French forget how to seduce

Once they were a byword for passion and romance, now they need lessons in love.

Things aren't what they were with French stereotypes. Baseball caps easily outnumber berets and Big Macs top boeuf bourguignon. But now comes a blow to the cherished image of the Gallic lover. Veronique Jullien, 40, has set up the first "French School of Seduction", and though her service is open to foreigners, most of her customers are French.

"Seven easy steps is all it takes," claims the school's brochure. Ms Jullien estimates that she has treated more than 1,000 clients in the last three years, with about a 90 per cent success rate.

She is proud of the individual nature of her lessons, in contrast to the collective, group therapy approach of similar American courses, which she despises. The first stage is to build up a psychological profile of the client, or, as her brochure puts it, "discover yourself, your assets, your hidden talents and unused resources". Despite her negative attitude towards American methods, it appears that Ms Jullien has absorbed their jargon.

Having understood him, or herself, the pupil returns to the classroom for individual tuition on the biological and psychological differences between men and women: the French equivalent, it seems, of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Men and improve their relations with the opposite sex by understanding that their brains function in completely different ways.

Phase three of "Mission Seduce" is along the lines of Colour Me Beautiful - aesthetic improvements are made in keeping with a person's own personality. Veronique Jullien has an album of before and after photos. The models in the before photos pose with folded arms and negative body language; afterwards they are miraculously transformed into carefree, positive people.

My personal favourite is a bachelor wearing a Paisley jumper at home in his messy apartment, who metamorphoses into a suave man about town, in a dark overcoat in the classy Jardins des Tuileries.

Trainee seducers then receive voice and articulation lessons, to help maximise the impression they make during the crucial first 30 seconds of contact. They have the opportunity to "get to know the words and sentences which move the heart". Facial expressions and gestures are also worked upon.

Next, a theatre company is used to provide the clients with role-play situations where theoretical knowledge can be put into practice. This is the only part of the course where the clients get to meet each other. Ms Jullien believes that this is essential for the development of communication skills.

(It seems she has been correct in identifying this as a crucial weakness in her clients. Towards the end of our interview a potential pupil in his early sixties turned up at her office (French seductiveness knows no age barriers). He refused to respond to my greeting, whether out of embarrassment or rudeness.

At the end of the course, the pupils are released back into their natural habitat, the Parisian social jungle, equipped, in theory, with everything needed to be seductive.

This comprehensive and tailor-made programme is not cheap, however: the equivalent of pounds 500 for the two-month intensive format, and pounds 1,300 for the more leisurely nine-month programme.

Veronique Jullien, unsurprisingly, believes that this is great value for money: "You will be astonished with the results... nothing will ever be the same again!"

So why the need for classes in seduction? According to Ms Jullien it is a symptom of our times: "While we have evolved in terms of equal rights for men and women, we have regressed as far as male/female interaction is concerned."

Women's arrival in the workplace, it seems, has seen professional ambition usurp sexual libido, even in France. Veronique Jullien elaborates: "Women are too busy to waste time chasing men, and men find it difficult to approach successful women."

The aim of the school is to integrate seduction into today's liberated society. Ms Jullien points to Melanie Griffith's character in the film Working Girl as a role model.

"Many people think that it is hypocritical to talk of women's rights and the art of seduction in the same sentence, but what most of us want is affection and love.

"The techniques we need to learn are those that allow us to choose... without sacrificing other ambitions."

Our desires have remained traditional, she claims, despite the revolution in the workplace.

Yet just how seductive is Ms Jullien herself? I have to confess that I was expecting the true Parisian stereotype, immaculately turned out in a chic Chanel two-piece. In fact she is sporting a fleece and casual trousers. She is evidently conscious of this. "Excuse my attire," she says. "I went jogging earlier and it's been so busy today, I've not had time to change." I notice that under the desk she's wearing snake-skin ankle boots - an interesting choice of running shoes.

As for her own successes in seduction, she has been happily married for five years now. I ask her how she met her husband. "It was five years ago, on a pavement in Rome," she informs me. "He's Italian, he came straight up to me on the street and asked me for a coffee."

Perhaps the national model of French Seduction School is not so French after all.

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness