The things thrown at me by the Tour de France caravan

PARIS, France (CT) – Warily, I eyed my adversaries. To my left: a middle-aged Frenchwoman with a deep haul of dish soap. To my right: a four-year-old girl in a polka dot t-shirt. As I worked at some mental calculations, I arrived at a single, inarguable conclusion: I was not going to walk away from this particular standoff with my dignity intact. The Tour de France promotional caravan has since 1930 served as a warm-up act for the peloton as it races around the French countryside every July. Through the 2019 Tour de France, it will distribute 15 million ‘gifts’ – although in most cases that term is rather generous – from 160 decorated vehicles and 31 sponsors. Sauce sachets? Promotional keyrings? Sweaty biscuits? Look no further. Like many warm-up acts, the promotional caravan has its fans. In this particular case, on the Pau plateau next to the cathedral, those fans included my rivals for whatever crap might be dismissively thrown my way. The lead motorbikes roared past, accompanied by the rude parp of horns and blare of klaxons. Down the road, hazy in the morning sun, a Skoda topped with an enormous smiling lion shimmered into view. Behind it lay a twenty-minute procession of...

The Most Popular Handbag the Year You Were Born — History of Purses

From embellished miniaudières to oversize tote bags, handbags will only continue to evolve as the times (and trends) change. Here, a look back at the 50 purses that immortalize each year. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (i.e. Liz and Dick) were spotted leaving their hotel in Paris, but her quilted bag really stole the show. The pattern was widely popular and seen on practically every purse. More bohemian and casual styles gained traction in the ’70s, like shoulder bags with wider, longer straps. They were also larger and usually featured buckles, like this one on Candice Bergen. Princess Margaret—and every other member of the royal family, TBH—always brought a purse with her whenever she went out, and this patent-leather number was no exception. The material was a prominent part of British fashion trends in the ’60s and became even more popular in the following decade. Rectangular briefcases weren’t just for work; it became the accessory women brought with them everywhere, and it was more practical than a tiny handbag for stashing all your stuff. A year later, larger bags were still in style, this time in the form of weekenders. They were the ultimate acces...