Stroll around the Palais-Royal or reserve a Cédric Grolet croissant: The cofounder of the legendary Colette concept store reveals her secrets for enjoying the French capital.
What does the word ‘Paris’ evoke for you?
Paris is magical! (I’m not afraid of clichés!)
Your first memory of Paris?
agnès b. on rue du Jour in the 1980s.
Where do you feel most at home?
What is the mark of a true Parisian?
Someone who simply walks through the city making new discoveries in every arrondissement, who isn’t afraid to blend in with the tourists at Café de Flore or to venture down the secret alleys behind the Buttes-Chaumont.
Which famous figure best embodies Paris?
I’m thinking of [Swedish-French artist] André Saraiva, even though he spends a lot of time abroad. And the artist Invader, who knows Paris like the back of his hand, plays with the city, and remains mysterious.
Your favorite place for breakfast?
Télescope Café, rue Villédo, for its great coffee
Where are the best boutiques?
Lastre Sans Apostrophe, rue de Grenelle; Ogata and Castor-fleuriste, rue Debelleyme; Le Tampographe Sardon, rue du Repos; Chantelivre, rue de Sèvres; Librarie Delamain, rue Saint-Honoré; and Yvon Lambert, rue des Filles du Calvaire. Also Brigitte Tanaka, rue Saint-Roch; Café Verlet, rue Saint-Honoré; Caractère de Cochon, rue Charlot; and Folderol, rue du Grand-Prieuré.
Guests at your dream dinner party in Paris?
JR, Pharrell Williams, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, whom I’ve just brought together for the Just Phriends sale! I’d like this conversation to continue...
Where do you go out in Paris?
CRAVAN, boulevard Saint-Germain; Maison Sota Atsumi, rue Saint-Hubert; YEN, rue Saint-Benoît; Kunitoraya, rue Villédo; Le Mary Celeste, rue Commines; Toraya, rue Saint-Florentin; and Les Deux Abeilles, rue de l’Université.
Which artwork best represents Paris?
La Fée Électricité (1937), by Raoul Dufy. Or [Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle’s] La Fontaine Stravinsky (1983): something out of the ordinary...
What is the craziest thing you have seen or heard in the streets of Paris?
The diving competition in the Seine.
What can you only do in Paris?
Stroll through the gardens of the Palais-Royal when the magnolias are in bloom, admiring Monsieur Lagerfeld’s library 7L.
What do you miss most about Paris when you are away?
The light when you cross the bridges; the Eiffel Tower that I can see from my bed; the smell of bread when you walk along rue du Cherche-Midi, near Poilâne.
Your best advice for those just visiting?
Book a Cédric Grolet croissant in advance so you don’t have to queue; get a delivery from Mamiche; go to Twenty-Two Club, which overlooks the Palais Royal, and get a personalized bag at L/UNIFORM, quai Voltaire.
Interview provided by Art Basel official website.