Eating, meeting, treating — here are some new spots to do all that during next week’s couture.
ALL NIGHT LONG: Parisians have all-night partying down to a science, even seeking out “le before” spots for a light meal and drinks before hitting a club. To wit: B4, a new Italian restaurant in the heart of the Marais, where clients can do just that: fuel up for the night ahead in a sleek all-white atmosphere. There’s also B4 bar across the street with DJs where diners can stop in for a nightcap later.
More in the all-night vein is the New York loft-style complex Crew Bar in the 17th arrondissement. Chef Luca Peirano presides over a 150-seat restaurant serving up southern French, Asian and Italian dishes, with dinner averaging $70 a person. Afterward, diners can hit the lounge and bar, which vibrates with a DJ three times a week.
B4 le Resto, 6-8 Square Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, Tel: 331 42 72 16 19.
Crew Bar, 11 rue du Débarcadère, Tel: 331 53 81 95 95.
GRAY AWAY: An exotic reprieve in gray Paris is Barroco, a new Brazilian restaurant in the chic 6th arrondissement. It’s laid out on two floors, much like a typical South American home. The kitchen serves classic Brazilian dishes and a large selection of vegetable dishes and yummy deserts. Don’t miss out on the caramelized rice with mango sherbet. Dinner for two runs around $130 including a couple of caipirinhas to wash it all down.
Barroco, 23 rue Mazarine, Tel: 331 43 26 40 24.
ROMANCING THE SCONE: When you just can’t take another croissant, Rose Bakery gives a taste of England in Paris. Scones, with butter and jam, a selection of English cheeses and a smattering of teas are on the menu of this minimalist cafe off one of Paris’ bustling market streets. Most of Rose Bakery’s products are organic, or culled from traditional producers. The fashion flock has already discovered that brunch is served on weekends.
Rose Bakery, 46 Rue des Martyrs, Tel: 331 42 82 12 80.
ALL HANDS ON DECK: At the new Wassana Thai Beauty Institute, traditional Thai massages — called Nuad Bo’Rarn —are practiced in a large room. Dressed in cotton tops and pants, clients are kneaded and stretched on futons — and therapists use their hands, arms and feet. The idea here is to reestablish a body’s energy and circulation. Rates start at $79 for 1 hour. Wassana’s lineup also includes Western beauty treatments, including waxing, manicures and massage.
Wassana Thai Beauty Institute, 28 Rue de Saint-Pétersbourg, Tel: 331 40 08 07 94.
FLYING ON HER OWN: Julia Smith is no newcomer to fashion, having worked at Givenchy and Trussardi over the last decade. But this season, the British-born Smith, who trained at London’s Kingston College, decided to strike out on her own with a luxurious knitwear-based collection. “The whole idea was to start with something very precise and luxurious,” said Smith, who calls her Paris-based brand Designspace. “I wanted something elegant, sensual and a little quirky, but that fits the body extremely well and is very comfortable.” For fall, Smith said she was inspired by Japanese calligraphy and couture-details such as mother-of-pearl appliqués on cashmere tops. Wholesale prices run from $120 for a basic merino wool sweater to about $400 for cashmere pieces. Smith plans to sell her collection out of a showroom at 20 Boulevard Des Invalides for two weeks starting Monday.
NEW-SEUM: In a quirky take on a museum gift shop, Paris graffiti artist André recently christened the “Blackblock” shop at the Palais de Tokyo Contemporary Art museum. Inspired by the kind of oddball merchandising he discovered at gas stations in Stockholm suburbs, André presents predominantly Japanese gadgets, figurines, electronics and sundries in refrigerators, while also providing an eclectic mix of design objects — say a Jeff Koons sculpture — music, and clothing by fellow graffiti artists and graphic designers.
SUITE YOURSELF: Sure to be a magnet for visiting glitterati, La Suite is the latest restaurant-bar christened by Paris nightclub impresarios David and Cathy Guetta, formerly with Les Bains Douches and current owners of the upscale strip club Pink Paradise. The groovy 10,000-square-foot complex has the look of a James Bond film set and has already welcomed Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio. The menu is Mediterranean inspired and dinner for two with wine runs around $150. And for the late crowd, the bar has DJs nightly until 5 a.m.
La Suite, 40 Avenue George V, Tel: 331 53 57 49 49.
MANHATTAN PROJECT: Balenciaga might wish to wait until Feb. 13 to officially unveil its new retail concept, in Manhattan — when house designer Nicolas Ghesquière shows his fall 2003 collection in New York. But impatient shoppers can check out the Paris house’s recently renovated boutique on Avenue George V to get a hint at the new concept. Ghesquière called on contemporary artist Dominique Gonzales-Foerster to transform the shop into an unusual shop-cum-art-installation that looks part California dessert, part “Star Trek.” The translucent plastic ceiling darkens periodically as if passing clouds were obscuring the sun, while the walls are cut in sharp angles resembling jagged rock formations. The checkout desk resembles a large piece of black lava. The space will eventually be linked to an adjoining shop next door, which is still under construction, via an underground tunnel.
FASHION PLATES: Sir Terence Conran has been the talk of the town with Senso, his second Paris restaurant, which opened last October in the Tremoille hotel. Chef Philippe Assuncao’s menu offers traditional French cuisine, like snails in a puff tart served with chanterelle mushrooms and a light pesto sauce ($19), or shrimp and sea scallops served with ravioli of diced vegetables ($26). Meanwhile, simpler fare like club sandwiches, salmon plates and salads are available at the lounge bar.
Elsewhere, Alain Ducasse’s new Aux Lyonnais remains this winter’s most popular new bistro. Actually, Ducasse simply redid the 112-year-old restaurant with partner Thierry Delabrosse and 25-year-old chef Christophe Saintagne. On the menu: all manner of charcuterie, even pig’s head, as well as poached eggs with crayfish.
Senso, 16 rue de la Tremoille, Tel: 331 56 52 14 14.
Aux Lyonnais, 32 rue Saint Marc, Tel: 331 42 96 65 04.
IN BLACK-AND-WHITE: He captured the stark drama of Christian Dior’s New Look and was the eye behind scores of other memorable fashion images. Now the late photographer Willy Maywald will be the subject of a photo exhibition during Paris couture. Titled, “The Look of Elegance,” it features a selection of photos from the Thirties through the Sixties, including photos he took for Jacques Fath and Madame Grès. It opens Jan. 22 and runs to Feb. 28 at By Terry, 21, 29 and 36 Galerie Vero-Dodat, and Galerie du Passage, 20-22 Galerie Vero-Dodat.
GYM IS IN: Ken Club, a members-only gym and Eighties hot spot, has had a facelift. The recently renovated club now sports a hair salon, a restaurant, treatment cabins, hammams, saunas and swimming pools as well as the usual fitness paraphernalia. And feeling pampered goes hand in hand with feeling the burn. Telephones are scattered around poolside lounges so clients can order snacks from the restaurant and each piece of training equipment is kitted out with individual TV monitors. A one-day membership, priced at about $242, gives access to the entire club and includes lunch and a massage.
Ken Club, 100 Avenue du President Kennedy. Tel: 331 46 47 41 41.