A svelte figure; children who eat whatever is put in front of them; superhuman restraint when it comes to indulging in food; effortless style; insouciance to the point of indifference when confronted with a spouse's infidelity – all of the above qualities are constantly heralded as within the remit of your average Frenchwoman. Then there's the never-ending supply of self-help books that instruct the reader on how to be more like a Frenchwoman – skinnier/a better mother/more stylish/effortless ageing, or whatever your guilt trip of choice may be. What a load of nonsense – as if any race has cornered the market on style, motherhood and staying slim. And the break-up behaviour of ex First Lady, Valerie Trierweiler, right, has given the lie to any reputation the French may have had for handling infidelity with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders. The latest in self-flagellation books is Mireille Guiliano's sickeningly smugly titled French Women Don't Get Facelifts – a guide to natural ageing. She is the author of French Women Don't Get Fat. Her latest offering has been pilloried, and rightly so. We all need to get over idealising the French.