T R A V E L / l o c a l e x p e r t s
MY PERFECT DAY IN PARIS
Holding over twenty Michelin stars to his name, chef Alain Ducasse is one of the world’s most globally recognisable chefs. He has opened a succession of international restaurants as far-flung as New York, London, Saint Petersburg, Monaco, Doha, Saint-Tropez and Hong Kong, and has built an empire of cooking schools, cookbooks and TV appearances. The legendary French chef shares with us his ideal way to spend 24 hours in Paris.
Which hotel would you like to wake up in?
AD: I’m the Executive Chef at Hotel Le Meurice, 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, 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.
Where would you take a coffee or breakfast to start the day?
AD: I love Café de Flore, 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.
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.
Where do you love to go for lunch in Paris?
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 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.
What are a few unmissable places to visit in Paris in the afternoon?
AD: Firstly, I love the Marché Raspail 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.
Which restaurant do you love to go to for dinner?
AD: Chez Lasserre 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.
Where do you like to go for drinks after dinner?
AD: I would go to Mama Shelter, 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.
ALAIN'S PARIS ADDRESS BOOK
3. Favourite Areas:
Champs-Elysées, Canal Saint-Martin & Pont des Arts
4. Favourite Places For Lunch:
41 rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
+33 1 58 00 23 46
5. Favourite Things To Do:
Rue du Cherche-midi - Rue de Rennes,
Musée Nissim de Camondo
63 rue de Monceau, 75008 Paris
+33 1 53 89 06 50
6. Favourite For Dinner:
17 Ave. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75008 Paris
+33 1 43 59 02 13
7. Favourite For Drinks:
109 rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris
+33 1 43 48 48 48
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