Eyebrows were raised in October, when Luc Besson’s luxe First movie theater opened in the new Aeroville mall near Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris. For €25, First gives you a spacious leather seat, a smoked salmon and tarama snack, and a flute of Champagne, orderable from a seatside tablet. “Mais c’est la crise!” said the local press, unsure whether such luxuries make sense as France’s economy remains sluggish.
Such questions do not trouble the hotel Le Royal Monceau Raffles, in Paris’s tony 8th arrondissement, with a clientele to match. Here an even posher proposition awaits the film buff, in the private screening room of the Philippe Starck-designed five-star: the just-debuted Sunday Night Film Club.
Consider it a happy accident of timing that a mere week after Time magazine’s men-only Gods of Food issue came out and offended everyone that had a clue, the hottest restaurant guide in Paris, Le Fooding, assembled an august, all-woman panel of eleven chefs, a sommelier and a winemaker to put together a pop-up dinner from November 15-17. Le Clan des Madones, as the event was called, had actually been in the works for six months, and Le Fooding had nothing else in mind for it but to shine a light on the abundant female talent working in France, and raise some money for an orphanage in Brazzaville, Congo. But Time’s article, and a similarly exclusionary piece on “the new French bistro” published the day before in the French newsweekly L’Express, gave the event, held in a macho (and freezing) parking garage in the 15tharrondissement, an added dose of right-on-sisterliness.
Among fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld’s new side projects? A Monte Carlo pool with serious style cred. T+L reports.
“Work is making a living out of being bored,” Karl Lagerfeld once quipped. If that’s the case, he’s been exceedingly bored lately—and focusing his eagle eye on the world of travel. Lagerfeld just unveiled a slick redesign of the pool, patio, and Odyssey restaurant at Hotel Metropole(pictured; $$$$),in Monaco, where he had a house for 10 years and maintains a close friendship with Princess Caroline. Surrounded by the lacy garden rooftops of Monte Carlo, the new space is strikingly graphic, with angular ebony-and-ecru furniture, square umbrellas, and a backlit black-and-white photo mural depicting models in the mode of Odysseus, togas and all.
It’s hard to believe that just a year and a half ago, Mama Shelter was a lone boutique hotel in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, serving up Philippe Starck design, in-room iMacs and high thread count sheets for travelers on a hostel budget. But the Trigano family, who previously set up a little company you may have heard of called Club Med, doesn’t play small.
Now Mama has touched down in Marseille (April, 2012), Istanbul (mid-March, 2013), Lyon (late March, 2013), Bordeaux (October 2013) and eventually Hollywood. Serge Trigano, Mama Shelter’s co-founder with the poet and urban theorist Cyril Aouizerate, made a bet that city tourism would be to the 21stcentury what beach tourism was to the previous one, and with occupancy rates ranging from 85% in Paris to 70% in Marseille, his bet is paying off.
The Parisian beer scene is coming to a head. “France now has more microbreweries than Belgium,” says Simon Thillou, co-owner of La Fine Mousse(6 Ave. Jean Aicard, 11th Arr.), the city’s first bar dedicated to craft brews. Chic cocktail bar Le Mary Celeste(1 Rue Commines, Third Arr.) has Brooklyn Lager on tap. And Peoples Drug Store(78 Rue des Martyrs, 18th Arr.) has tables crowded with chess-boards and bottles of Agent Provocateur on offer.
“There’s a lot of style in Barcelona,” says Niki Robertson, one half of Antiques and Boutiques, a personal shopping and tour company staffed by two longtime expat English fashion designers. “But it’s behind the scenes.” Here, four of their favorite finds.
Blow by Le Swing: Of the three locations of this high-end and mint-condition vintage emporium, the Carrer de Guillem shop has the best collection of accessories and leather goods.
Of the stately chateaux-hotel-restaurants in France—venerable provincial destinations where one gambols among historic gardens and tucks in for a serious dinner—Reims's Les Crayères is the platonic ideal.
The first chef to put the turn of the century house's restaurant on the map was Gerard Boyer, who was at the time of his retirement in 2003, among the longest-running holders of three Michelin stars in the country. His kitchen at Les Crayères trained such future heavyweights as L'Arpège's Alain Passard, Le Pré Catelan's Frédéric Anton and Tom Aikens. "Among the many things Boyer taught me," says Passard, himself the holder of three stars, "is that there should be art in every gesture."
To salute the chef emeritus, Les Crayères gathered Passard, Anton, their current chef, Meilleur Ouvrier de France Philippe Mille, and Boyer himself, to put together a combo-menu, called Transmission et Partage (Inheritance and Sharing), which is on offer at Les Crayères until December 23, after three months of planning.
Voltaire once wrote, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” Paris’s new Pavillon des Lettres takes this spirit to heart, and also pays homage to Voltaire himself, along with 25 other writers who were the inspiration for this chic hotel on a quiet street in the Eighth Arrondissement. Opened by the owners of the nearby Pavillon de la Reine, the 26 sleek guest rooms each channel an international author—from Hans Christian Andersen to Émile Zola—with their prose decorating the walls and their oeuvres on the shelves. Didier Benderli, the protégé of French architect Jacques Garcia, has imbued the hotel with a kind of masculine sexiness (dark velvet furnishings; stone floors).