Paris Scene

What to do in the "City of Light" during Couture week.

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X-RATED: For one night only, on Jan. 24, the Opéra Garnier will display copies of Catherine the Great of Russia’s “secret” furniture – including a wooden table and chair sculpted with racy ornamental details. She had a collection of such sexy furniture at her Gatchina Palace. The recreations by Henryot & Cie will be sold on a per-order basis.


“Le mobilier érotique inspiré par le cabinet secret de Catherine II de Russie,” on Jan. 24 at Opéra Garnier, 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-40-01-17-89

— Joelle Diderich


STORE SCENE: Novelties on the retail front include the latest store openings from contemporary brand Karl Marc John, which is expanding fast after launching last winter with cashmere sweaters emblazoned with its fashionista brand name. It has opened five stores since August, most recently branches at 4 Rue des Abbesses and 117 Rue Vieille du Temple. Meanwhile, Abou d’Abi Bazar is inaugurating a new store at 33 Rue du Temple, in an up-and-coming area founder Patrick Aboukrat has dubbed SoMa (South of Marais). In addition to ready-to-wear and accessories, the boutique features an exhibition space that will regularly host events.

Looking ahead to early March, LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned jeweler Fred is stepping beyond its usual Place Vendôme territory and opening a 500-square-foot boutique in the Marais, at 6 Rue des Francs Bourgeois. Residents of the Place des Vosges will no longer have to cross town to indulge themselves.

— Joelle Diderich and Alex Wynne


AIR MAKES WAVES: Watch out Paris – Charlie Le Mindu is coming. The avant-garde hairdresser, who made headlines in London last season when he sent out naked models with wigs, is taking over the windows of trendy store Colette from Jan. 24 to 29 for Couture Week, in partnership with L’Oréal Professionnel. Le Mindu will present his take on Parisian monuments, by which he means everything from the Eiffel Tower to poodles. On Jan. 27, he will reunite with French experimental art-punk singer Vava Dudu for a show, called “Atopic Bodies [three]: The Leiotrichous Tribe,” at the Fondation Cartier contemporary art museum. The two previously collaborated on a performance for Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio.


Jan. 24 to 29 at Colette, 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris. Atopos & Charlie Le Mindu, “Atopic Bodies [three]: The Leiotrichous Tribe,” on Jan. 27 at 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-42-18-56-65.

— J.D.


GETTING THE TREATMENT: Melvita recently opened its first eco-spa, in Paris’ Saint-Germain neighborhood. The two treatment rooms (measuring 156 and 178 square feet, respectively) that are accessible through the back of the Melvita boutique make use of natural materials, such wood for cabinets and organic cotton for sheets. An “organ” of organic ingredients, comprised of jars of plants, essences and oils, is used to personalize treatments. Many utilize the honey as a key ingredient. A facial or body massage (including exfoliation) lasting one hour and 15 minutes goes for 80 euros, or $107.05 at current exchange.


The Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine hotel has debuted a treatment room – open to clients and to the public – that uses Kéraskin Esthetics products. Its menu includes a 45-minute cleansing facial for 80 euros; a one-hour moisturizing facial for 100 euros, or $133.80, and an hour-long “fat-burning, slimming ritual,” also for 100 euros. Hotel patrons can get Kérastase treatments in their rooms, as well.


The Lutetia hotel’s spa gives Kérastase Esthetics treatments, too, these days. Melvita, 96 Rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris. Open Mon. to Sat. 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tel.: +33-1-45-44-86-38.


Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine, 24 Boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 Paris. Open daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tel.: +33-1-55-27-12-34.

— Jennifer Weil

SECRET SOCIETY: Want to get a glimpse of Elsa Zilberstein, Guillaume Canet, Gaspard Ulliel, Charlotte Casiraghi and other A-list, beautiful people in Paris? Ask Albane Cleret for a membership card to her ACLUB By Albane. Cleret is known for her glitzy parties during the Cannes Film Festival at her Heaven’s floor club (that was formerly known as Jimmy’z). But now she’s brought her concept to Paris. For members only, Cleret’s new, ephemeral club is located right across from the Arc de Triomphe. Once a month, dozens of VIPs receive Cleret’s electronic invitation including the date when they can join her for a sip of Champagne and vodka plus dancing. A great networking nightspot, where the crème de la crème can also light up cigarettes, the ACLUB By Albane is also a place to be seen.


