From nautical galas in the 30s to urban art in the 90s, #MolitorbyMGallery was given a new lease of life in 2014, ensuring of course that its original architecture and spirit were retained. Once the best known swimming pool in Paris, until it closed in the eighties, this is a hotel unlike any other. The #Molitor is a vision with its mustard yellow facade, white balustrades and tiers of changing cubicles, inside, restored Art Deco stained glass of sporting activities meets graffiti, a souvenir of the artists who squatted the building in the Nineties, with specially commissioned graffiti-adorned function room in the basement, including a ‘graffitised’ Rolls-Royce in reception. Unique!
From March 8th to August 23rd, 2015 the #PalaisGalliera, in close collaboration with #AlberElbaz, artistic director of #Lanvin, is honouring the oldest French fashion house still in business. This first Paris exhibition devoted to #JeanneLanvin (1867-1946) features over a hundred models from the amazing collections of the #PalaisGalliera and #Lanvin Heritage. #JeanneLanvin used travel diaries, swatches of ethnic fabrics and a vast library of art books to feed her curiosity and inspire her to create fabrics, patterns and exclusive colours. Her work reflects true artistry demonstrating an understanding of all the required traits of the Couturier’s craft. A capacity for hard work and an intuitive understanding of the modern women of the time go some way to explaining the extraordinary success of this most discreet of women.
Métro: Léna ou Alma-Marceau or Boissière
To get you into the true spirit of Paris and its long-lasting love affair with fashion we suggest reading a French classic, #EmileZola, The Ladies’ Delight (#AuBonheurdesDames). The novel tells the story of Denise Baudu, a 20-year-old woman who comes to Paris and begins working as a saleswoman at the department store Au Bonheur des Dames. Denise’s story is played against the career of Octave Mouret, the owner of the Store, whose retail innovations and expansion threaten the existence of the neighbourhood shops. His aim is to overwhelm the senses of his female customers, forcing them to spend by bombarding them with an array of buying choices and by juxtaposing goods in enticing and intoxicating ways. Massive advertising, huge sales, home delivery and experiential additions such as a reading room and a cafe further induce his female clientele to patronize his store in growing numbers. Emile Zola brings to pulsating life the glittering and chic department store based on #LeBonMarché, designed by Eiffel and still thriving today.
Metro: Servres Babylone
Of course no visit to the capital of fashion would be complete without a visit to our favourite new concept store #Spree. #RobertaOprandi’s selection of clothes and accessories, from hip labels like Acne, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Carven, Helmut Lang and Margiela’s MM6, are casually stretched out over pieces of classic 50s designer furniture by Eames, Paulin et al (also for sale). There are also changing artworks on the walls.
Just opened in Paris’ Haut Marais neighbourhood is the quirkily cool, Parisian bistro, #LesChouettes. The three-story restaurant and cocktail bar feel like a modern rendition of the archetypal Parisian art deco lounge. From the ground-floor restaurant situated beneath a soaring glass ceiling, a winding staircase leads to the second and third floors, where you can enjoy a drink at the old-world cocktail bar and lounge, dotted with leather armchairs, vintage globes, and an impressive library collection. A perfect spot to enjoy the spring sunshine; albeit through a glass ceiling, with a warming roaring fire which will keep out the still slightly chilly weather.
Metro: Filles du Calvaire or Oberkampf
You reach #Le Ballroom via an unmarked black door and down a spiral staircase beneath the #Beefclub restaurant. Here, well beyond signal range, you’ll find red brick walls, an ornate tiled ceiling and a gleaming collection of spirits and liqueurs, which all create the perfect setting for this dimly-lit speakeasy-style cocktail bar. Waistcoat-wearing bartenders serve up drinks and banter at the comptoir, or there are Chesterfield sofas at candlelit tables for more intimacy. The drinks menu is on the pricey side, but the mixology delivers. The eclectic playlist might feature rap, funk, soul or jazz making this an atmospheric place to grab a drink.
Métro: Châtelet or Les Halles
The ‘Hôtel Particulier’ that houses #LeCarmen is an opulent, rococo architectural gem, built at the height of Empire decadence in 1875, where Bizet wrote his famous opera. Hip bar, decorator #AntoinePlateau was given carte blanche to enhance the decadent décor and he has outdone himself, with beds in the salons, golden cages hanging from the ceiling, Renaissance sofas and red velvet everywhere. The entertainment line-up is as impressive as the decor, spanning artistic performances, DJ sets and acoustic concerts. The cocktail menu is brilliantly creative, if not cheap, but you don’t come here to slum it. Just look around the bar: models, hipsters and VIP party-goers all air-kissing each other.
Métro: Pigalle or Blanche