Where were you born?
What’s best about your Paris neighbourhood?
I used to live in the east of Paris next to Nation and I always thought the 11th district was the liveliest neighbourhood in Paris. I live between there and London now.
Which are your favourite Paris stores?
I can’t go back to Paris without a detour to Mariage Frères on rue du Bourg-Tibourg to get my dose of Marco Polo tea. The shop is set in a small street right in the heart of the Marais and the aroma of tea everywhere is just fantastic. Then I would definitely go for a lemon macaroon, my favourite, at Ladurée on rue Royale and admire the beautifully painted ceiling. For clothes, I love to go to Printemps Nation, very close by on cours de Vincennes; it has a lot of everything but without the frenzy of les grands magasins on Haussmann.
And your favourite restaurants?
Le Cefalu on avenue Philippe Auguste, a Sicilian restaurant not far from where I live where I generally go for special occasions. I never fail to order the hot mozzarella con pomodori and their panna cotta is delicious. For a brasserie, my cantine is Chez Prosper. They serve giant cheese tartines with delicious roasted potatoes. And for special occasions, if you love fish like I do, there’s l’Écailler du Bistrot on rue Paul Bert.
Can you recommend any dishes to try?
Any pâtisserie in Paris will make anyone who loves sugar happy. My personal favourite is the fraisier. And when January is coming, you cannot not taste the galette des Rois available in every patisserie/boulangerie in town that month.
Do you have a favourite local café?
I used to go to the Café des Phares on place de la Bastille all the time. Now you might find me more around the various cafés of Faidherbe-Chaligny.
Where do you take out-of-town friends?
La Coulée verte, a former viaduct refurbished and transformed into a promenade surrounded by flowers, bushes and bamboos that leads from Bois de Vincennes to Bastille.
Where do you like to celebrate?
The parents of a friend of mine have this incredible restaurant, La Casita, on rue Washington by the Champs-Elysées. They put on shows in the evening and we would go and eat, dance, even sing with the act that’s on that night!
Do you have a favourite Paris walk?
La Coulée verte and the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
Which is the best landmark in Paris?
I fell in love with la Sainte-Chapelle when I was 15, but if you don’t want to pay to visit it, you can go to Saint Eustache which isn’t far away, is free and in the same style.
Which do you think is the city’s best museum?
I love Musée Rodin.
Which Parisian do you most admire?
Good question. I’m not sure if she’s Parisian, but if she is, Catherine Ringer.
Are there any secret spots you don’t want out-of-towners to know about?
Well, yes, but then I think there’s no greater joy than sharing the secrets of a city with out-of-towners.
Any places you’d recommend visitors avoid?
L’Arc de Triomphe. Completely dull.
Any advice for visitors?
Open your eyes, look not only at street level but above you, you may see very interesting architectural details, statues or ornaments that few people notice. And just stroll around.
What can’t you live without?
Tell us a secret.
I was always attracted to this house with a tower at the crossing of Île Saint-Louis and boulevard Henri IV and always thought I’d love it to be my house. And then I read Aurélien by Aragon and associated the book with that house.
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