PARIS — A line of guests formed in front of the Edouard VII in the 9th arrondissement, but they were there for something other than the theater’s program. Designer Alexis Mabille was officially unveiling Froufrou, the theater’s new restaurant and bar. Formerly Café Guitry, Froufrou was decorated by Mabille in lavish Belle Epoque style.
The designer had spent the day presenting his spring collection, but showed no signs of fatigue as he greeted guests in the foyer. “It had to come to life,” said the designer, who admitted to spending the summer working on the project.
Chef Juan Arbelaez created the menu, a selection of dishes to be devoured with the same excess and enthusiasm as a stage actor. “At Froufrou, you will eat and drink a bit too much, laugh too loudly, make a lot of noise and enjoy a moment you’ll never forget,” said the Franco-Colombian chef.
Guests queued for a piece of his braised lamb shank, served with a generous dollop of smooth mashed potato. Waiters passed around toasted slices of baguette topped with bone marrow and white truffle, while pescatarians drifted to bowls of lemony pollack ceviche.
Chef Marc Veyrat, owner of the Michelin-starred La Maison des Bois in Manigod, near the French Alps, was joined by legendary French actress Anny Duperey, who starred in the 1976 film “Pardon My Affair.”
Bérénice Bejo, the lead female character in “The Artist,” was also spotted in the foyer. “I know the Edouard VII very well: it’s where I first experienced theater,” said the actress. “It’s a very important place to me.”
Bejo is filming “Le Prince Oublié” (“The Forgotten Prince”) alongside actors Omar Sy (“The Intouchables”) and François Damiens. The film is directed by Michel Hazanavicius, Bejo’s husband.
Aurélie Saada, half of pop duo Brigitte, is a big theater fan. “I try to go when I can, I love seeing plays,” said the singer. The last one she attended was a rock ’n’ roll version of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” by Australian director Simon Stone at the Théâtre de l’Odéon.
Saada is touring with Brigitte, while working on her first feature film. “The script is ready and we’re just starting production. I hope it’ll be ready by next year.” When pressed about the theme of the movie, Saada simply said: “It’ll be about women, of course.”
Later, Arbelaez was joined by his girlfriend Laury Thilleman, who was crowned Miss France in 2011. The evening ended with a performance by burlesque dancers in the bar at Froufrou, on the lower level of the theater.