Quoi de Neuf: Shopping in February

Hit the road

Using an electric bike for all or part of your commute or daily business is a win-win: it is quicker than walking (or riding a conventional bike, especially where hills are involved!), it unclogs busy roads and is easier on the environment than driving.

Although the currently popular, government-backed scheme to assist cyclists with €200 off the purchase price of an electric bike expires on January 31 2018, some town and regional authorities are set to continue offering financial aid to those buying one (check with your mairie).

Given that around 40% of bikes sold in France last year were French-made, the scheme was also great for business start-ups. Leading French e-bike makers now include Matra (matra.com), Arcade (www.arcadecycles.fr), 02feel (www.o2feel.com), and Easybike (www.easybike.fr).

Among the most stylish of the current crop of electric bikes is this folding one, left, by Ahooga (www.ahooga.bike), just arrived in France from Belgium (€1,606) and, inset, Infinity by iconic brand Solex (solex.world/fr/), €2,699.

Socking it to them

Two designers working at the Christian Lacroix studios in Paris decided to strike out with their own sock brand, Royalties, in 2011, and now export to 20 countries worldwide. The aim of Emmanuelle Plescoff and Timothée Pic was to blend British sock style with French know-how, throwing in some eclectic design influences along the way. These include Ivy League campus sports chic.

Each pair of socks is manufactured entirely in France, by a family business that has been crafting quality socks since 1938.

Socks such as ROBIN Rubis, GILDAS Bleu, and new cabled design TORSADES Naturel cost €24.

Type: Robin

Type: Gildas

Type: Torsades


Go nuts for treats

The latest addition to Chocolat des Français’ range of 100% Made in France sweet treats are chocolate-covered almonds from Provence (€13 for 125g), which come in a charming tin illustrated by Laurent Moreau, an author-illustrator from Bretagne living in Strasbourg. All their chocolates are 100% pure cocoa butter and 100% natural, with no palm oil or preservatives. They were named best young brand at the prestigious Paris’ Salon du Chocolat.


Pine fresh

The Landes region of western France boasts one million hectares of coastal pine forests – a veritable treasure chest for scented beauty products. Océopin first extracts oils which are naturally rich in both vitamin E and anti-oxidants phytosterols from the Pinus pinaster conifer seeds.

The cold-pressed oil extraction (150,000 seeds are needed for one litre of oil) is then used in soaps and creams for face and body – between 0.5 and 2% of the volume.

The soap costs €15 for 150grams. Also available are anti-aging cream at €52 for 50ml, body oil at €29 for 100ml and a vegetal body exfoliator made of finely crushed pine seed powder, cost €20 for 100g.