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
Britain's Got Talent judges: Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
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.

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral