THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN THE CITY OF LIGHT, JUST IN TIME FOR THE START OF THE COUTURE THIS WEEKEND.

ISLAND LIFE: Hiramatsu, the most-talked-about new restaurant in Paris, is also one of its smallest, with only 18 seats. Located on Ile de la Cite, it’s the first European outpost of a master of French cuisine, Hiroyuki Hiramatsu, a star in Japan with the original Hiramatsu in Tokyo. France’s other top chefs are laying out the welcome mat. “I think it’s great,” said Alain Passard, the three-star chef at Arpege. “After all, we eat twice a day, we need to discover different things.”

Highlights of the menu include pigeon foie gras in vegetable broth and thin slices of lamb with onions and truffles. Dinner with wine runs around $100 a person.

7 Quai de Boubon, 75004, Tel: (331) 56 81 08 80.

YSL ACTION: Galeries Lafayette is doing its part to pay homage to the legendary Yves Saint Laurent. The Boulevard Haussmann department store will dedicate 16 windows from Monday through Feb. 21 to the retiring couturier’s work. They will chronicle Saint Laurent’s creative process, from sketches to the finished couture creation. The designer has loaned pieces of furniture from the YSL couture studio at 5 Avenue Marceau for the occasion.

BARE FACTS: As most Parisians pile on clothes to keep warm this winter, David and Cathy Guetta, the nightclub power brokers behind Les Bains Douches, are launching a new spot where performers take it off.

The upscale strip club, Pink Platinum, features 60 dancers who perform in skivvies designed by Chantal Thomass. They’re tagging it an “erotic-chic” cabaret.

According to the Guettas, their nude attitude was inspired by American clubs that cater to, as they say in the business, gentlemen, as well as by such great moments in buff history as saucy 1930s Parisian cabaret shows, Nicole Kidman’s bare-all scene in “The Blue Room” and YSL’s Opium ad with Sophie Dahl in the buff.

49-51 rue Ponthieu, 75008, Tel: (331) 58 36 19 20.

A SLICE OF CARVEN: From Jan. 24 until May 19, the Musee Galliera showcases the career of Madame Carven, the pint-sized couturier who retired in 1995. The exhibition will be inaugurated with a cocktail party on Jan. 23. The 80 outfits on display comprise afternoon, cocktail and evening dresses, most of them created during the Forties and Fifties, as well as flight attendant uniforms she began designing for airlines in the mid-Sixties. The couture house is currently headed by designer Pascal Millet, formerly of Givenchy.

10 Avenue Pierre Premier de Serbie, 75016, Tel: (331) 56 52 86 00.

PAINTED LADY: Galerie Noemie gives new meaning to the term “makeup artist.” A 23-year-old French painter, Noemie Rocher recently launched the makeup “gallery” in Paris’s trendy Etienne Marcel neighborhood along with a 176-unit color cosmetics line. Rocher is no stranger to the industry, her grandfather founded the Yves Rocher beauty giant.

An art theme pervades the 330-square-foot store and packaging, with mascara resembling tubes of paint. And the idea is to mix and match colors and textures in a painterly fashion. Gloss, for example, can be blended with sparkles for a bold lip look. Prices range from $6.60 for a “paint” jar to $13.40 for three five-ounce bottles of foundation.

17 Rue des Cygnes, 75001, Tel: (331) 44 76 06 26.

NOUVEL CUISINE: Jean Nouvel is cooking. The French architect, best known for designing the Institute of the Arab World and the Cartier Foundation in Paris, has a retrospective of his work on at the Pompidou Center. What’s more, he’s designed the interior of a trendy new restaurant. Au Coin de la Rue, which translates to “At the Corner,” serves up light French cuisine — and a chance to bid on antiques and art work while dining. Flat plasma-screen televisions broadcast live sales from the famous Tajan auction house next door. Meanwhile, the high tech decor features aluminum floors, silvery walls and one homey touch — a fireplace.

10 Rue de Castellane 75008, Tel : (331) 44 71 06 12.

ART PALACE: Paris is best known for its Monets and the Mona Lisa. But a new museum-cum-creative center that bows this month hopes to change all that. The Palais de Tokyo Site for Contemporary Arts will not only feature the work of up-and-coming artists, but it will also commission pieces and give grants to study in its resident artist’s program. Teachers for this year’s program include artists Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Joseph as well as Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak, the graphic design duo known as M/M. The center is open from noon to midnight.

