MY CULTURAL LIFE CÉCILE ROEDERER
We ask a tastemaker what they are reading, watching, listening to and downloading
Cécile Roederer co-founded the e-commerce site and shop Smallable with her husband Pierre Rochand in 2008. Smallable offers a unique range of interiors, fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands for adults and children. Its boutique opened in 2015 in Roederer’s home city of Paris (@SMALLABLE; en.smallable.com).
The book that’s influenced me the most is the novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary ( 2; New Directions, out of print), which I read as a teenager. It’s the story of an Arab child raised by a Jewish woman and it moved me deeply. It’s a true masterpiece of humanity, intelligence and generosity. I’m currently listening to David Bowie ( 4). His music has kept me company since I was a child as one of my sisters, Sophie, who’s ten years older than me, got me into listening to him. I also have a taste for sombre, sad songs and really like Nick Cave and Tindersticks – their sublime voices send shivers down my spine.
The song that makes me feel instantly happy
is La Banane by French singer Philippe Katerine – even though it’s not serious, it’s poetic, as everything Katerine does is. It’s my son’s favourite song and I love to see him laugh and dance while listening to its lyrics. Seeing your child laugh is the best way to make you happy too. My favourite collection of poetry is Je Voudrais Pas Crever (I Wouldn’t Want to Die) by French author Boris Vian, published posthumously in 1962. It’s provocative, inspiring and addresses all the things the author would like to do before he dies. It reflects my belief that we have to make the most out of life. My favourite quote is ‘Boldness has genius, power and magic in it,’ by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I often repeat this phrase when I feel I need to be bolder. The last exhibition I saw was the Amedeo Modigliani exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. I love the elegance and melancholy of his portraits. They make it clear that he was also a great sculptor – those faces look like actual masks!
My favourite places for a good night out
are some of Paris’s hotel bars and restaurants. L’hôtel Particulier in Montmartre is a good choice to start the evening. Then I’ll go to Monsieur Bleu ( 1), a restaurant that has a sublime view of the Eiffel Tower. To finish the night, I like clubs where people who are older than 20 ( like me!) can have fun, such as Chez Castel or David Lynch’s club-cumcinema Silencio. I love their décor. If I had a free day in London I’d see my friends who live in Chelsea and let them show me around the area. It’s nice for me when others take the lead as this doesn’t happen to me often in my everyday life. I also like wandering around Shoreditch, discovering the independent boutiques on Redchurch Street ( 3, Labour and Wait). In the evening, I’ll stop for a drink in the garden of Marylebone restaurant Chiltern Firehouse ( 5). My favourite destinations include Formentera ( 6), one of the Balearic Islands. It’s still unspoilt with its untouched coves and allows you to disconnect from everyday worries. I also love New York and Tokyo. I like their energy and all of the surprising things you discover on every street corner. I prefer theatre or live performances to TV. It’s important for me to ‘de-digitise’ my life as I spend a lot of time in front of a screen. I always feel that seeing live performances is like being at a party!