A Little Piece of Mine
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Under a Cloud: Kumo

Lamenting the propensity for sad old black umbrellas on the streets of Paris and beyond, designer Mathilde Fiessenger and photographer Paul Frey resolved to do something about it. They set up Kumo (‘cloud’ in Japanese), convincing a few artistic French chums, including Morse, Frédérique Vernillet, Adèle Beauvineau and Check Morris, to create dramatic designs to grace their fabric canopies. Cocktail Droit is a riot of pineapples, planes and umbrella-toting cocktails, Ces Dames is sombre black on top with sirens sun-baking and sashaying on the white underside, and Pluie Tropicale has cheeky monkeys and roaring tigers up top to drive off rain drops. The parasols with their beechwood handles are all proudly made in France, and make it just that much nicer to come in out of the rain…or sun. From €120, including delivery.

Kumo

Bake That: Café Marlette

In 2009, sisters Margot and Scarlette Joubert cooked up the idea to bag organic ingredients to make breads, cakes and biscuits for cooks who were too time poor to bake, and non-cooks whose idea of homebaked bread was oven thawing a frozen loaf. They looked to their childhood home of the Île de Ré, a photogenic collection of white-washed houses, old ports, pine forests and sandy beaches, to furnish as many ingredients as possible; the naturally ground flours come from buckwheat, barley, and wheat grown on an organic farm down the road from their workshop in La Rochelle, the salt is the famed fleur de sel d’Ile Ré, while certain spices, sugars, dried fruits, and chocolate hail from sustainable, eco-friendly ventures outside the region. Costa Rica, for example, supplies the cane sugar for the gluten-free, golden-coloured rapadura cake. The sisters are nit-picky about what they put in their feed bags, pushing a healthy, wholegrain approach. The Marlette sachets for buckwheat blinis, orange gingerbread, English scones, fennel bread, apricot and fig cereal bars etc (just add the eggs, butter or milk) can be found on the shelves of  gourmet stores throughout Paris, but thesedays you can also try before you buy at Café Marlette. The Joubert’s comfy little shopfront just down from Pigalle serves up wholesome breakfasts (boiled egg with rustic own bread toasties), brunch (pancakes with honey and berries, or a side of smoked salmon), and sweet treats (gluten-free chocolate fondant), as well as daily soup, salad, and sandwich choices. Coutume coffee and Løv Organic teas also on the menu. 51 rue des Martyrs, 75009, Closed Mon.

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Chill Factor: Pierre Hermé

Pastry princeling Pierre Hermé is best known for his macarons, but seems he’s an ice cream maven too. Thus we have Miss Gla’Gla, a new take on the old ice cream sandwich which sees macaron biscuits deputising for the traditional wafers. Miss Gla’Gla Montebello features swirls of pistachio ice cream and strawberry sorbet between pale green macarons, Isaphan is a mix of rose and raspeberry sorbets wedged between his famous Isaphan macaron, Mogador throws milk chocolate ice cream, passionfruit sorbet and caramelised roasted pineapple together with fruity macaron sheets, Miléna combines zingy fresh mint ice cream and red berry sorbet. Then there’s Infiniment gang of three: Citron (ice cream and almond paste made from sunny Menton lemons with lemony macaron), Vanille (vanilla ice cream and almond paste with vanilla macaron) and Café (coffee ice cream, almond paste and macaron). Summer in a sandwich. Thoughtfully, M. Hermé has tubs of  ice creams and sorbets on hand, which come in specially insulated packaging guaranteed to maintain an ice cream friendly temperature for approximately 45 minutes. Perfect for that spontaneous ice cream-only picnic. Miss Gla’Gla at €6.90, tubs (235ml & 940ml) from €7.50.

Pierre Herme

A King of a Bar: Kong

Floating amid Paris rooftops, six floors up above the Seine,  Kong has the location, location, location thing all wrapped up. That view across Pont Neuf coupled with the (refreshed) Philippe Starke décor just keeps the crowds clambering morning, noon and night. The  cushy, open to the sky terrace is perfect on a sunshine-filled spring day for a melon and coconut smoothie or come the apéro hour, a tatin martini (vanilla vodka, apple juice, caramel syrup and a sploge of apple compote).

Melon coco

Heaven Scent: Ex Nihilo

The French may not have invented perfume but over time they have perfected the art. In the 1600s, Louis XV presided over the “perfumed court”–so named because of the extravagant use of scents to mask the pong of the posh and their entourage. Come the 18th century the French adopted eau de cologne–bathing in it, drinking it (in wine), eating it (on sugar cubes) and using it for general cleaning duties (both as mouthwash and enema!). Fast forward through the perfume houses of Worth, Caron, Guerlain, Chanel, Dior, Serge Lutens, Frédéric Malle, Francis Kurkdjian to Ex Nihilo. Genius, so they say, is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple and Ex Nihilo have inhaled that philosophy, settling on just 8 fragrances. Each scent (“Cologne 352″, “Fleur Narcotique”, “Rose Hubris”…) can be personalised, with the addition of orange blossom, iris, white musk, jasmine, May rose, sandalwood or vanilla. You decide. Then choose your bottle and, if you want, have it laser labelled. The oh-so sweet smell of Parisian bespoke. 352 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 

Ex Nihlo

Paris by the Book

Anne Charlotte de Langhe, editor-in-chief of Figarscope, Le Figaro’s weekly must-read of what’s going on in the city, knows a thing or 100 about Paris and its charms. Les 100 choses à avoir fait au moins 1 fois dans sa vie à Paris (100 things to do in Paris at least once in your life), with completely adorable illustrations by Bertrand de Miollis, is her hit list. While there are a few tried and true suggestions (wander Paris’ atmospheric covered passages such as Véro Dodat, shop at cutting-edge Colette, buy an ice-cream from Berthillon on the Ile St-Louis), there’s much to ponder and attempt at least once… maybe twice.

  • Discover the graffii along the route of La Petite Ceinture (the “Little Belt”, a wild, abandoned train track).
  • Stand in front of Serge Gainsbourg‘s house in rue de Verneuil (warbling of “Bonnie & Clyde” or “Lemon Incest” optional).
  • Catch the funiculaire to Montmartre but be sure to be squeezed between two excited Japanese tourists.
  • Savour a mojito in the bar of Le Meurice (so hushed and totally clubby).
  • Buy flowers from Rungis, the wholesale food market in the Paris burbs.
  • Go to thé Café des Chats in the 3rd (a tea room with a dozen or so rescued cats purring about; side of fur balls is free!).
  • Devour a côte de boeuf for two at Chez Denise – La Tour de Montlhéry (a red-checked tablecloth classic in Les Halles).
  • Marvel at, and eat ever so slowly, a Paris-Brest from Philippe Conticini’s La Pâtisserie des Rêves.
  • Gobble pommes ­allumettes (matchstick chippies) at L’Ami Louis.
  • Order the œuf mayo (eggs mayonnaise) at riverside Le Voltaire.
  • Buy something in the myriad alleys of the mythical St-Ouen flea market.100 choses