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Mini puts her new coat on - Paris is getting cold!

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SEBASTIAN 3 arr – MERCI

– To be honest I am not really updated on their selection of mens wear, but I know it is much smaller than the women’s section. I mainly come here for the delicious food. Do you know if there is some sort of charity involved by the way?

Sebastian is one of 3 Londoners around the table that is standing in the street, their 2 Friends are French. They all come here at least once a week.

– Yes, I believe most of the profit goes to a village in Madagascar. Do you all live in the area? 

– Yes, more or less. In le Marais, that is also why I come here so often. I work in the same area too, in retail for a German brand , but you don’t have to quote that. haha.

– How long have you been in Paris for?

– 5 months, and I am planning on staying. And you? Want a brownie?

– Brownies and red wine, interesting combination

– Well, haha it is after two o clock in the afternoon so I should be forgiven.

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Open since 2009, Merci is one of Paris’ most recent concept stores. Founded by Marie- France Cohen ( the founder of children’s clothing line Bonpoint), this concept too involves charity.  Housed in a former factory, Merci hosts furniture, clothes, design items and interior pieces, all donated by the designers.  There is also a used-book café which is one of few places in Paris (apart from Starbucks) where one can find comfy sofas.   All profits from the venture goes to a village in Madagascar.  “I want Merci to be a generous place, open to everyone. Therefore, we have a big range of items, from YSL glows and party cups to Scandinavian design from the 50s”, Marie- France Cohen said in 2009.

Address:  111 Boulevard Beaumarchais in the 3rd arr. Métro: Saint- Sébastien-Froissart

SEBASTIEN – 19 arr Café Caché

– Mademoiselle, did you get me in any of your photos? Erase it now or pay me 10 Euros!

– Non monsieur, no worries. I was just photographing that left over piece of corn that you just threw in the street.

In this neighborhood it is not drugs but corn that people are dealing, with all rights, because it tastes really good. But it is raining like crazy and without knowing better, one could say that the initiative to open an urban restaurant in the middle of nowhere, (whatever that means, still being located within Paris), is a bit of a long shot if one aims to attract people also on rainy days.  But that would only be until one realized that it is in the middle of nowhere everything begins.

Sebastien has almost finished his shift and is about to join us for a drink.

– People here are like family, I have been here from the start, for about 1.5 year, and many of us that work here come from EAT at Palais de Tokyo where I used to work. Oh, the chairs by the way, you like them huh? They look Scandinavian don’t they?

–  Mhm, like something from the 50’s. Who is the designer of this place?

– His name is Sebastien Wierinck, he also did EAT  by the way.

– How can one make sure Café Caché also attracts people from this neighborhood, and not only hipsters or art people who read about it in some magazine while sipping on a Perrier?

– I’d say the variety of people is big, and so is the menu – the whole concept is to fit all budgets and tastes, just as for the art center itself.  

– So a regular guy from around the corner shares table with the couple who’s starving for anything that’s branché?

– Yep!

Anyone starving for corn however, should call first, as for tonight, that might be the only thing that’s missing on the menu.

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Café Cahché is a restaurant inside of the art center 104.  The center used to be a funderal home but now houses ateliers and galleries – and perhaps most importantly: the public has the possibility of meeting the artist, and participate in creation. On Sunday nights Café Caché transforms into a bar and hosts different DJs  every week.

Address: 104 rue d’Aubervilliers, Metro: Riquet

RUTH – 10 arr BROC DÉJ

1.10 pm means ten minutes late. It is so hot outside it is hard to hurry. This is without a doubt the last t-shirt brunch of the year.
(sms ->) Sorry, I’m almost there. Thought it was number 80?
(<-sms) It is, but it is kind of off the street.

The court-yard is full of running children, once we get in, there is a long line for orders. This is what brunch in Paris is like. However, people must have had a cup of coffee already at home, since the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. 
– I think we are supposed to choose from the “salty” or “sweet” options on the menu.
– Yes, I’ll see if I can get the two eggs without lardons 

Ruth gets smoked ham and salad, then also a cup with a rose on in which she pours herself some coffee.

