Letter: Praise for Paris

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From Ms Suzy Menkes Sir: There is something very wrong with Jaci Stephen ("Did Simone de Beauvoir ever have a Christmas like this?", 19 December) - and all those people who whinge about the Eurostar train, Paris cafes and the "forward" attitudes of French waiters who take an interest in (ie, serve) a single woman on her own.

In six Eurostar journeys, I have never been searched (do they like Prada bags better than rucksacks?). I have had only courtesy, help with luggage and good (French) coffee in peasant class and a decent meal in first class.

If Jaci Stephen can find me a flexible ticket to Paris for half the chunnel fare, I will buy her a pair of French knickers.

After six years commuting to Paris, and enjoying the best of two capital cities, I would say that a woman who thinks Paris is a dump needs either a new guidebook, or a new attitude.

If you don't like shopping and foie gras, you can always try the "elitist" stuff like Poussin and the Louvre. Or do like most Brits: cross the channel, steer clear of Paris, keep your prejudices intact and takes three dozen bottles of St Emilion back home.

Bonnes fetes! SUZY MENKES Redactrice de Mode International Herald Tribune Paris 19 December