ACLUB By Albane, 12 Rue de Presbourg, 75016 Paris. – Chantal Goupil


SMALL BITES: Young, talented Basque chef Inaki Aizpitarte, who is known for his creative cooking at Le Chateaubriand, just opened a new eatery next door, called Le Dauphin. There, he serves seasonal French-style tapas – such as sea urchins with thinly sliced radishes, sea scallops with carrots and Basque ham – in a lively ambiance. The restaurant, which seats 40, has a modern décor and looks like a huge marble cube with a bar in the middle. Dinner for two without wine runs for approximately 80 euros, or $105 at current exchange.



Le Dauphin, 131 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-55-28-78-88.

— Chantal Goupil

FOODIES’ SHANGRI-LA: A few feet from the Eiffel tower, the newly open Shangri-La luxury hotel serves refined food in its sumptuous La Bauhinia restaurant. Guests can opt for Yam Som O, a grapefruit salad with shrimp and peanuts with spiced vinaigrette, or Otak-Otak, cod steamed in banana leaf with yellow curry paste, coconut milk, lime and basil. The menu also features more traditional French cooking, such as half-cooked salmon filet with lentils or braised endives, and for dessert there’s a chestnut Mont Blanc creation with blackcurrant sherbet. The service is professional and nice. Dinner for two runs at about 200 euros, or $269 at current exchange, excluding wine.


La Bauhinia, 10 Avenue d’Iéna, 75016 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-53-67-19-91.

— C.G.


RADICAL CHIC: Foodies in Paris, as elsewhere, are currently obsessed with provenance and getting back to basics. And to mark the tenth anniversary of his gastronomic restaurant at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Alain Ducasse gave the concept a couture twist. Out went anything deemed superfluous: Gilded Louis XV furniture gave way to a freestyle contemporary vibe (think chairs fitted with retractable perches for handbags, contemporary dishware by Pierre Tachon, titanium chopsticks by Paolo Vale, embroidered screens by Patrick Jouin and chandeliers that seem to have imploded, Matrix-style, into glittering clouds). Likewise, the thrice triple-starred chef pared down the menu, eliminating fussiness to concentrate on exceptional ingredients. Under the direction of his deputy, Chistophe Saintagne, the kitchen turns out haute seasonal fare, such as medallions of langoustine topped with caviar and chicken breast Albufera with white Alba truffles alongside selected classics like the caillé de brébis (curdled fresh goat milk cheese) flavored with caramel and pepper. The traditional waltz of trolleys remains, offering in dizzying succession bread (from Du Pain et des Idées, in the 10th arrondissement), champagne, cheese, bonbons and herbal teas, cut from the plant as you watch. Still, couture has its price: A la carte dishes start at 55 euros, or $74.15 at current exchange, for a dinner, while the Collection d’Automne menu is 360 euros, or $485.30, excluding wine.


Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-53-67-65-00.

— Tina Isaac


HOME, SWEET HOME: After his successful Thoumieux brasserie opened last year, Jean François Piège (formerly of the Hôtel de Crillon) conceived a homey concept for his new, eponymous gastronomic restaurant. A separate entrance and private stairway lead up one flight into the 20-seat, cozy dining room, which feels like a Fifties apartment with a contemporary twist.


Once seated on a comfortable couch designed by India Mahdavi, people need only to pick ingredients from the 40-year-old chef’s menu, called “La règle du jeu” (or “The name of the game,” in English), which lists ingredients such as turbot, sea scallops, langoustines, sweetbreads or beef, depending on what’s in season. While the chef prepares astonishing dishes made with the selected ingredients, miniature appetizers are served.


The choice of one ingredient costs 70 euros, or $93 at current exchange. For the menu at 90 euros, or $120, the chef adds a second dish. And for the extremely hungry, a third dish is thrown in to the tune of 115 euros, or $153. A generous, crusty breadbasket, cheese platter and dessert, such as a light and refreshing coffee opera pastry, are included.


