le Pouce de César - La Défense, ParisThe over-inflated suitcases are weighed at Charles-de-Gaulle airport. The ground crew personnel shakes his head. “Trente six (36) kilos! Is too much.” I gulp at the thought of paying for excess luggage. He gives me a look laced with Gallic charm and says, “Take some thing out and put in your hand luggage.”

I rummage through the suitcase and remove weighty objects. Magazines, brochures, paper stuff. Done. Why do I collect so many memories? Cosmetic pouches. Done. Shampoo. Conditioner. No. Winter coat. Yes. I conceal the lingerie I purchased in Paris. The suitcase is reweighed. “Voila!” It gets his nod of approval.

In the departure lounge, I distribute the items into two pieces of hand luggage, the laptop bag and the small carry on case with wheels. I open one of the cosmetics bag and stifle a curse. I have accidentally picked up the one with my collection of nail polish. Including nail polish remover.

Acetone. On a flight that prohibits any liquids.

I decide to toss the acetone in the poubelle (bin) but my French manicure nail polish set is not for airport bins. I’m going to take my chance. I distribute some other items in the laptop bag and squeeze the long and thin fuchsia pouch in the wheelie case.

The invitation to board is announced. Two security personnel are conducting hand searches ahead. Mr G and I line up in an Indian file patiently awaiting our turn. My heart races as both ground crew call us over simultaneously. We approach together. I’m carrying the laptop case, Mr G is carrying the wheelie case.

I lay the laptop bag on the table and unlatch the clip. Security Man 1 picks up a small bottle of decongestant nasal drops and asks, “Prescription?” I shake my head. “I have a blocked nose.” He snickers and puts it back.

I glance to my right. His colleague, Security Man 2, is searching the wheelie case and checking every cosmetic pouch. He raises an amused eyebrow, nudges the other and lets out a loud, “Oh la la… regarde-moi ça! (What do we have ‘ere?)”. He then holds up the bottle of red nail polish to eye level, gives Mr G a curious look and says, “Verrry nice…” with a heavy French accent.

Mr G begins his protest, “No, no… it’s not mine!”

The security personnel cross their arms in synchrony, shake their heads and smile facetiously.

I intervene, trying not to laugh. “C’est à moi! We’re together…”

But they play their part well. And I feel as if I’m standing in the midst of a popular French comedy.

The passengers who have witnessed the show give Mr G curious looks and laugh. The bottles of nail polish are passed with a shrug that could only mean, We’ll let them deal with it at the other end.

As I board the plane with my belongings intact, I smile at the French attitude and wonder if their British counterparts could match their sense of humour.

* Image: Le Pouce de César – La Défense, Paris


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Manicured was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues. She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List.


  1. What a delightful story. Who knew the French had such a sense of humour!

  2. Pingback: Ladurée, Bonaparte: Part 2 Le Temps des Macarons | Gourmantic

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