FDJ, a Press Junket Adventure

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I don’t know how I found myself on a porter plane going to Dorval airport thursday morning but there I was. I received an email from Julie Leblanc from Girafe Communications inviting me to a press retreat in Mont Tremblant for French Dressing Jeans. I didnt know anything about them so I checked the website and desaw that they were based in Quebec. Good, a Canadian company I thought to myself, I feel better about accepting the offer.

I packed feverlishy into wee hours of the night. There was no point in sleeping as it would be more painful. I had to get to the airport for 6:30 but I wanted to arrive earlier to enjoy the infamous Porter lounge. I’m in the Lounge, huge Burberry sunglasses hiding my tired eyes and a machine capacinuo in my hands. I said screw comfort and wore heels. I might feel like a zombie but I wasn’t gonna look like one. Very nice lounge, civilized and quiet.

I boarded the plane. It was a prop plane and not the jets I’m used to. Would it be louder and bumpier? Would I freak out at some point during the hour flight? (I’m not a fan of flying at all). I was glad that there was noone sitting besides me during the flight. Prop planes really aren’t that much different. It wasn’t all that loud and it was a bit bumpy but nothing serious. It was a pleasant ride and I wish all flying could be this civilized.

Arrival

We touched down in Dorval without incident. I was told to look for pink FDJ balloons which wasn’t hard to find. I felt like I was in a movie because that is usually the only time I see that scenario played out. We walked outside and a limo pulled in front to take us to Mont Tremblant. A freaking limo people, I was a little impressed. I was dead tired and was in and out of sleep during the ride. Mont Tremblant reminds me of the Adirondacks a little.

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We pulled up to Château Beauvallon Hotel Mont Tremblant. A very cute hotel from the outside. I had no idea what I was in for. We were greeted by French Dressing team and provided with our keys to the rooms. Each attendee had their own room, there was no bunking on this trip.

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I wandered to my room 319 and opened the door. I was immediately taken with the size of the room. As I looked around I started counting off the features.

  • Kitchen with stove, microwave and dishwasher. Hold up, a freaking dishwasher.
  • Large balcony. I’m talking large enough for a patio table and four chairs. It was huge and facing the courtyard where the pool and hot tub was. The hotel is U shaped and all the units face the courtyard
  • Living room complete with FIREPLACE and large flat screen tv. Don’t forget about the stereo for playing music
  • Bathroom with shower. It’s a good size, was a little disappointed there was no bath.

Damn, I scored big I thought. I walked around the room laughing hysterically. Then I turned from the balcony and noticed a set of french doors on the black wall. WTF, it’s another room with a freaking Queen sized bed and ensuite bathroom with bath. I jumped on that bed and laughed even more. I had a running commentary on twitter during this discovery process.

Conference/Lunch

We converged on the dinning room and the French Dressing Jeans team talked to us about the company before we settled into some lunch. French Dressing Jeans is available in over 2500 boutiques across North America. They are also starting to expand into Europe. The target demographic is women 35 or over. They started in 1985 in response to the changes in denim during the 80s where regular women couldn’t fit into the popular styles. Think Brook Shields and her Calvins.

French Dressing Jeans are made with Lycra and their styles have features that are meant to slim the tummy and lift the butt. The are four styles Peggy: regular rise and easy fit; Suzanne: regular rise and natural fit; Olivia: mid rise and natural fit and Kylie: low rise and natural fit. They also come in regular and petite as well as various silhouettes: slim, straight, boot cut and flared. Embroidery, rhinestones, studs, rivets and leather details are also options to the standard styles. They have also added some new fabrics Diamond Denim which uses less stretchy fabrics and manual distressing and Euro Denim which is textured.

They also talked about their cause of choice, breast cancer. Of the many companies I’ve seen involved in breast cancer, these seems the most genuine. They have campaigns during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and organize Dragon Boat races. They even donated $50 in each attendees names to a Breast Cancer charity.

Fit Clinic

After lunch we were fitted with a pair of jeans to use on our excursions. I was fitted with the an Olivia Flare in regular denim wash. It was a medium rise but still to high for me. I like low rise since I’m short waisted. The jeans themselves were quite comfortable but I wish I went a size down because of the Lycra. French Dressing Jeans are not my style to be honest. The styles are more mature and I’m not into Lycra in my denim.

The excursions the group had a choice of were zipline, horseback riding or bike riding. My activity was Horseback riding. I grew up in Richmond Hill but I had never been on a horse. It really makes no sense and I had to rectify it. Richmond Hill had a lot of farm country when I was growing up, I don’t know why I didn’t take advantage then.

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There was some time to kill before horseback riding and I decided to take advantage of the hot tub in the courtyard. It was a beautiful space with a massive pool. It was closed but the hot tub was open for business.

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We packed into the Hotel vans and were driven to the Ranch de la Riviere Rouge for horseback riding. It was amazing. My horse’s name was Rosie and she was very sweet. We went on a short hour walk, no trotting for us newbies. The only disturbing thing was when the horses relieved themselves mid walk. The denim held up extremely well. They were very comfortable to ride in. My legs were so damn tired after, thank god we were moving on to the next part of the day, Scandinave les bains.

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The Scandinave les bains is a picture perfect spa set on the shore of the Du Diable river. This spa’s specialty was Scandinavian baths; the hot, cold and rest treatment. You would sit in a hot bath first. It could be the steam room, hot tub or dry sauna. You then have a cold rinse to close up your pores. Finally you relax for ten minutes and then repeat. The spa has little cabins all over the place and lot of places to relax outside. It was heavenly. We also were treated to an hour massage and it was heavenly. I thought I was going to fall asleep on the table.

Bonfire

After the day of denim, hot tubs and horses we returned to the hotel for drinks and dinner. There we got to mingle with our hosts and learn more about them. After dinner there was a bonfire by the lake and more drinks. It was great to see our hosts let their hair down. They even had marshmallows for roasting. I hadn’t slept in 24hr at this point so I turned into bed around 1am. I had a great sleep on the queen sized bed.

The next morning I awoke a little disappointed I had to leave this paradise. I headed down to get some breakfast and used twitter to decide if I should hit the hot tub again. Twitter thought it was a good idea so in I went again. When it was time to leave we packed into our limos and headed to Dorval. FDJ provided me with another send off, a pair of Kylie jeans in black. The return trip on Porter was excellent again. This time it involved free beer. Porter Air has my heart, not only was the trip civilized they got me nice and buzzed.

Photos by me and courtesy of Girafe Communications

By Anita Clarke

Anita Clarke is an Engineering Storyteller and the founder of the fashion blog “I want – I got.” She was one of the first and most prominent online fashion writers in Toronto and Canada.

3 comments

  1. You lucky girl! I never got press junkets when I was travel-writing, but I imagine it would have gone something like you experienced. How fun, and in our backyard too (well, your backyard, I’m in Vancouver so it’s kinda far). The jeans sound pretty good to me…anything that slims me 🙂

  2. do you think that ceramic hot tubs are still the best or are there any alternatives?,.:

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