Leah Trav­els France

Luxe Beat Magazine - - Contents - By Leah Walker

Each month, our Ed­i­tor-at-large and Paris res­i­dent, Leah Walker, is open­ing her French ad­dress book. She’ll share the lat­est, great­est, lit­tle known, clas­sic and up-and-com­ing finds fo­cused on her adopted home coun­try.

Take This Tour

World War II buffs and those sim­ply in­ter­ested in the history of Paris will ap­pre­ci­ate “Lights Out, Paris Un­der the Oc­cu­pa­tion” by Con­text Travel. Led by a mod­ern his­to­rian, this walk­ing tour ex­am­ines the lives of Parisians un­der Nazi Ger­many’s rule. Fo­cused on the Right Bank of the city, the tour ex­plores a Jewish res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood in the 9th ar­rondisse­ment, Place Vendôme, Place de la Con­corde, and other lesser-known sites along the way. Dur­ing the three-hour tour, sto­ries from Jewish cit­i­zens and mem­bers of the WWII Ré­sis­tance are re­counted, while the roles of no­table peo­ple such as Josephine Baker, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hem­ing­way are ex­plored. This tour sheds a new light on fa­mil­iar sites, bring­ing history to life; and is eas­ily one of my fa­vorite ex­pe­ri­ences in Paris.

Fine Din­ing

Ob­vi­ously, Paris doesn’t have the monopoly on Miche­lin-starred restau­rants in France, but it might come as a sur­prise that the picturesque Alpine town of Megève is home to three chefs who’ve earned the cov­eted stars. Lo­cated in the Roth­schild-owned property, Chalet du Mont d’ar­bois, Le 1920 is un­der the di­rec­tion of young Chef Julien Gatil­lon. With one Miche­lin star, Le 1920 is a con­tem­po­rary take on tra­di­tional French gas­tron­omy. At the one-star La Ta­ble de l’al­paga, Chef Christophe Schuf­fe­necker has cre­ated a ‘re­fined moun­tain cui­sine’ as beau­ti­ful as Mont Blanc, which can be seen from the warm and el­e­gant din­ing room. At the three-star restau­rant, Flocons de Sel, Chef Em­manuel Re­naut has cre­ated the ul­ti­mate in French Alpine gas­tron­omy. In the event there’s not a reser­va­tion to be had, try Le Flo­con Vil­lage, his ca­sual bistro in the cen­ter of town, which is also a de­li­cious op­tion. Megève in Rhône-alpes

For the Wine Lover

In Paris’s fifth ar­rondisse­ment is De Vi­nis Il­lvstribvs. Lionel Miche­lin and his wife, Do­minique, opened this ex­tra­or­di­nary wine shop in 1994. Spe­cial­iz­ing in rare and aged wines, De Vi­nis Il­lvstribvs is the go-to place in Paris for those look­ing for a very spe­cial bot­tle. Lionel’s ex­per­tise is un­par­al­leled, and his and knowl­edge of French wines is as­tound­ing. The store also has a good se­lec­tion of newer wine from var­i­ous French re­gions. Per­son­ally se­lected by Lionel, a bot­tle can be had start­ing around 20 eu­ros. Cus­tom-made tast­ings are avail­able in the cave. Sur­rounded by vin­tage wines in the cave, tast­ings with cheese, lunch, or din­ner can be ar­ranged. No mat­ter your bud­get or knowl­edge of wine, De Vi­nis Il­lvstribvs can or­ga­nize a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence and find a bot­tle to please your palate. De Vi­nis Il­lvstribvs, 48, rue de la Mon­tag­ne­sainte-geneviève, Paris

