Also known as the Latin Quarter, the 5th arrondissement is home to the Sorbonne university and student-filled cafes. It’s also known for its bookshops, including the famed Shakespeare & Company. Family-friendly attractions include the Jardin des Plantes botanical gardens and the National Museum of Natural History. The stately Panthéon building holds the remains of notables like Voltaire and Marie Curie.
This townhouse dating from 1925 was designed for long stays and has retained a considerable advantage from the past: space. While the Paris hotel industry juggles with increasingly smaller rooms, the Raphael luxuriates in all those square metres. The wear and tear of time has not harmed this majestic place where the past reigns supreme: the sculpted-wood elevator still has its velvet bench, for example. The spirit of Serge Gainsbourg also floats in the hotel (he stayed in room 501-502 for several months, preparing his album for Vanessa Paradis and going behind the bar to pass on his cocktail recipes to the staff and clients of the BAR ANGLAIS). But the Raphael’s real hidden treasure can be found on its roof: LA TERRASSE, totally renovated in the summer of 2017 and open from May to September, is a discreet restaurant with a view of Paris. Its tables are scattered among trees and open to non-guests from noon to 11pm (the menu now includes a vegan dish). During the same months, the rooftop bar is open from noon and has two VIP tables that can be discreetly requested. There is a gluten-free option for afternoon tea. The owners, Madame Baverez and her daughter, Véronique Beauvais-Valcke, also own the VILLA & HÔTEL MAJESTIC (30, rue La Pérouse, 16th, tel 01 45 00 83 70), redecorated by Paul Sartres and also recommended.
Fauré le Page
Gunsmith and armourer since 1717, Fauré Le Page supplied ceremonial swords and shields, luxury game bags, pistols and holsters to the European aristocracy, the kings of France, Napoleon’s marshals and Russian grand dukes – and armed the revolutionaries of 1789 and 1830. It has featured in the novels of Balzac, Dumas and even Pushkin, with Sarah Bernhardt one of its loyal customers, quite a history. These artistic and literary types would certainly appreciate the house’s new venture into leather goods with its motto: “armed for seduction”. This time though, it’s bags decorated with heart grenades, handbags with a pistol-shaped pochette on the front for your keys or credit cards, a fun range of “medals of seduction” to mark an impulse, a sudden love or a stroke of luck, and updated dance cards bearing the scale motif that is one of the brand’s signatures. Don’t miss the shopper for going to the market, or the mink and brass pochette, perfect for sparking things off in the evening. Made in France, combining skilled craftsmanship, history and humour, Fauré Le Page products are available in its oak-panelled store, where awards it has won internationally and some of its historic pieces are on display, all watched over by a bear umbrella stand, symbol of the place’s chivalric backstory. Also related in a series of little books it has produced.
The restaurants owned by Laurent Gourcuff and Gilles Malafosse (including Loulou and Monsieur Bleu) are like films starring the same actors. Decorator Joseph Dirand, for example, creates new arrangements for his favourite themes: Art Deco and the Viennese spirit meet the grand Parisian cafés of the 1930s. The setting for Girafe (the Cité de l’Architecture) is just right, with its pilasters, cream-coloured banquettes and beautiful marble bar. The exclamation point is provided by the Eiffel Tower, served on a silver platter to delighted diners on the Trocadéro terrace. The food keeps a low profile in this superb setting, with an emphasis on seafood, featuring such dishes as shellfish platters; baked cod with morels, chanterelles and St George’s mushrooms; and grilled octopus with aioli and summer vegetables. The charming service is overseen by Mathieu Foureau (previously of Thoumieux and the Crillon), and the terrace is a beaut. The bill is a beaut, too, but the setting alone is worth the price.
This gallery, which originally focused on photographers – including Nobuyoshi Araki, Stephen Shore, Larry Clark and Martin Parr – has gradually opened up to other contemporary art genres. Now on the first floor of a town house in Saint-Germain, Mennour represents artists as renowned as Daniel Buren, Anish Kapoor, François Morellet, Huang Yong Ping, Shen Yuan, Martial Raysse, Claude Lévêque, Alfredo Jaar, Michel François, Sigalit Landau and Tadashi Kawamata, as well as emerging talents Mohamed Bourouissa, Camille Henrot and David Hominal. New arrival: the Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens. Other location: 6, rue du Pont de Lodi, 6th, tel 01 56 24 03 63
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