A Glossy Guide To Paris

PENNY McCORMICK shares her favourite spots in PARIS plus the FASHION EXHIBITIONS not to miss this year …

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What to see: While the rue du Bac remains my favourite haunt in Paris, it’s good to discover some new districts and museums. One such gem is Musée Bourdelle, filled with works collected by sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, in a leafy setting. Having hosted a special retrospective of Madame Grès in 2011, it’s the setting for Balenciaga, L’oeuvre au noir (March 8 – July 16, Musée Bourdelle, 18, rue Antoine Bourdelle, Paris 75015). Celebrating the alchemist of haute couture, as the title suggests, black had spiritual underpinnings in Cristóbal Balenciaga’s work and was more than a colour. He saw black simultaneously as vibrant, opaque, transparent, matte and shiny, transforming it into his signature shapes; the barrel line, the balloon, the semi-fitted, the tunic dress and the sack dress. Juxtaposed with the statues on display this monochromatic collection of dresses and accessories forms part of a complete Spanish season this year. Habits aux couleurs de L’Espagne at Maison Victor Hugo (21 June – 24 September) and Mariano Fortuny at the Palais Galliera (October 7 – January 7). If visiting Musée Bourdelle, combine with a visit to the Sunday Montparnasse art market.

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Where to stay: The Hôtel Providence is tucked in a quiet corner of NorMa (a portmanteau of the North Marais) as the locals call it. And this address is a treasure trove. House of Hackney wallpaper, Madeleine Castaing carpets, mosaic tiling and bathroom products by Ramdane Touhami (of Cire Trudon) combine with vintage objets all lovingly sourced at neighbouring brocantes by hotelier Pierre Moussie’s wife Elodie. Breakfast on your balcony (room service is the same price as the bar) and the in-house brasserie is clubby and sympa. Within walking distance for dining are the elegant Brasserie Barbès (2 Boulevard Barbes) and Le Mary Celeste (1 rue Commines), while Merci concept store (Boulevard Beaumarchais) and one of the many Première Pression Provence are good for present shopping. Where Hôtel Providence is dark and mysterious, Hôtel Fabric is a good value, fun and colourful boutique hotel housed in a former textile factory in the heart of the Oberkampt (31, rue de la Folie Mericourt, 75011, Paris; www.hotelfabric.com). Its 33 rooms are all different, combining industrial elements and patterns with an à la carte menu of facilities that includes a hammam, mini-spa and sports therapist. Its location is an easy walk to the Marais and Canal St Martin and very close to the Popincourt market. I’ll stock up on Mariages Frères tea, a stripey tee at Maison Labiche (24, rue de Poitou) and some A313 Vitamin A pommade and David Mallet’s hair serum. A trip to Caudalie’s Marais boutique also yields a spa upstairs (8 rue des Francs Bourgeois). In the Haut Marais, Christophe Lemaire’s boutique (28 rue de Poitou) gives good browsing.

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What to wear: Louis Vuitton’s SS17 collection.

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What to read: The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis (Harvill Secker) is a vivid account about homophobia. Less confronting is Jojo Moyes Paris for One and Other Stories (Penguin Michael).

Penny McCormick

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Thursday April 6.

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