Where were you born?
I was born in Mexico City and raised in New York City.
Where do you live?
In Paris, in a gritty area filled with cigarette hustlers, popcorn entrepreneurs, fake glitter shops, Afro hair salons and sidewalk reconstruction. This neighbourhood is known as Barbès-Rochechouart.
If money were no object, where would you live?
If cash always flowed in abundance I would live in hotel suites around the world.
Which city is your favourite shopping destination?
New York is the one and only shopping destination where you can find anything, and I do mean anything. New York is a city where the drinks are free but you’ve gotta pay for the sunsets.
Which are your favourite Paris stores?
My coffee fix is an essential morning element so I go to a shop in the first arrondissement to buy coffee beans: Café Verlet, 256 rue Saint-Honoré. All the photo shops along boulevard Beaumarchais, not one in particular – I like going there at times to find old cameras and photo gadgets. I walk from République towards Bastille on one side of the street and then back on the other side. Artcurial, rond-point des Champs-Élysées – they have a fantastic selection of art books.
And your favourite restaurants?
Chez Janou near place des Vosges for the show and mousse au chocolat. Le Baribal on rue Vaugirard for my teenage culinary memories of my first visit to Paris. Lately, I have become fond of a little Japanese spot my 10-year-old daughter took me to. They have very funny-looking Japanese pastries, which she loves. It is called Toraya on rue Saint-Florentin. I like going there just to see my daughter’s delight at their sucreries [sweets].
Do you have a favourite local café or bar?
I used to live on boulevard Saint-Germain in a flat that felt like a hull of a ship. Le Quebec became my local café. Situated on rue Bonaparte, the spirit of old Saint-Germain-des-Prés lingers there. Sadly, the characters, or, as they are called in French, les detraqués, are slowly dying, literally. I like revisiting this place and drinking beer and watching the people.
Where do you take out-of-town friends?
I like to take my friends to places which evoke memories; for example the area near and around UNESCO has wonderful large streets which feel very much Paris and at the same time anonymous – it is a very strange combination. I really like this feel.
Do you have a favourite Paris walk?
Depends on the time of the year. I like walking along the quais [quays] in the winter because the light is very special.
Which do you think is the best attraction in Paris?
The Eiffel Tower. It is solid steel yet it seems not real, it seems like an illusion, especially at night when it glimmers. It is the romantic notion of Paris materialised. It is a dream.
Which do you think is the best museum in Paris?
For quantity, the Louvre. For quality, the Museé Gustave-Moreau – they have a fantastic bathroom there.
Which person from Paris do you most admire?
No person in particular, but, rather, the idea of the literary and artistic tradition as embodied in the many personages that have at one point or another lived here throughout history.
Where do you most like to travel for inspiration?
Any place I have not seen before.