But the Piège experience doesn’t need to end here. Upstairs, on the third and fourth floors, are 15 hotel rooms, also decorated by Mahdavi to be like “a country home in the city,” said the chef. Creating the ambiance is wallpaper, heavy curtains and marble-lined bathrooms with large, porcelain sinks and footed bathtubs. Meanwhile, there’s modern technology galore, such as LED flat panel TVs, iPads and iHomes in each room. Rooms start at 180 euros, or $242.


Piège has plans for two more locations – one next door and another that could be a pastry shop across the street.


Jean-François Piège, 79 Rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-47-05-79-00.

— C.G.

FOR THE PEOPLE: Le Citizen Hotel is an intimate, new boutique hotel, located a few feet away from famous Hôtel du Nord and across from Canal Saint Martin in a lively Parisian neighborhood. Its 12 rooms were designed by French architect Christophe Delcourt, known for his work on the sports club L’Usine. The hotel is eco-friendly with sharp, clean lines and lots of natural wood, plus is chockablock with colors blue and yellow. Special services like Bento boxes from Shinsuké Kawahara’s Usagi restaurant and iPads are also available. Rooms cost from 149 euros, or $199 at current exchange, for a single to 418 euros, or $558, for a suite.


Le Citizen Hotel, 96 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-83-62-55-50.

— C.G.


ALL HUNG UP: The runway shapes and block colors of avant-garde painter Piet Mondrian are on display at the Centre Pompidou’s retrospective “Mondrian/De Stijl.” It’s a comprehensive look at the Dutch artist’s work and that of the De Stijl movement.


Hungarian photographer André Kertész’s career was marred by exile and persecution brought on during World War II, but he never lost his status as an international photographer. Kertész’s captivating images at the Jeu de Paume include portraits of his friends Mondrian and Marc Chagall. The retrospective, called “André Kertész,” is his first in Europe.


At “Les années 1990-2000: Histoire idéale de la mode contemporaine vol. II” at Les Arts Décoratifs, admire the structured and minimalist forms from designers such as Yohji Yamamoto or Martin Margiela.


A gem of an exhibition is “Trésor des Médicis,” at the Musée Maillol, which has pulled together more than 150 works. Standouts include the ethereal beauty of Botticelli’s renaissance women and the classicism of oeuvres by Raphael and Michael Angelo.


“L’Or des Incas,” the exhibition at the Pinacothèque de Paris examines the Andean civilization’s relationship with gold. On display are 253 pieces, ranging from sculptures to textiles.


Jean-Michel Basquiat’s gargantuan 50th anniversary exhibition, “Basquiat,” is at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Marvel at the large canvases with bold colors and themes that mix the American artist’s use if spontaneity and control.


Starting on Jan. 27, Galeries Lafayette will host “Cover Girl,” an exhibition by 11 contemporary artists inspired by fashion photography, ranging from the social critique of Martha Rosler to the poetic vision of Marlo Pascual.


“Mondrian/De Stijl,” through March 21. Centre Pompidou, Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Tues. Tel.: +33-1-44-78-12-33.


“André Kertész,” through Feb. 6. Jeu de Paume, 1 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris. Open Tues. 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wed. to Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat. to Sun. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Mon. Tel.: +33-1-47-03-12-50.


“Les années 1990-2000: Histoire idéale de la mode contemporaine vol. II,” through May 8. Les Arts Décoratifs, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. Open Tues. to Sun. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thurs. to 9 p.m. for temporary exhibitions. Closed Mon.


“Trésor des Médicis,” through Feb. 13. Musée Maillol, 61 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris. Open daily 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thurs. until 9:30 p.m. Tel.: +33-1-42-22-59-58.


“L’Or des Incas,” through Feb. 6. Pinacothèque de Paris, 28 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris. Open daily 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wed. until 9 p.m. Tel.: +33-1-42-68-02-01.


“Basquiat,” through Jan. 30. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris. Open Tues. to Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thurs. until 10 p.m. Tel.: +33-1-53-67-40-00.


“Cover Girl,” Jan. 27 to March 19. Galerie des Galeries, 1st floor, Galeries Lafayette, 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris. Open Tues. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tel.: +33-1-42-82-81-98.

— Natasha Montrose and J.D.


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