– It is really cheap! I have never seen anything like this in Paris. Where can we find a seat?

There is a round table in the middle of the room where two chairs are empty. At first it feels a little bizarre to join the already seated people’s Sunday family gathering, but then, also some other strangers join in.

About 10 minutes later a girl rings the bell and screams out our orders. The whole setting brings back memories to a school break, and with all these children, one kind of feels like grabbing a car and start playing on the floor.

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Every Sunday from 11h to 17h, the Comptoir Général hosts a breakfast / brunch and brocante event in their eco-friendly space. For 6 euros you have an all you can eat Petit Déjeuner with large jars of home-made jams, or choose a single course from the menu.  Address:  80 Quai de Jemmapes in the 10th arr. Metro: Goncourt

EDERN – 2arr WeSC Store

LA BRASSERIE: PART 1

When one gets an invitation to a wine tasting, neither intellectual slacker nor street wear normally comes to mind. However, a beginning of a night with a glass of white in the 2nd arr includes both. The street wear brand WeSC presents its fall/winter collection and Edern, store manager and 1/4 of the artistic collective La Brasserie which was founded a couple of weeks ago, is happy.

–  Saint emilion 1999, a famous wine from Bordeaux is definitely tonight’s favorite.

As a result, when we get there, that specific bottle is already finished.

Outside, a guy named Julien keeps talking and dreaming about Marseille. He points out that this event is  so Paris, then, he begins a little rap battle before getting his glass filled and starts laughing his dirty teeth out.

– Don’t tell me you are going to interview a guy on a fixie after this? That would just be too much.

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WeSC (We Are the Superlative Conspiracy) is a street-fashion brand that makes clothes for “intellectual slackers”. Created by former skateboarder Greger Hagelin in 1999, WeSC still values a close relationship to the skateboard culture and chooses so called WeSC activists to represent the brand.

Paris address: 13 rue tiquetonne in the 2nd arr. Metro: Etienne Marcel.

Store manager Edern Clement  is 1/4 th of the artistic collective La Brasserie that is passionate about hip hop and urban culture. It was only created a couple of weeks ago in order to “shape up Parisian nights”, through each member’s professional network. The rest of the group will show up here soon.

JULIETTE LEWIS 4 arr – Mirage

First day of Fashion Week includes a dinner based on about 25 different types of cheese. That is not so bad for a gray Tuesday  that becomes an evening  colored by Champagne and glowing balloons thanks to a party arranged by Range Rover.

– You see three different types of styles here tonight: The corporate, the classic and the mixed.

Fatou has introduced me to Saskia, who is more than happy to answer some questions between photographing stylish and free champagne drinking people for her blog Facescoop.com

– Would you say that this is representative for Paris? What exactly signifies “the mixed” by the way?

– Yes, I believe this is very Paris. The mixed style is underground-vintage plus design stuff, worn by artistic people here tonight, people like André or people with no money who cannot afford bread but who’d walk around in le Marais all day in their new pair of 700 Euro glasses, mixed with dirty baskets – and half shaved heads of course. Then, one also sees the Neo Dandy touch in this city; men with blazers yet rock and roll.

Hollywood actress/singer Juliette Lewis seems totally unaware of ongoing fashion rules but she is also very busy singing.

– I am really glad to be here tonight, you look great Paris!

You have a nice ass! (coming from a far distance)

– haha , merci.

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Mirage is a restaurant/event boat in the Seine. Address: 10 rue Henri IX. Metro: Sully Morland

Fashion Week is ongoing between Sept 28th and Oct 6th. Runway Schedule

GUILHEM – 2 arr Lézard Café

The main focus during our meeting this day is a book,  and not just any French novel – but a cookbook. 

– I thought you’d like it, it is a combination of street art and street food from five cities.

Guilhem puts it on the table.

– You can borrow it for as long as you want.

