WHETHER THEY’RE LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO RELAX, ARE HUNGRY FOR SOME FRESH EATERIES, OR ARE SEEKING OUT NEW STORES, THERE ARE PLENTY OF CHOICES AROUND TOWN DURING COUTURE WEEK.
Byline: Blair Asbury Brooks / Brid Costello / Robert Murphy / Miles Socha / Jennifer Weil
It’s no secret that the French enjoy their wine, but now they’re finding a whole new way to be devotees of the grape.
Paris’s four-star Hotel Meurice reopened its spa this month, with French beauty company Caudalie charged with running it. Caudalie is renowned for its skin care cures derived from grapes and grape vines.
The spa offers treatments such as a scrub called “Crushed Cabernet,” a body exfoliating treatment that uses grape seeds mixed with honey and essential oils to moisturize the skin. Visitors can also opt for massages with names like “Pulp Friction” and “Sauvignon.”
Facials target specific skin care needs such as aging skin, and a special men’s treatment is also offered.
The spa also houses a fitness center with cardio-vascular equipment, two personal trainers, or, for the less motivated, a four-person Jacuzzi.
Hotel Meurice, 228 rue de Rivoli, (331) 44 58 10 28.
Beef is out of fashion in much of Europe, even at Arpege. The three-star, Left Bank restaurant is about to banish most meat from its menu. Chef Alain Passard insists the move has “nothing, nothing, nothing” whatsoever to do with Europe’s escalating mad-cow scare.
“I have been thinking about the change for more than a year,” he said. “I wanted to explore another facet [of cooking] — one called vegetables.”
But carnivores are still welcome. Even though two-thirds of Passard’s dishes will be vegetarian, he’ll still serve up one poultry dish and a smattering of fish. Arpege is due to go green sometime after Jan. 22.
But Passard isn’t the only French chef looking beyond beef.
Alain Ducasse’s latest Paris restaurant, 59 Poincare, was supposed to be “surf and turf,” but instead it serves lobster and lamb, with fruits and vegetables rounding out the menu. The interior, designed by former Phillipe Stark assistant Patrick Jouin, who Ducasse also commissioned to do his eponymous eatery in the Plaza Athenee hotel, mixes the old with the new. A transparent locker filled with racks of lamb in the main dining room is reminiscent of a Damien Hirst sculpture, while large photos of farmers, shepherds and fisherman — the men who supply Ducasse with his fare — decorate the wood-paneled walls.
The 90-seat eatery has an art nouveau feeling with arts-and-crafts style lamps, but the sleek metal and leather chairs, and polished bar tables give it a modern twist.
Arpege, 57 rue de Bourgone, (331) 01 47 05 09 06.
59 Poincare, 59 Avenue Rayond Poincare, 33 (0) 1 47 27 59 59.
Joe’s Joint Jumps
The design is sleek and uncluttered, the fusion menu is light and it’s located in the heart of the tony Saint Honore fashion strip. So, it’s no surprise that Joe’s Cafe has quickly become a favorite lunch hangout for the Paris fashion pack.
Located in the basement of the recently opened 3,500-square-foot Joseph shop, the restaurant features sushi, salads and other light fare. Like the shop, it was designed by up-and-coming French architect Christian Biecher.
“I wanted the shop and restaurant to have a very Parisian feel,” said Joseph Ettedgui, who runs the Joseph chain. “But I also wanted to tap into the new wave of French energy.”
Meanwhile, Biecher was also commissioned to do the minimalist Korova, on the Rue Marbeuf, near the Champs Elysee. French TV personality and producer Jean Luc Delarue, and Hubert Boukobza, owner of the Les Bains nightclub, joined forces to open the restaurant, whose menu includes such unexpected dishes as chicken in Coca-Cola sauce.
Joe’s Cafe, 277 Rue Saint Honore, (331) 49 27 05 54.
Korova, 33 Rue Marbeuf, (331) 53 89 93 93.
West Meets East
Alexandre Zouari has broadened his horizons.
