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Faux Pas at a Parisian Spa

By Bryan Durocher May 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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 A trip to a Parisian spa can be an incredible experience. Unfortunately, however, that isn’t always the case. The following tips provided by Bryan Durocher as a supplement to the International Trends column in the May issue of Skin Inc. magazine describes what not to do.

Even the French don’t get it right every time. One of my recent spa visits, to a facility in the Champagne region outside of Paris, was a crushing disappointment. However, although I didn’t enjoy the experience, in an effort to turn sour grapes into bubbly, the following is a description of some of the low points in the hopes that conscientious spa owners can learn from this list of what not to do.

* Before I arrived, the spa director gave me the wrong address, forcing my taxi driver to drive around the city for 45 minutes.
* When I finally arrived at the spa, nobody on the staff spoke English, leading to a less-than-amusing game of charades in an effort to sort out my appointment.
* The changing area was down a flight of stairs so narrow it would be difficult for anyone who had indulged in just one too many crêpes to navigate.
* The men’s area was tiny enough to make it difficult to remove my clothes—when I raised my arms, they smacked the walls. The robes were ill-fitting, as well, and worst of all, I was presented with a diminutive paper thong to wear during my treatment.
* Traversing the dark, narrow corridors, I smacked my head on a low-hanging door jamb.
* The treatment rooms were situated in a semicircle around a hydrotherapy pool—one of the spa’s common areas—and the voices of the other clients were easily heard throughout my service.
* Settling onto the treatment table, I discovered there was a candle burning directly under the face cradle. Within a few minutes, the flame had sucked up all of the oxygen and was beginning to burn my face.
* I had requested the gommage body treatment and a massage. After the gommage, the therapist remained in the room and waited as I showered off the product—in my thong.
* Since none of the staff members spoke English, I left without a retail recommendation, embarrassed and certainly not anymore relaxed than when I had arrived.

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