyeshadow brush.  The brighter the colors, the louder this look will be.  Remember to use an eyeshadow base on your lids first to help your topcoat stay put and have a more vibrant finish.   Pretty pastels This is a gorgeous look, especially for the spring/summer season.  Choose a bright, punch pastel eyeshadow or eye pencil, and apply it to your upper lash line. If you want a simpler, subtler look, keep your line thin. And if you want to make more of a statement, thicken the line up and even extend it up and out past the outer corners of your eyes.  We’re loving this fresh, minty-aqua shade. Don’t forget to finish your eye makeup with a coat of classic mascara to make your eyes pop.    Color clash Clashing colors is not a fashion faux pas. Forget everything you ever learned growing up—the secret to a bold makeup look is often about breaking the rules! Playing with color is an easy and fun way to create a striking look. For a statement color clash, use two different colors for your lips and eyes.  For example, shimmery gold eyeshadow and a satsuma orange lip. A cherry red lip and a purple eye shadow.  The choice is yours. Play with different colors. See what you like and what works best with your skin tone.  French girl daydream This play on the classic French look is so simple to do and looks stunning. It’s all about a winged eyeliner with a twist. The twist being, you exaggerate the upper lash line and only draw half of your lower lash line. Keep the rest of your makeup natural and low-key; tinted moisturizer, some concealer wherever needed, a bit of brow gel, and a hint of blush on your cheeks. And no French beauty look would be complete without some voluminous mascara.       Punchy pink lip A bold red lip is a classic choice for making a statement. But why not mix things up and opt for a pop of pink instead? A bright pink lipstick is fun, feminine, and can be just as dramatic as a red lip. Plus, it’ll pair really well with a natural overall makeup look. That means you can recreate this look in minutes! Don’t forget to line your lips to ensure your lipstick lasts all day long.  Filled-in cat eye We all know and love a classic cat eye, but eyeliner is fiddly, and it can take a long time to learn how to properly put on eyeliner for this look. This is why we love a filled-in cat eye for an easy, bold makeup look that anyone can do at home.  Outline the under and upper eye (including the outer edges). And don't worry, it doesn’t have to be immaculate because it won’t be the main focus here. When you’re done, fill in your full lid with an eyeshadow color of your choice. Match your color to your outfit, clash it on purpose, or keep it simple with a subtler shade. It’s up to you!   Are you ready to try these easy, bold makeup looks at home? If you’re looking to inject some fun and newness into your ordinary makeup routine, these looks are a great place to start. The key to creating a stunning makeup look is learning what colors, textures, and styles work with your skin tone and structure and accentuate your natural features.  There’s no better time than now to experiment and try out some new looks! 

Mascara That Replaces Lash Treatments
June 30, 2021
Mascara That Replaces Lash Treatments

What’s the first thing you notice about someone you meet for the first time?  It’s usually their eyes, right? Our eyes are the window to our soul. So it makes sense that we want our eyes to look beautiful and full of life and energy. And there’s no better way to give your eyes a pick-me-up than a swipe of your favorite mascara. It’s quick, simple, and fuss-free. Just one coat can frame your eyes and totally transform your face. It’s no wonder so many women swear by a simple coat of mascara before leaving the house. But with thousands of different mascaras to choose from, along with copious new lash treatments, how do you know which one to choose? Each of them promises to give us the curl, volume, length, and definition we’re after. But chances are, if you’re here, you’re still looking for that one amazing mascara or treatment that delivers everything it promises.    Why we prefer mascara over lash treatments Can mascara actually replace lash treatments? There’s no arguing that lash treatments are innovative, but are they really worth the time, money, and effort involved? Eyelash extensions, lifts, and tints might initially appear to be a better option than mascara, but it’s important to fully know what you’re signing up for.  For example, did you know a lot of the chemicals involved are not FDA-approved?  Just because lots of people get lash treatments, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re safe. It’s always important to do your own research and know what you’re putting near your eyes.  Plus, the actual lash treatment is just the beginning. You’ve then got the wonderful job of maintaining your lashes, which can be incredibly time-consuming.  You have to be sure to use an oil-free eye makeup remover and be extra gentle with your eyes. Chances are you’ll need touch-ups along the way, which can gradually push up the cost.  What about false lashes? Although they’re less invasive, there’s no getting around the fact that you’re putting glue near (and probably in) your eyes! And the process of gluing the strips to your lashes is so fiddly and awkward. Don’t get us started on the fact that they can often be found halfway down your face by the end of the night.  If you ask us, there’s still no better way to accentuate your gorgeous eyes than some trusty mascara.  There’s something so therapeutic about gently gliding the wand over your lashes and being totally present in the moment.  Like they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Meet the Vivienne Sabo Provocation instant volume mascara Have you met our Provocation mascara yet? This is the only mascara you need to replace all lash treatments. Say bonjour to length, thickness, and volume that last all day! This is a big secret to effortlessly chic French beauty. This amazing mascara is lightweight, clump-free, and smudge-proof, giving you naturally full, fluttery lashes that will transport you from day to night.  The best news? It’s incredibly easy to apply. The petite wand is easy to hold and meticulously coats every lash.  Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of sweeping this beautiful wand through your lashes. Dip your wand into the dispenser, and you’ll find it always comes out with the perfect amount of product—no need to wipe off any excess.  Watch as the glossy black pigment defines and elongates your lashes with just one coat. It’s the perfect consistency that allows you to add a couple of coats if desired without getting crunchy, but doesn’t take a lifetime to dry either.  When you’re done, sit back and admire your work and beauty. This is all you. Without a doubt, this is the best mascara for lash lift that has no limits. And at the end of the night, it’s just as easy to remove without damaging your lashes.  Plus, Vivienne Sabo mascara is 100% cruelty-free—our products are never tested on animals.  Try our Provocation mascara today and experience the magic of mascara again. Make life even simpler, and subscribe to get a new tube of this gold dust delivered every few months right to your door at a discounted price.  Our top tips for getting the absolute most out of your mascara There are a few insider secrets that will really help you add the next level of drama to your lashes. First, an eyelash curler is your best friend. Just a few seconds on each lash line can really lengthen and open up your eyes before you go near your mascara. Secondly, consider using a lash-plumping primer to coat your lashes before applying your favorite mascara. This helps to condition, strengthen and increase the length of the lashes. By the time you layer on your mascara, your lash game will skyrocket. Third, avoid pumping your wand. There’s no need to do this, and it’s probably one of the biggest mascara myths out there.   And finally, try and add more product to the root of your lashes, and less as you work your way out to the tips. This will add to that voluminous, feathery, full-lash look that looks incredible on every woman.  Ditch those lash treatments today and make way for more mascara! Maybe you haven’t been able to get your favorite lash treatment recently, or you can’t stand the idea of getting a lash treatment, but you’re searching for the same results!  Either way, Vivienne Sabo mascara is the best mascara for the lash lift, length, and volume you’re craving.  We’re just not ready to ditch our trusty mascara for complicated treatments that sap the fun out of makeup. If you’re not either, treat yourself to a tube of Vivienne Sabo Provocation mascara today, and enjoy the magic of mascara.