Ground Con­trol Aims To Draw Parisians to The Champs-Elysées

WWD Digital Daily - - The Reviews -

The hip pop-up bar opens on Dec. 11. BY FLEUR BURLET PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY JULIE LIMONT

PARIS — De­nis Le­gat and chef Stéphane Jégo didn't ex­pect the po­lice to turn up a week be­fore the open­ing of their lat­est venue, Ground Con­trol des Champs.

The pair has teamed up to bring one of Paris' most ex­cit­ing pop-up ven­tures to the Av­enue des Champs-Elysées, af­ter stints in a for­mer mail sort­ing cen­ter in the 18th ar­rondisse­ment, on the lower level of the Cité de la Mode in the 13th and in a rail­way-owned ware­house in the 12th, where Ground Con­trol is still based.

To say the tim­ing could be bet­ter is quite the un­der­state­ment. The Parisian av­enue has been the main scene of the “gilets jaunes” demon­stra­tions, which started life as a protest against fuel taxes and have since grown to en­com­pass a range of de­mands, held all over France in the last cou­ple of weeks.

A po­lice of­fi­cer ex­plained that the Ga­lerie 26, the space where Ground Con­trol des Champs is based, will be pre­ven­ta­tively shut on Satur­day, the day of the third demon­stra­tion planned on the Champs-Elysées.

As a re­sult, the pop-up bar open­ing at num­ber 26 on the av­enue — first for friends and fam­ily on Thurs­day, then to the pub­lic on Dec. 11 — will have to close dur­ing its first week­end of ex­is­tence.

Le­gat and Jégo don't seem that shaken.

“We can't back out now,” says Jégo, who su­per­vised the whole food side of the project. “The ball is al­ready rolling.”

The pair's lo­ca­tion choice was brazen in any case.

“It's a real gam­ble,” sighs

Le­gat, di­rec­tor of par­ent events com­pany La Lune Rousse. “We're clearly out of our com­fort zone.”

The team heard of a free 16,145-square-foot space, in­clud­ing a 5,380-square-foot ter­race, on the Champs-Elysées, in the soon-to-be-shut Ga­lerie

26. De­spite be­ing one of Paris' main tourist at­trac­tions, the shop­ping thor­ough­fare, home to brands in­clud­ing Louis Vuit­ton, Ap­ple and Nike, isn't known for its trendy nightlife.

“We thought that it could be fun to try to bring the con­cept to an area that is quite bland and ruled by brands, that has lost its Parisian ori­gins in a way,” con­tin­ues Le­gat. “Why not try to find some sort of au­then­tic­ity? Maybe we'll man­age to bring Parisians back to the Champs-Elysées.”

Since its first venue in 2014, Ground Con­trol spe­cial­izes in tem­po­rary takeovers of va­cant spa­ces all over Paris. The cur­rent open­ing at the Halle Charo­lais in the 12th ar­rondisse­ment, a 64,580-square-foot space filled with bars, restau­rants, bou­tiques and even a veg­etable gar­den, is set to close at the end of 2019, when it will be trans­formed into hous­ing.

The Ground Con­trol des Champs, which boasts a res­tau­rant, a bar, a cof­fee shop, a con­cept store and an art space all built in re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, will be open for nine months, be­fore the Ga­lerie 26 closes for ren­o­va­tion.

“We hope that we'll be able to at­tract a dif­fer­ent pop­u­la­tion,” says Jégo, who will di­vide his time be­tween the pop-up space and his res­tau­rant L'Ami Jean on the Left Bank. “Tourists, but also an in­ter­na­tional clien­tele that wants to sam­ple French gas­tron­omy.”

Whereas pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tions fo­cused on street food, Ground Con­trol des Champs prides it­self on pro­vid­ing Miche­lin-stan­dard cui­sine for an af­ford­able price. The set menu, cre­ated by Jégo and priced at 15 eu­ros, fea­tures clas­sic dishes from L'Ami Jean, such as Jégo's sig­na­ture salted caramel rice pud­ding, along­side be­spoke cre­ations.

The chef called in a num­ber of lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors to pro­vide pro­duce both for the 80-seat res­tau­rant and the deli counter, such as Julien Duboué of boulan­gerie Boulom or Ai­tana for char­cu­terie.

The drinks menu will of­fer beer by lo­cal brew­ery Gal­lia as well as a se­lec­tion of nat­u­ral wines, and the café will serve steam­ing cups of GramGram artisan cof­fee.

“For me, French gas­tron­omy is also about sit­ting on a pub­lic bench and hav­ing a good con­ver­sa­tion around good prod­ucts,” says Jégo, who first met Le­gat through the Refugee Food Fes­ti­val, which has a per­ma­nent booth at the ex­ist­ing Ground Con­trol. “A good wine and a bit of hu­man­ity.”

“The real lux­ury nowa­days is time,” adds Le­gat, who is plan­ning on re­lax­ing with his team on the ter­race as soon as the sun comes out. “Slow­ing down, hav­ing a chat to­gether, en­joy­ing the mo­ment. That's what lux­ury is about for us.”

Let's hope the “gilets jaunes” are on the same page.

De­nis Le­gat and chefStéphane Jégo at Ground Con­trol desChamps.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.