Japanese curry in a hipster setting.
After the Petit Palais' last marvellous exhibition, it's pulled out all the stops for a truly five-star experience. The theme? Paris. The line-up? It’s Franco-Batavian and seriously impressive: over 115 works by Van Gogh, Mondrian, Scheffer, Van Dongen, Millet and Cezanne, to name but a few. This rich chronological 19th-century collection makes the links between freshly arrived Dutch artists and the Parisian masters. Paris, a city where all is possible, transformed the conservative and out-dated attitudes of the Dutch artists and rather than carrying on the tradition of their elders, they set a great artistic revolution in motion. Take Van Gogh for example, who painted the Butte Montmartre in a pointillist style at the end of the 19th century, or Mondrian, who plunged himself into his own interpretation of cubism. This is a mesmerising deep-dive into the Pigalle of yesteryear.
Fernando de Tomaso is as comfortable in hospitality as Messi is on the football pitch. After Pulperia and Biondi, the ebullient French-Argentinian chef has a new address in his arsenal: Bar de Biondi, right next to the eponymous restaurant. There's stellar seafood tapas: think killer ceviche, tasty oysters and marinated sardines, as well as crunchy croquetas and beef tataki. Drinks-wise, order a French or Argentinian natural wine or a South American cocktail mixed by expert bartender Alexandre (formerly of 1K). The selection includes the excellent olé pisco (pisco, lemon and coriander), mezcal tiki (mezcal, tequila and lemon) and paloma (tequila, grapefruit and raspberry) – all at a wallet-friendly €8-10. There was even a complimentary chicken terrine from the owner. We were bowled over by Bar de Biondi.
This retrospective of César Baldaccini at Centre Pompidou is one of the most anticipated of the year.
The Paris hotel game is competitive. Guest houses, hostels, 5* palaces, Airbnb. This mindfield means you can never really be sure you’re getting the best experience for your buck. You’re done with the hostel life, hotels are too same-same and Airbnbs are often rather different when you turn up… so, what else is there? Well, Paris Boutik has created something that’s bang in between the two. The luxury and originality of a boutique hotel, with the intimacy and freedom of an Airbnb. Plus, these places are about as original as they come. How often do you get to stay in an actual bookshop or vintage food store? La Librairie, in the heart of the Marais (next door to the Marché des Enfants Rouges and Carreau du Temple etc) is a bookworm's paradise. A huge space for two (but with room for 4), you can sleep in amongst 4500 tomes. There’s a small kitchen with the essentials, a Nespresso machine for that all important wake up, plus a microwave, mini-fridge, and utensils to eat meals around the table. A clean and bright bathroom will put those suspect Airbnb showers to shame and the bed promises to be more comfortable than your own. The shelves hold several old and rare books, and there’s unique comic book art decorating the walls. It’s safe to say, Paris Boutik now own the hashtag #bookporn. The suite used to be a former hotel (as the entrance tiles will tell you), and the company have kept the beautiful beams and parquet floor, so it feels that much more Parisian. And like a gen
Sexy and delicious dishes that will transport you to Jerusalem for an hour or two.
No selfies, no crowds, just you and the magic.
An exhibition dedicated entirely to pastels is rare – partly because they are so difficult to preserve and so often stay hidden away in museum archives. But the Petit Palais is an exception, presenting 130 works from pastel’s second Golden Age, around the nineteenth century. Take a journey through symbolism, impressionism and realism and leave in awe of the depth and light of this difficult medium. The selection of artists is impressive: Redon, Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Morisot, to name but a few. It’s a feast for the senses – Degas (the undisputed king of pastel) juxtaposes colours and figures, but go up close and it’s an abstract wonder. Redon, another great, is proof that the less detail added, the more the viewer is free to embellish the image with their imagination. Each work is unmissable.
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