A Glossy Guide to Paris, France

Despite its reputation for lofty luxury, TRISH DESEINE selects some AFFORDABLE PLACES to shop, eat and stay in PARIS, and where to WALK UP AN APPETITE

 

WHERE TO STAY

Two of Paris’s most charming hotels are low on cost and frills, but high on buzz and efficiency. The service style in both is somewhere between frosty hipster and frazzled stagiaire. But this is Paris, and value for money here is excellent.

Hôtel Henriette

The romantic Hôtel Henriette (9, rue des Gobelins) is deep in the 13th arrondissement on a cute, quiet street, surrounded by eminently Instagramable buildings. The budget rooms and bathrooms are tiny, but full of sweet little details. I liked the pink balloons in my room attached to an invitation to celebrate the hotel’s birthday with a glass of champagne (and nice nibbles, it turned out) downstairs. Breakfast is a beautifully presented buffet in a pristine dining room, looking out onto the pretty little courtyard. Don’t expect great bedroom wall soundproofing, but do expect intense furniture and fittings envy.

Hôtel Bienvenue

Equally peaceful, and again in a relatively untouristy neighbourhood, Hôtel Bienvenue (23, rue Buffault) is nonetheless superbly situated for exploring the exciting emerging food scene in the 10th and 9th arrondissements. After Hôtels Paradis and Panache, Hôtel Bienvenue is the third hotel by a young hotelier making waves in Paris, Adrian Gloaguen. The gentle, cosy décor, with touches of more flamboyant 1950s style, is by Chloé Nègre, (formerly at India Mahdavi) and the hotel’s gorgeous courtyard has a floor mosaic by Julien Colombier. Breakfasts are generously DIY, with bread and cakes by cult bakery, Ten Belles. Rooms and corridors (like the lovely old lift) are small but bathrooms are well appointed.

WHERE TO EAT

Bouillon Pigalle

The latest addition to the Moussié brothers’ string of sensitive renovations aimed at Paris’ hip food-loving crowd, Bouillon Pigalle (22, boulevard de Clichy) joins siblings Chez Jeannette, Brasserie Barbès, Hôtel Providence and Le Mansart. Inspired by Paris’s famous Bouillons, originally created in the 1900s to feed workers from Les Halles cheaply, Bouillon Pigalle is a complete delight. With plenty of nods to the old style bouillon – Thonet chairs, long, red banquettes, flowing plants, jovial waiters in long aprons and black vests – Bouillon delivers a sort of living reference book of bourgeois French cooking and brasserie favourites at prices that even an eater of most modest means can afford. Grab a table on the lovely terrasse upstairs looking out over Pigalle’s hustle and bustle.

Le Servan

Owned by sisters Katia and Tatiana Levha, airy, casual, neighbourhoody restaurant Servan (32, rue St Maur) quickly became a Parisian favourite. Like many of France’s most exciting talents, including her partner, Septime’s Bernard Grébaut, Manila-born Tatiana trained with Alain Passard at L’Arpège, and also put in time with another of his disciples, Pascal Barbot, at L’Astrance. The delightful, punchy lunchtime menu with subtle Asian influences, stays nicely under €30 or you can have a quick glass of wine and a few dishes at the bar.

Frenchie to Go

One of the best street food style eat-in or take-away menus in town, Frenchie to Go (9, rue du Nil) was opened by chef Gregory Marchand (christened “Frenchie” by his then boss, Jamie Oliver when he worked at Fifteen in London) is on the super foodie rue du Nil. An ex “cuthroat” area, in the heart of the Sentier, the street is now a foodlovers’ heaven, even by Parisian standards, thanks to Greg but also to Terroirs d’Avenir superlative butchers, greengrocers, cheese and dairy and fishmongers shops, opened soon after Frenchie’s arrival. At Frenchie To Go, don’t miss the monumental Reuben sandwich, the best lobster rolls and hotdogs in Paris, and Greg’s fabulous cookies, brownies and muffins. Great coffee is by neighbours L’Arbre à Café.

La Grande Épicerie Rive Droite

La Grande Ep (80, rue du Passy) has always been the perfect place for seeking out tiny touches of edible upscale French luxury while making like the locals. Now a new outpost of the Bon Marché’s famous food hall has broken away from La Maison Mère and opened in the old Franck et Fils premises on rue de Passy, the heartland of the old money 16th arrondissement. Almost as large as the original store, its 2,600m2 stretch over three levels, with all the French food departments you would expect, 13 in total, from cheese to patisserie. Artist Mathilde Jonquière has created a series of stunning mosaics for the bakery, butchers and fish counters and there’s a brand new beer cellar with over 200 varieties from around the world.

WHERE TO SHOP

Ailleurs

There can be no better pedigree than mythical Merci for creating an interiors store. After eight years with the famous home design store, which revolutionised the way we consider, use and buy the everyday objects which surround us, Régis Godon-Dilla has opened his own place (17 rue St Nicolas) in the 11th, next door to another home decor legend, Caravane. In an old furniture workshop, Régis has gathered a lovely mix of craft, vintage and design objects, tableware, furniture and fittings, mixing one-off collections with unique pieces (Rohé chair by Dick Van Sliedrecht, Gubi light fitting, Alice mirror from Tuscan artisans…). Coming soon, from the end of May to end of July, is a pop up café, or café éphémère – it sounds so much more romantic in French – in the courtyard.

Arlette

Sabine Cossé’s accessory store Arlette (20 rue St Nicolas) opened in 2012, is just across the street from Ailleurs. True to a philosophy not far from that of Merci’s founders, Cossé likes to stay away from mass-produced fashion, and instead selects bags from Delphine Conty, jewellery from Marie Laure Chamorel and Rosie Kent, shoes from Porselli, as well as lots of affordable crafty finds. The result: you’ll be sure of no embarrassing matching moments on this summer’s social calendar.

Desirée

Is it a café with a florist shop or vice versa? Either way you’ll have the pants charmed off you at Mathilde and Audrey’s lovely address, on super-hip rue de la Folie Méricourt. What makes this place stand out further is that its beautifully-crafted bouquets are all 100 per cent French and picked in season. The blooms are all grown in the Paris region, the Var and Brittany, and the two young entrepreneurs see the food they serve as a natural extension of the flowers they sell. Breakfast, brunch or lunch, why not people watch from their pavement terrasse, with the scent of flowers wafting from inside, and a mushroom crêpe, millefeuille or roast jacket potato with St Maur cheese and coriander in front of you? Brunch with bread, jam, butter and homemade madeleines, and a choice of eggs, tarts or fromage blanc and fruits is €19.

@TrishDeseine

Photography by Virginie Garnier

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