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Gastronomy Chef | Paris
Legendary French chef, Alain Ducasse shares his favourite ways to spend 24 hours in Paris.
Originally from Southwestern France, chef Alain Ducasse has built an empire of restaurants, cooking schools, cookbooks, and TV appearances that have given him a worldwide reputation and culinary reach. Holding over twenty Michelin stars to his name, he is one of the world’s most globally recognisable chefs and has opened a succession of international restaurants as far-flung as New York, London, Saint Petersburg, Monaco, Doha, Saint-Tropez, and Hong Kong. In Paris, his highly acclaimed eateries include the panoramic Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, the historic Aux Lyonnais brasserie, and his exquisite fine dining restaurants within Hôtel Le Meurice and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Having launched an inspirational book series about his favourite Parisian addresses, “J’aime Paris,” the chef shares his ideal way to spend 24 hours in Paris.
RV: Which Parisian hotel do you like to wake up in?
AD: I’m the Executive Chef at Hotel Le Meurice (228 rue de Rivoli, 75001), so if I had to wake up in a hotel room in Paris, this would be my choice. Located across from the Jardin des Tuileries, the Louis XVI-style rooms will transport you back in time. This Parisian hotel is magical and true to the French art de vivre. I also like a hotel by the Châteaux & Hôtels Collection, Hotel Le Chateaubriand (6,rue Chateaubriand, 75008), located in a cosy, narrow street parallel to the Champs-Élysées. Despite being in the heart of the Parisian bustle, you’ll find yourself stepping back in time within this 19th-century building, decorated with antique objects and precious fabrics.
RV: Where would you take a coffee or breakfast to start the day?
AD: Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006), where French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre used to visit often. On the terrace, I’ll have a cappuccino with foam that looks like a soufflé and a slice of Parisian baguette with salted butter. This is the best way to start the day.
RV: Which areas do you like to walk around in Paris?
AD: This is the contrast that I like the most about Paris. The contrasting neighbourhoods: from the magnificent views of the Champs-Elysées, to the maze of passages in the 10th arrondissement, for example. Also the contrasting times of day and seasons: in Paris, I love the poetry of Canal Saint-Martin on an autumn morning, and the busy Pont des Arts on a summer’s evening. I think I could make a complete list of all of the streets of Paris with the same level of enthusiasm.
RV: Where do you like to go for lunch?
AD: I usually like to dine at authentic Parisian bistros. With its zinc counter from the 1930s, antique ceramic tiles and two intimate dining rooms where you can eat elbow-to-elbow, Allard (41 rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006) is a truly historic place. You can eat typical classic French bourgeoise cuisine, accented with warmth and generosity. The menu pays tribute to the richness of the regional soil, the way that Martha and Marcel Allard wanted it to be. I am very fond of this bistro.
RV: What are a few unmissable places to visit in Paris in the afternoon?
AD: Firstly, I love the Marché Raspail (Boulevard Raspail, 75006) as you’ll find producers passionate about their trade and who are obsessed with quality. Food vendors take over a section of the Boulevard Raspail, where you can buy hamdmade English muffins, beautiful organic vegetables, roast suckling pig and very good farmhouse cheeses. I also love the Musée Nissim de Camondo as it pays homage to French cuisine. Stroll through the historic kitchens of the mansion of Count Moise de Camondo, admiring the tableware, the porcelain crockery and the collection of brass cookware.
RV: What restaurant would you go to for dinner?
AD: Chez Lasserre (17 Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75008) by René Lasserre, as this ancient bistro is a mythical table in Paris, renowned worldwide. Today, chef Christophe Moret and his team offer pitch-perfect, refined French cuisine in an elegant setting.
RV: Where do you like to go for drinks ?
AD: I would go to Mama Shelter (109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020), designed by Philippe Starck. Enjoy the New York-style atmosphere, take a place at the bar to watch the incredible slate ceiling tagged with chic graffiti, play some fierce foosball ... and just have a great time with friends.
Interview: Enrique Nalda
Photography: Pierre Monetta
Interview first published in RedVisitor Magazine: Issue One - Purchase Now
M O R E I N T E R V I E W S . . .