The City of Lights is celebratedly synonymous with everything associated with the grandest of human emotions, love. And the romanticism seeps through all that we know about art and culture, from the visual arts to dance to architecture, down to critical theory and philosophy. The failure to pigeon-hole this manifique city is one of her perennial draws as she constantly transforms, reinvents and rebirths to reinvigorate and re-entice her dwellers and visitors alike. It is très cliché to say that Paris is one's favourite cities but with her unyielding embrace of all that is elegant and beautiful, it would be a challenge to find another city that does quite the same with this Parisian aplomb.
wee black book : PARIS EDITION
TOKYO WEE BLACK BOOK
D I S C O V E R
FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON/
Basically a "mine is bigger than yours" contest but the arena is art collection housed in an internationally-renowned architect's purpose-built temple. But us, art lovers and generally nosey commoners curious to see how the uber-rich spend their loose change, stand absolutely to gain here. Arnault's eclectic collection is displayed in a archetypal Frank Gehry building while the more-recently unveiled collection of Pinault's is shown in a Tadao Ando-reimagined Bourse de Commerce that is evocatively beautiful and minimalisatically haunting.
PALAIS DE TOKYO
This enfant terrible of Parisian museums is fun, avant garde, seminal and eccentric all at once. Its world-class exhibitions will never bore, neither would its on-premises amenities like the bookstore and oh-so-cool F&B spots in the form of Monsieur Blue and Les Grandes Verres. Oh it also has unblocked views of the famous Tower too.
Karl Lagerfeld was a famous bibliophile who reportedly spent half a million euros on books every year. It is thus quelle surprise that he would want one for himself, and how lucky we are that he did. It is a wondrous peek into his creative genius and a journey through what makes this towering fashion figure tick. Bespokcracy got predictable and took home a gorgeous Chanel coffeetable book but can you blame us?
D I S H
This is a place that gets nouveau Parisian cooking just right by not vying to be at the forefront of culinary trends or claiming to follow some nonna's recipe. The clean sophistication of the decor also sets the tone that this is the place to focus on the food itself. The black truffle arancini with onion cream is a must-order and if you're there with a fellow carnivore, get the côte de boeuf for two which comes with a spot of deserved drama.
LE VENT D'AMOUR
This almost hole-in-the-wall seafood specialist is a bit of a surprise from Nicholas Tribet, who formerly worked in the Elysée Palace. The fact that it is right by the River Seine is quite the apt backdrop too and with the very reasonable prices, we suspect you would make quite a meal out of it.
The OG for the gastropub equivalent for the French institution that is the bistro, and constantly ranked as one of the best in the world (the wallet-friendly prices sure betray this though), Bertrand Grébaut’s ever-evolving restaurant keeps its cool factor high with its seasonal offerings that reflects France's best. If you can't get a table because you were silly enough not to engage Bespokcracy, then settle for second best at the nearby Septime La Cave, a wine bar with gorgeous hor d'oeuvres,
S N O O Z E
HÔTEL DE CRILLION
There is no hyperbole you can throw at this palace hotel that would not be befitting of this hotel of hotels. Emerging from a major renovation and now under Rosewood management, this institution still has its 18th-century heart proudly beating that will have its original owner, the Duke de Crillon, smiling from his grave. The modern injections are predictably top-of-the-line and nothing is too fastidious for its well-heeled guest. We say book one of the Karl Lagerfeld-designed suites and even your room service from the one-starred L'Ecrin will taste even better than it already does.
A grande dame of the hospitality scene in its heydays, this Left Bank palatial Art Deco-Belle Epoque beaut can boast luminaries like (James) Joyce and Matisse as its past residents. It was given a 4-year, €200 million facelift and reopened in 2018 to much fanfare. The glitz and splendour is ever more evident and our favourite spot to take it all in is the Bar Joséphine, so aptly named as Ms. Baker did usher in the Jazz Age for Paris right here in this historic building.
HÔTEL MADAME RÊVE
This 82-key newly-restored property from its previous reincarnation as the Louvre Post Office sits neatly in the most enviable of Rue du Louvre spots that grants it the most spectacular views of historic Paris, especially from its unimaginatively-named ROOF, with your mandatory Vesper in hand.