OTHER WORLDLY: Far — but not too far — from the madding crowd is a new spa, called Cinq Mondes, or Five Worlds. The minimalist institute is located in a quiet passageway and boasts 2,220 square feet of treatment rooms. There, it is possible to have a Japanese bath with flower petals and essential oils (30 minutes for about $40), a Hammam treatment using aroma and color therapy (30 minutes for about $40), or a Taoist massage (one hour for about $68).

6 Square de l’Opera Louis Jouvet, 75009, Tel: (331) 42 66 00 60.

STYLE CANTEEN: A new subterranean fashion hangout, La Cantine du Faubourg has many design elements du moment: orange walls with the ostrich-skin texture of a Prada handbag, retro-futuristic furnishings and artsy visuals projected onto sheer curtains. The dimly lit, 200-seat restaurant serves up a varied French and international cuisine, from sashimi to pot au feu, amidst giant bowling-pin-shaped lamps.

And if that weren’t enough to guarantee its trendiness, La Cantine will welcome Donatella Versace and crew for her usual post-couture-show blowout.

105 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, 75008, Tel: (331) 42.56.22.22.

HIGH SEAS: To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton has organized an exhibition tracing the history of the prestigious sailing regatta. It runs at Paris’s Musee National de la Marine through March 18 and was conceived as an “interactive promenade.” Visitors, for example, listen to former America’s Cup skippers barking orders to their crew as they look at corresponding photos. There is also a short film reconstituting the first America’s Cup race on Aug. 21, 1851. Vuitton has participated in the America’s Cup since 1983, when it began to sponsor the challenger races for sailing’s most coveted prize.

GOOD VIBRATIONS: Talk about multi-tasking: Three Paris restaurants are serving rubdowns.

On Air Cafe has a 15-minute shiatsu massage for $7 on the menu alongside traditional French fare. At Alcazar, “Vitality Brunches” are a la mode. These lavish $22 prix fixe Sunday meals are finished off with five-to-10 minute revitalizing massages or, until March 18, a Chinese reflexology hand massage courtesy of L’Occitane. Massage is also a la carte at the Tamla Cafe, where three masseurs administer 15 to 20 minute shiatsu backrubs for about $9.

On Air Cafe, 27 Rue Balard, 75015, Tel: (331) 45 58 45 68.

Alcazar, 62 Rue Mazarine, 75006, Tel: (331) 53 10 19 99.

Tamla Cafe, 44 Boulevard Voltaire, 75011, Tel: (331) 43 38 91 05.

DANISH DELIGHT: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau are among the luminaries to check out the sleekly renovated Maison de Denmark eateries lorded over by chef Georges Landriot, formerly of Paris’s Goumard restaurant. Both the laid-back, minimalist Flora Danica on the ground floor and the more upscale and plush Restaurant Le Copenhague one flight up offer a menu chockablock with seafood. Options include warm smoked salmon seasoned with garden herbs or carpaccio of smoked shellfish and foie gras.

142 Avenue des Champs Elysees, 75008, Tel: (331) 44 13 86 29.

FOR ART’S SAKE: Muscling in on couture week, Stella McCartney is throwing a party with painter Gary Hume Saturday at the Thaddaeus Ropac gallery. Hume collaborated with McCartney on prints for her debut signature collection and the two created a line of handmade, limited-edition dresses and T-shirts that will be sold via silent auction, with proceeds going to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

And in another art-related event, the new mobile phone company Vertu, a subsidiary of Nokia Corp., will unveil its new luxury portable and service at an event next Monday alongside new works by James Turrell, Ron Fricke and Christopher Bucklow.

LOBBY CHIC: Guests of the Four Seasons George V hotel are accustomed to spectacular floral arrangements in the lobby. During couture week, they’ll be mixed with Givenchy couture outfits from Julien Macdonald’s debut winter 2001 collection. The display, orchestrated by the hotel’s artistic director Jeff Leatham, runs until Jan. 25. – Alison Beckner, Brid Costello, Nicole Cottrell, Chantal Goupil, Robert Murphy, Miles Socha and Jennifer Weil.

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