Haircuts: a good price or a cutprice?

Paris is a city already famous for its world-class art and style; but the home of pagoda umbrellas and Madonna’s cone bra can add another feather to its cap – or even under it.


Yes Paris is to haircuts what a bearskin is to Sarah Palin. Home, tasteful home.

But averaging between 19-40 euros a cut, this home ain’t cheap; a problem amplified by the fact they are difficult to return if you are not satisfied.

“You don’t like it? Ok, come back in two months when you’re ears have grown back.”

My hairdresser of the day, Sasha, explains why that is never a risk in Paris:

“Paris has the best hair dressing in the world,” he says.

“London, they are the second, but their the look is more trash.”

“New York is third then?” I ask, looking upwards to the left as he harvested two months of hair with the aplomb of Edward Scissorhands turning a hedge into a dinosaur.

“New York? No. Americans don’t know nothing about hairdressing.”

The difference, he says, is in the education. “If you don’t learn the base, you never know what you’re doing wrong. If you pass a college in three months, you don’t learn what you need to.”

An education takes three years at the elite hairdressing colleges in Paris: Yes, just like the reputed Grands Ecoles for Business, there are also the equivalent of Grands Ecoles for hairdressing.

Which brings me back to Paul my American colleague, or what the heck, friend.

In the grand tradition of the American in France who requested that her parents send her emergency rations of ‘cheese in a tube’ because she didn’t like the local stuff, Paul has managed to overlook the fact Paris is the home of haircuts. Instead he gets the 7 special at the Indian three blocks from work.

The end result? Short back and sides.

So if I paid 33 more than, what did I end up with? Well, something very similar to a short back and sides, but with a more generous smear of waxy product.

For all Sasha’s musings, one thing is clear: even if Americans wouldn’t know a good haircut if it poked them in the eye, they certainly know a cheap one!


2 Responses to “Haircuts: a good price or a cutprice?”

  1. American-in-Paris-with-bad-haircut Says:

    Actually, the barbershops in the rue St Denis are from, as far as I can tell, 1. India 2. Pakistan 3. Bangladesh 4. Guinea-Conakry 5. a French overseas territory, whose name I no longer recall.

    And yes, the going price there is 7 euros, or a whopping 33 less than you spent on yours, minus the tip (you did tip, didn’t you?). No Haute Ecole de Coiffure in the passage St Denis, but much more interesting conversation than Sasha…

  2. The cut-price hair cut that didn’t make the cut « Tintin in Paris Says:

    […] The cut-price hair cut that didn’t make the cut By arbourman In a previous entry I attempted to explain the difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut. […]

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