In this issue: Paris, Paris, and more Paris….
Stay: Montmartre luxury
Finding the entrance to the new Hotel Particulier Montmartre is a bit like Harry Potter getting to platform 9 3/4 on his way to Hogwarts — look hard to find the long secret passage that lets you into a gorgeous garden surrounding a directoire-style town house in the middle of always-happening Montmartre. This place only has five rooms, but each one is sensational — a super-luxe, urbane suite designed by a local avant-garde artist. (Our favorite rooms were the handiwork of Olivier Saillard and Natascha Lesuer.) To relax, spend some time in the Reading Room, which is filled with first-rate books on art, fashion, painting, design, and architecture. Rooms from 290 euros.
Drink: In Canal St-Martin, a new hot spot
A few years back, the cognoscenti predicted that Canal St-Martin would become the next neighborhood to go from working-class stomping ground to fashionable hang out. The prediction came true. At the time, Chez Prune was all the rage. Now, the hot new place to sip and swirl expensive liquor is Hôtel du Nord, across the Canal. The place is noirishly atmospheric, with a zinc bar and dark velvet curtains. The wine list is deep, the vodka selection vast, and there are non-alcoholic drinks for those who don’t imbibe.
See: A castle gets a makover
A man sitting next to me in a Paris bar once remarked, “You Americans have no culture, n’est-ce-pas?” Besides the rock ‘n’ roll blaring in the background, his Levis, and the trip to Vegas he blathered on about, I suppose he had a point. Especially if he meant we have no 14th-century castles like the recently restored Chateau de Vincennes, a microcosm of French royalty and nobility just west of Paris. The former digs of Louis XIV, and every other Louis you can think of, has the tallest keep on the continent and is surrounded by an exceptional park. I guess the closest thing we have in the States would be . . . Neverland?
Eat: Americans in Paris
Speaking of Louis, the curiously named Louis 2 restaurant in the Hotel de la Tremoille is back and better than ever. We’d even say the place has a few modern American touches — lots of light salads, “finger” desserts, a jazz bar with a snack menu, and a kitchen open from noon to 11 p.m. The contemporary space is done up in dashing cappuccino and plum colors with lots of deep sofas for lounging about. The head toque is Frederic Duca. No, we don’t know who he is either, but he makes a mean lobster brandade. Prix-fixe menu is 35 euros.
Shop: Native girl gets Paris creds
After nearly 20 years in the United States, French designer Catherine Malandrino has finally come home, opening her first boutique in Paris. Malandrino got her start in Paris, working for Emanuel Ungaro, among others, before heading to the U.S. to be Diane von Furstenberg’s right-hand woman. Since 1998, she’s had her own eponymous label, churning out the strappy sandals and feminine dresses that drive celeb clients like Madonna, Uma Thurman and Heidi Klum nuts. Malandrino’s clever blouses and sweaters start at $245 USD.
Play: On the 6th, a party till dawn
The City of Light lives up to its name when it hosts the annual Nuit Blanche on October 6. In a very un-French move, museums, monuments, restaurants, and public transportation stay open all night long. This year’s theme is street and digital art, and there will be plenty of both in public spaces around the Olympiades station — the newest station on the #14 Metro line. To see where you have carte blanche on Nuit Blanche, consult the Web site.
Photo credits: (1) Courtesy of Hotel Particulier Montmartre; (2) Courtesy of Catherine Malandrino.