Visit This Mu­seum

Lo­cated in Paris’s eighth ar­rondisse­ment, the serene Musée Jac­que­mart-an­dré is of­ten over­looked by tourists. Pos­si­bly the finest of the city’s small mu­se­ums, it’s a mag­nif­i­cent find for lovers of Ital­ian Re­nais­sance art and 18th cen­tury French pain­ters. This mag­nif­i­cent man­sion was built in 1875 for Edouard An­dre. Here, he and his wife, Nélie, amassed a huge art col­lec­tion. Nélie be­queathed the home and its con­tents to the In­sti­tut de France, which was opened to the pub­lic in 1913. The home is filled with Louis XV and Louis Xvi-era fur­ni­ture, ta­pes­tries and ob­jets d’art, which is a tes­ta­ment to the couple’s trav­els across Europe and Asia. Whether for a light lunch, tea, or Sun­day brunch, make it a point to enjoy Café Jac­que­mart-an­dré, which is lo­cated in the man­sion’s for­mer din­ing room. Visi­tors with An­droid or iphones can down­load the mu­seum’s free app, which in­cludes a guided tour, in­ter­ac­tive maps, bi­ogra­phies, and im­ages. Musée Jac­que­mart-an­dré, 158 Boule­vard Hauss­mann, 75008 Paris

Take This Walk

In my trav­els around France, I’ve come to ap­pre­ci­ate the places that have a well-or­ga­nized plan for in­ter­na­tional visi­tors; whether it’s bilin­gual his­tor­i­cal mark­ers (Paris doesn’t!) or an of­fi­cial walk­ing tour, like the Owl’s Trail in Di­jon. Sim­i­lar to the Free­dom Trail in Bos­ton, Di­jon’s version cov­ers much of the city cen­ter, and in­cludes three op­tional loops. Bronze owls em­bed­ded in the side­walks mark the route, but to get the most of the 22-stage trail, a guide can be pur­chased at the of­fice of tourism. The walk takes about an hour, and cov­ers the best of this his­tor­i­cally dense city. One of the best things about tak­ing the self-guided Owl’s Trail is that you’re on your own sched­ule. Be sure to visit the mu­se­ums, churches, and parks along the way; as well as some re­lax­ing time on one of the many ter­races in Place de la Lib­er­a­tion. Di­jon in Bur­gundy.

Sip on This

Sur­pris­ingly, only two per­cent of all Cognac pro­duced ac­tu­ally stays in France, with the largest mar­kets be­ing the USA, China, and Rus­sia. De­spite the lower de­mand by the French, the grape spirit is strongly pro­tected by ap­pel­la­tion d’orig­ine con­trôlée (AOC). Like Cham­pagne, in or­der to be called ‘Cognac’ the brandy must be pro­duced in the Cognac re­gion. Not just an af­ter­dinner drink, Cognac is de­li­cious as an aper­i­tif (freeze a VSOP and serve in a Cham­pagne flute) paired with meals and mixed in a cock­tail.

The Cognac Sum­mit was cre­ated in 2008 at the re­quest of the Bureau Na­tional In­ter­pro­fes­sional du Cognac (BNIC) by 20 renowned bar­tenders. Made with not-so-sweet le­mon­ade, it’s per­fect on a warm day.

1 piece lime peel ½ inch piece peeled gin­ger root, cut cross­wise into quar­ter-size slices 1½ ounces Cognac ice cubes 2 ounces of le­mon­ade 1 long piece cu­cum­ber peel

for garnish

Spe­cial Sou­venir

French per­fume is leg­endary. Scents from de­sign houses like Chanel and Dior are clas­sics. How­ever, if you’re look­ing to come home from France with some­thing truly unique, make an ap­point­ment at Le Stu­dio des Par­fums in Paris’s Marais to cre­ate your own cus­tom-made scent. Ex­pert per­fumer and nose, So­phie, will help de­ter­mine your per­fume per­son­al­ity

and pref­er­ences with a se­ries of ques­tions. From there, your nose is the guide. The re­sult is a one-of-akind fra­grance that you’ve picked, mixed and named. The recipe is kept on file, ready to re­order. Le Stu­dio des Par­fums, 23, rue du Bourg Ti­bourg, Paris

Chat with a Concierge

I sat down with Tony Le Goff, the Chief Concierge at Shangri-la, Paris, for insight on some of his fa­vorite things from the City of Light.

