SHOPPING in Paris:
The God of vintage high fashion has a name. That this name is French, probably doesn't surprise anyone. Didier Ludot has been collecting and selling vintage fashion and jewellery since 1975. Designers visit him to be inspired and museums come to borrow exhibition pieces. It even feels like you're in a museum here in Didier's den. The main fare is antiquated pieces from French designers, but there are also a few American classics to be found. So come and take pleasure in the highlights, such as Christian Dior's New Look or Cristobal Balenciaga's sculptures of the 1960's.
To browse through a fleamarket in Paris should be on your list of things to do. A fleamarket that consistently pulls a young and hip crowd is the fleamarket at the Porte de Vanves. With a bit of luck you might even find a few weird and wonderful items here. Rare items are less likely to be found, but small finds with the licence to become personal treasures are waiting to be found. Think art-deco tables, chairs from the 50's and old prints. And it continues around the corner at the Place des Artistes. Local heroes from the local art scene put their produce up for sale. Leave enough time for this Parisian diamond in the rough, as time flies when you're browsing in the sun.
The year: 1980. The idea: To bring new and interesting fashion to Paris. The scouts: Matine and Armand Hadida. The opening of the first boutique was over 30 years ago. And it wasn't the only one. A further 5 boutiques also came to the fashion scene. L'eclaireur stands for avant-garde fashion, that you simply cannot find anywhere else, and also for breathtaking interiors. The fashion comes from Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and Junya Watanabe. Nobody und Fornasetti provided the furnishings. Each one of the L'Eclaireur stores stock basically the same lables, nonetheless you should take a look in all of them, as each store is so individual and impressive. Beginners should go to the boutique on Rue Boissy. You almost feel like you're in an art gallery there and you can digest your first impressions at the bar or restaurant.
SIGHTS in Paris:
The Centre Pompidou is an absolute must! You have to witness this cultural centre at least from the outside. The fascinating blue stems from the pens of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and won the covetted 2007 Pritzker prize. If you take the time to visit the inner halls of the building, then you will be rewarded with the most innovative cultural program the city has to offer. It's all about contemporary art; encompassing theater, music, visual arts, film and literature. Access to the rooftop terrace is also included in the entry rpices. Through the transparent pipes, escalators take you all the way to the top level at a height of 35 metres. Sounds high? The view is well worth the trip!
Exhibitions and performances, yoga lessons during the weekend, vintage design flea markets, open air film nights, wild parties and dinner on the biggest terrace in the whole of Paris (1,600 square metres!) - life is becoming more vibrant on the left bank of the Seine in Paris since the end of March 2012 in a new creative space. It's called Wanderlust and meeting point for artists and creative heads, designed by architectural team Jakob + MacFarlane - with French cook Benajmin Darnau's cuisine. Wanderlust is part of the Docks en Seine - Cité de la Mode et du Design. The design and fashion district between Gare d'Austerlitz and the library François Mitterand, also designed by Jakob + MacFarlane and likewise coloured in green and white, unites Wanderlust with boutiques, pop-up and design shops. Since 2008 the former industrial grounds are also home to the Institut Français de la Mode.
In this park you can almost forget you are in the city. Maria die Medici founded the park as she retreated to her country manor following the death of her husband, Heinrich IV, in 1611. Today, it is just as loved by tourists as it is by the Parisians. The public here are very peaceful and take pleasure in the many forms of recreation here; tennis courts, carousels, puppet theaters, chess boards and pétanque pitches. For children and children at heart, the highlight of the park is the lake, where small paddleboats are available for rent. Paris is so romantic, especially here. It's as romantic as it was in the old days, and almost as peaceful, too.
STAY in Paris:
Once upon a time there was a princess, and if she hasn't passed with the time, then she would be probably still be here. Even to this day, in the hotel-castle behind the high wall with the lusheous garden at the end of the cobblestone alley. There are five enchanting suites, each boasting three rooms and endowed with modern art and the finest stylish furnishings. You will quickly fall in love, not particularly with the French princes or princesses, but with the hotel! Double rooms from 290 euros per night.
The Hotel Pavillon de la Reine, styled like a chateau, is blessed with a remarkably good location on the Place des Vosges. It is in the middle of Marais, which is the heart of historical Paris. Behind the façade of the Place des Vosges is a magnificient garden which hosts a royal pavillion. Gobelin tapestry, avenues of oak trees, wall panelling out of the most exquisite materials, striped antique furniture, oil paintings and open fireplaces evoke a unique atmosphere that permeates the entire house. Breakfast is served in the tastefully decorated cellar-vault, after which guests can make their way to the magnificient sights of Marais within short walking distance. Suites for 4 to 5 people are also available for families. Double rooms are available from ?330 a night
Vice Versa Hotel
Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. These are the seven deadly sins. And have served as inspiration for the new project of interior designer Chantal Thomass. The result: a comprehensive redesign of the Vice Versa Hotel in Paris. Each and every flower ornament, butterfly pattern and lace ribbon has been conceived by the renowned designer herself. The same applies to the furniture, beds and fauteuils, wallpapers, fabrics and curtains. Afterwards Thomass has put everything into the rooms of the seven floors and painted them with matching colours: mellow in beige, sensual in black, or playful in sugar pink. In addition Thomass glued notes to the wall, painted oversized cutlery on the carpets and screwed tea pots to the ceiling as light fixtures. In order to avoid an explosion of colour there are cosy sofas in white in the entrance area. Parts of the hotel mutate into a Etruscan palace. That is inciting indeed - but not necessarily to sleep!
EAT in Paris:
She has designed carpets for W Hotels and developed graphic concepts for Lacoste. With the Sure Mesure, a restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Paris is added to the portfolio of Norwegian Heidi Winge Ström. Ström wraps the venue on Rue Saint-Honoré - according to Wallpaper*s Design Awards the best new restaurant in 2012 - in white textile walls, structured tablecloths and napkins and creates tableware which is referred to by Mandarin Oriental as high fashion jewel. The concept was provided by the designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku. For the design on the plates, the restaurant sends Thierry Marx on the catwalk. The chef and Bruce Willis lookalike has been awarded multiple prizes and is devoted to experimental, Japanese cuisine. The result: soy risotto with black truffles or poached fig with Banyuls and ginger sorbet. Likewise some form of design.
Austern & Co.
Eating oysters in Paris is just as important as a visit to the Eiffel tower. It doesn't get anymore authentic than this. Francis Dubourg, the owner of La Cabane à Huitres, cultivates his own oysters and puts them fresh on the table. His son travels to the Atlantic coast three times a week and returns with the fresh huitres. 13 magnificent claire oysters can be yours for just 13 euros. Those who aren't cut out for the slimy consistency of an oyster can opt for foie gras, cheese specialties or cannelles (small caramel cakes). The restauarant is very spartan and ordinary, but the level of service given by Francis and his daughter well and truly make up for it. A small story accompanies every wine and every meal, which is always told with a hearty serving of Esprit.
The Kong polarises at the highest niveau: Whilst some love it and simply can't get enough, there are others that hate it because it is simply too snobby. Those who do like the Kong can spend their entire evening in posh ambience; there's fantastic food in the restaurant, and great drinks at the bar. After a while, it's only a few steps to the dance floor. Whether you find the music so good that you want to buy the CD to take home is purely a matter of taste. Indisputable however, is the fact that the Kong possesses this finest view of the Parisian night sky that you will ever experience. So head high, there's no ceiling above you, but a glass dome.