Ruin is the Road to Transformation
In bed. Sick.
But feeling so well and alive at the same time.
Sometimes, it is when you are at your lowest that you feel the need to breathe again, take complete breaths, long hearty ones. Maybe that’s “fighting spirit”?
So I washed up, put on my skincare and here I am, jotting it all down.
Because today, I feel like telling you my story of this road I took in January.
A Week That Made My Year
I went on a trip, a press trip with Rene Furterer. Filled with thoughts of hair and scalp and of course my favorite city, Paris, I couldn’t wait for the day. But when the trip ended, I came home with that and more.
The history, the philosophies, the dedication & most of all, the people.
The love the founder of Pierre Fabre Group has for his hometown, his employees touched me.
Every detail and care displayed by his staff impressed me.
And the walk, the places we visited, enlightened me.
I came home, enriched and inspired.
I can’t possibly note them all down although I’d love to. But let’s just start with some daily notes of that week.
The week that gave me all I need to fill the year.
Notes taken from my Journal
Jotted them In the room, in the plane and mostly during bus rides.
Landed in Paris with less than an hour for the next boarding gate to Toulouse.
Though frantic, I had a warm welcome of salmon skies and first lights of the day. Dawn has broken.
Caught the first glimpse of the city before we land. It was pink. And yes, Toulouse is also known as the Pink City, named La Ville Rose by the locals after the distinctive pink stone used to construct many of its buildings.
Met the representatives from China and Japan at the arrival hall as Ms. Martine, greeted us with the warmest smile.
The day has just started with market stalls setting up alongside our ride to the hotel, Crowne Plaza.
Breakfast first, then came 3-course lunch and city tour.
Church bells ringing, children laughing. Why do I feel like its Christmas time again?
Toulouse counts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, The Canal du Midi and the Basilica of St.Sernin (below). The bells were ringing just as I stepped foot into the church compound.
It was a cold day and I have never felt a warmer embrace from myself.
Ended the tour with Nutella crepes and coffee at the square before I rest my eyes a little in the hotel.
Dragged myself out of bed for dinner but cod fish and Chardonnay was all worth it :)
Back to the hotel, I tried on the Rene Furterer products, the Complexe 5 Scalp Oil and soaked in the tub.
Good morning! Soft hair and a good sleep do wonders!
Hair was easier to style as it was less frizzy (though I still miss my hairstylist back home).
Destination 1: Pablo’s Headquarters.
In 20 minutes, Martine gave us a whole 50 years of history through her presentation.
Pierre Fabre is a French multinational pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetics company. It has 10 brands, 10 nationalities and 500 employees here. 2020 mission is to have 130 countries and 45 branches globally.
During our visit, there’s construction underway to accommodate 160 new employees by July 2017. The open space office concept was refreshing with trees surrounding the glass building. I was told they have horses and bunnies visiting at times. Imagine, just when you’re running low on creativity, nature comes knocking to inspire.
One message that stood out to me most was how Mr. Pierre Fabre referred the company as his home, “La Maison.” And how he loved and gave back his hometown, Toulouse by providing employments.
How his love for his staff is still deeply rooted and displayed in them. I felt it in my conversations with them. Perhaps that is the essence of the organization. Perhaps that’s all it takes; legacy.
Destination 2: Botanical Conservatory
By now, we were freezing. But the sky, the clouds look promising.
And the greenhouse, so dear to Pierre Fabre Group kept us warm inside. It’s the world’s biggest private collection of 1200 plant species.
Some are poisonous, some protected. And some, extremely popular with the crowd :)
Destination 3: Le Carla Private Villa
Le Carla! This is where all the representatives went crazy, bonded rather, not over coffee but over the interior décor.
Mr. Pierre Fabre had all the 14 rooms decorated with its distinctive theme and furnishing.
We spent hours wandering in the property, weaving in and out of each other’s room.
What do you do when you wake up in this wonderful mansion feeling princessy?
You refuse to go back to reality, let the fairytale be.
And for most part of the morning, I felt like I live there. I have proof its all mine (see below).
So we goofed around in my garden after breakfast like little kids. Yes, there’s more proof (see picture again).
Destination 1: Company Showroom
Chanced upon Ruscus, the flowering plant native to western and southern Europe. It is the first plant Mr. Pierre Fabre formulated for his company, a.k.a the genesis of Pierre Fabre.
Destination 2: Production Site
No photos were allowed, understandably. We witnessed sterilise packaging, the process and how the line is fully covered to prevent air from getting in and to ensure bacteria-free.
Destination 3: Airport Toulouse-Paris
Lunch at O Saveurs before flying off to Paris.
Destination 4: Paris
You could almost feel the change in atmosphere and the upbeat pace upon landing into Paris.
It would be the coldest week in 10 years for Paris starting from today.
We were warned. “swallow saliva”.
For dinner, we headed to the oldest restaurant in Paris, Le Procope for lobsters.
Destination 1: City Tour of Paris.
Nearly made a u-turn back to the bus because it was the coldest! But since the sun is out, I decided to dance ;)
Destination 2: International Conference for Rene Furterer’s 60th Anniversary.
Founded by Mr. Furterer, then the 10-year old brand was bought over by Mr.Pierre Fabre as the two founders shared similar philosophy and love for nature and plants.
Luncheon menu prepared by 2-star Michelin Chef, Thierry Marx.
Met a lovely soul, we felt like we’ve met before. I shared “Core”with her and she taught me “Light” (hope if she ever reads this, she will know what I’m referring to). Meet Angela, my new friend from Germany.
A case of Lost and Found.
After two hours wandering from room to room, I realized that one side of my Mikimoto Pearl Ear-rings was missing. As I recalled the distance, the crowd I’ve experienced, I didn’t think it was possible to find it.
So, I gave up.
One of the journalists from China then said to me “What have you got to lose by retracing back? You’re still here, go find it!”. With the encouragement from the rest, the Tour Guide and Manager from Pierre Fabre China, we headed back to Room 1 where we started.
Within minutes, the Tour Guide spotted something beaming under the sunlight at the side of the door. It was indeed my ear-ring.
What are the odds? Never stop believing.
And as I walked in disbelief that I’ve found it, I had even more to learn, to gain.
And now, it’s time to digest lunch at this 120 year old restaurant in Palace Versailles.
Note: Must order the croissant when here. Best!
Rene Furterer Hair Institute, Paris.
After the analysis, the steps were well explained and products recommended accordingly followed by the treatment.
Should you ever be in Paris, this hair spa is so worth a visit!
Smoother hair and healthier scalp and the effects lasted for weeks even after daily wash. But you have to book early. At the time of visit, it was fully booked out for the next 3 weeks.
It costs about Euro 160 for a 2-hour ritual. And I’ve approached the team to provide me more info to share with you http://www.renefurterer.com/en/en/institute.
It’s homeward-bound! Depart in the evening back to Singapore.
Latest Update on 2017 Launches: Lumicia Mid April and 5 Sens in late May.
Will share more here once launched. Stay tuned!
Available here in Singapore in selected Guardian, Watsons and Unity stores. See www.renefurterer.com for more info.
Happy 60th Anniversary, Rene Furterer! Thank you for having me ;)
I came home with so much insights, memories and not a “pearl” less ;>