” In Paris, you can find the French standing in a bar drinking Ricard at eight in the morning, smoking fags like they’re going out of style and talking about politics, but look around and there will be a crew of teetotal Muslim Arabs or Africans drinking strong  coffee and talking in their own tounge. Eating couscous when you are in Paris is a must.”

A coke please, and a double coffee for her.

As we sit, shivering a little, the afternoon becomes evening and the drinks finished. Our stomachs start to rumble.

– Oh cool, on page 69 it says that Invarder’s favorite couscous place is Aux Bons Amis, not far from where I live in Belleville. Wanna go?

– Not tonight, my sister is here, actually I gotta go meet her in a bit,  then I have to edit photos.

Five minutes later he’s gone. On the metro home I realize that none of us paid for the drinks. 

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Inspired by the 70’s, the Lézard café is a café/ bistro in the 2nd arr that opened with only 15 m2 in 1998. Today the place is bigger and renovated.  The coffee comes in a glass on a metallic tray and the terrace is heated during cold days.  Address: 32 Rue Etienne Marcel, Metro: Etienne Marcel.

The Urban Cookbook  – Creative Recipes for the Graffiti Generation is a photo book that covers food and artists in Berlin, New York, Paris, Amsterdam and London. Published by Thames & Hudson.

CLOSE UP: Lisa Wikander – 1 arr Cojean

– Do you want other Parisians to write about as well?  I know a man named Hugo.

That is about the first thing the designer Lisa Wikander asks me when we meet at Cojean  by the Louvre behind two big  windows that are facing the street. Light rain is rattling on them and outside people are wearing something in between summer dresses and fall coats. Cojean has been Lisa’s office for the last days since her own Internet connection does not work.  She is sketching on a jewelry collection. The client wants 25 pieces in two weeks – also to mention is that she has never done anything like this before.

– Actually I am quite relieved. It is nice to get a job like this since working on my own stuff, being my own boss can be quite stressful sometimes.

Then, she tells me about Hugo at Chez Geroges, the popular little bar in the 6th, close to the church St Sulpice. It is owned by a Jewish family who often plays Hebrew music loud enough to make the mise escape.

-Hugo works in the bar upstairs and his brother is always in the basement. He was one of the first people I got to know when I first came here. He is adorable.

She writes down his name on a piece of paper and hands it over to me.

– Go and see him!

Lisa founded her clothing brand Ateliers Franka a year ago, after having finished LISAA (L’institut supérieur des arts appliqués).

– For my last project in school I made a small collection and got to sell it in a store on rue de Martyr in Montmartre called No Good Store. The clothes were gone in only a few weeks, then, I decided to take Ateliers Franka seriously and really try to do this as a full-time thing. It is more than a full-time thing actually… Soon I will hopefully also have clothes in a store called CANCAN.

– Don’t you find it hard to make yourself a name in Paris and in a very hierarchical fashion industry?

– Of course the competition is insane, but to me…Paris is the most beautiful, inspiring city in the world, so in the end it is a plus to be here rather than a minus. There are always people who are to be avoided of course…The climate in the industry is not either what it once was and Paris is less important on the fashion map with competition from other cities…It is however an important scene and so many people come here to discover fashion.

– Describe Ateliers Franka. From where did you get the name?

-Well…I saw someone on MTV a few years ago who was named Franka and just liked it… To me it stands for simplicity and femininity. I am not that fond of trends and think it is weird with people who look one way during springtime and completely different 6 months later. I like finding clothes that feel “me”, that can be used for a long time. I want people to be able to combine and match my pieces from different collections.

 It is three o clock and still raining.

–  I have to go meet the client in a hotel bar and present parts of the jewelry collection!

–  Oh, good luck!

She slips her mac book in to a black bag. Internet duties are done for the day.

– Thanks!… and tell Hugo I said hi!

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Visit  Ateliers Franka and the Webshop. (PS: For anyone who is in Göteborg, Sweden on Thursday Sept 30th: The store Kungshöjd will have a sale and mingle night, including Lisa’s design, from 5 pm – 8 pm.)  

Cojan  is a wifi café/ healthy fast food place that is located on 3, Place du Louvre in the 1st arr.

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