The celebrated French hairdresser has not only more than doubled the size of his Right Bank salon — to 8,300 square feet — but he has also taken on a new line of hair and skin care products produced by Japan’s Shiseido.
Sold under the names Qi and AtoZ, the products are used for the hair and in various shiatsu treatments for the face and body, including a two-hour-long facial and massage “discovery” package that goes for $138 and an hour-long body exfoliation session that costs $87. Prices are at current exchange rates.
Alexandre Zouari, 1 Avenue du President Wilson, (331) 01 47 23 79 00.
From Paints to Fragrances
In one stroke, a new shop in town offers a fresh take on one-stop shopping: a makeup brush for her, a broom to sweep the garage for him.
It’s all possible at Resonances, a 4,400-square-foot beauty-cum-hardware emporium in Bercy Village, a shopping enclave that was once Paris’s chief wine depot. Resonances stocks a wide assortment of paints, tools, kitchen gadgets, travel books and some 400 private label beauty items. These include aromatherapy oils, thalassotherapy items and hamam knickknacks, mostly priced under $14 at current exchange rates.
According to its founders, the quirky mix at Resonances is culled from childhood memories. One of the store’s best-selling items, for instance, is a curved metal bar that can attach to a wall and holds a yellow oval soap.
“All French school children had this in school or the gym,” said co-president Jean-Luc Colonna d’Istria. “Over the past few decades, it became hard to find, but we’ve brought it back. We work with French and European artisans and small ateliers that continue to make things they’ve always made in the same way.”
Bleu Comme Bleu is Paris’s latest lifestyle store, where clients can dress the family, have a meal and get a makeover.
For those in shopping mode, the 3,900-square-foot ground floor, done up in white pine and marine blue, offers women’s and men’s clothing from brands such as Jerome L’Huillier, Himalayan Cashmere Co., Donna Tchoutcha and Roberto Collina. The accessories lineup includes jewelry from Bagues a Part Bague and L’Eau a la Bouche, and bags from Freitag, Toi la Loi and XXL. For tiny tots, Petit Bateau clothing and stuffed animals are on offer, among other kiddie accoutrements.
Then, once a hunger is whipped up, the Italian restaurant on the same level seats 90 for lunch or an afternoon snack.
The 4,700-square-foot upstairs caters exclusively to beauty. Treatments include a one-hour Carita facial and an Anne Semonin “Exclusive Anti-Jet Lag” rubdown, which each go for $58 at current exchange rates. There’s also a salon for women and one for men offering a range of services, such as hair cuts and blow drying, dying, manicures and pedicures.
Bleu Comme Bleu, 2 Rue de Castiglione, (331) 58 62 54 54.
Holland may not be a fashion capitol, but it has produced some arresting design ideas in the Nineties. That’s the argument of “Dutch Modernism,” an exhibition showcasing fashions by 11 of Holland’s most prominent designers at the Institut Neerlandais.
The exhibit bows Jan. 25 and runs through March 11. The show, which began at Centraal Museum Utrecht in Holland and traveled to Tokyo’s Ozone Design Center before coming to Paris, reflects key outfits in installations created by each designers.
Highlights include two of the country’s most internationally recognized design duos: Viktor & Rolf and Oscar Suleyman. The show’s curator, Jose Teunissen, chose the designers not necessarily for their commercial success but because they have all received international recognition for collections shown in Paris.
Attracting such attention is a new phenomenon for the Dutch, who had never previously spawned any great fashion notoriety. But the country now boasts 10 fashion design programs.
Teunissen said the Nineties were the right time for the fashion industry to appreciate the more conceptual-oriented Dutch aesthetic. Pamela Golbin, curator at Paris’s Musee de la Mode et du Textile, said the Dutch difference is that designers focus on practicality and a conceptual approach, which Golbin said brings clothes “down to the object. It is not as much about wardrobe. More than just fashion, Dutch Modernism is about Dutch designs: objets d’art.”
The Institut Neerlandais, 121 rue de Lille, (331) 53 59 12 40.