Leah Walker: What restau­rant would you choose for a spe­cial din­ner? Tony Le Goff:

I was in my fa­vorite restau­rant just the other day – Sep­time in the 11th ar­rondisse­ment. It’s not a very sexy area, so Bobo and cre­ative. It’s im­pos­si­ble to get a reser­va­tion, and if you can­cel, you can guar­an­tee you’ll never get an­other. It’s one-star Miche­lin and the cui­sine is won­der­ful. To me, this type of restau­rant is the fu­ture. It’s sim­ple prod­ucts that come to­gether to cre­ate magic. The staff is good look­ing, ef­fi­cient and friendly. It has a bit of a New York feel­ing. Sep­time, 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris

LW: What is an ideal Satur­day in Paris for you? TLG: Since I live on the Right Bank, I like to go to the Left Bank. It’s a dif­fer­ent world. In the morn­ing, the ven­dors and an­tique sell­ers at Carré Rive Gauche are more open and friendly. In the af­ter­noon, they be­come Parisian. If it’s early morn­ing, which is dif­fi­cult, I like to have a cof­fee at a su­per-cliché place like Les Deux Magots. There’s no one at this time. The tourists haven’t ar­rived and peo­ple are friendly. You speak French and read the lo­cal pa­per on a wooden stick. It’s just a cof­fee, which costs a for­tune. The peo­ple are clean­ing the streets and open­ing the stores. This time in the morn­ing is per­fect to me. Les Deux Magots, 6 Place Saint-ger­main des Prés, 75006 Paris

LW: What clas­sic Parisian ex­pe­ri­ence never goes out of style, even for Parisians? TLG:

It’s for chil­dren, but the boats in the Lux­em­bourg Gar­den have ex­isted for decades. I was not born in Paris, so I missed out on it, but this is some­thing that is very Parisian. It’s a tra­di­tion that’s been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. One of our guests re­cently re­quested that a boat be pur­chased for his grand­daugh­ter, be­cause it was a fond mem­ory from his youth. Other tra­di­tions in the Lux­em­bourg Gar­dens for chil­dren are the bal­an­coire (swings) and Théâtre des Mar­i­on­nettes. Th­ese are af­ford­able, and the gar­dens are mag­nif­i­cent. It’s some­thing that re­mains from the past and builds the per­son­al­ity of a Parisian.

LW: What is your fa­vorite café in

the city? TLG:

As I told you, Les Deux Magots in the early morn­ing, but in the af­ter­noon, it’s Café de l’epoque near the Lou­vre. It’s near Ga­lerie Vérododat, with the orig­i­nal Louboutin store on one end and the cafe at the other. Of course, you know the na­tional sport is watch­ing peo­ple. So, you watch peo­ple and drink Rosé. There’s the Min­istry of Cul­ture that is just across. There is a mix of tourists and Parisians pass­ing by. It’s sim­ple – go there by co­in­ci­dence or on pur­pose. It has kept a charm from the 1950s. The wait­ers are some­times friendly. My fa­vorite drink is a spritz, and they do it quite well there. Café de l’epoque, 2, Rue du Bouloi, 75001 Paris

LW: What’s trendy in Paris now? TLG:

Ge­o­graph­i­cally, the east­ern part of the city. It’s like New York. Things have moved east of the cen­ter. It’s no won­der that restau­rants like Sep­time are open­ing there, rather than in a no­ble area. In terms of con­tem­po­rary cre­ation, what Palais de Tokyo is do­ing is amaz­ing. Not only in terms of ex­hi­bi­tions, but what they’re do­ing be­yond. They other day, they turned the empty fountain into a bas­ket­ball court. They at­tract peo­ple that might not ever come to a mu­seum. It’s very young and cre­ative. They do fash­ion shows, and are really on the cut­ting edge. Palais de Tokyo is a real ex­am­ple of what cul­ture should be in at­tract­ing all kinds of peo­ple, re­gard­less of so­cial level. It’s not a ques­tion of money.

In the evenings, there are barges on the banks of the river. My fa­vorite one is Rosa Bon­heur sur Seine. It’s be­tween the Alexan­der III and Con­corde bridges. There are lines to get on the barge, but once you’re on, there’s a very large bar and lots of great peo­ple and mu­sic – a bit Bobo. It opens in the morn­ing and closes at 2:00 AM. Rosa Bon­heur sur Seine, Quai d’or­say, Port des In­valides, 75007 Paris

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