Model of the Bourse de Commerce at Tadao Ando exhibition, Centre Pompidou

All change: Bourse de Commerce opens in springtime Paris

You live life to the level of your consciousness – the world of which you are aware. And at no time more so than when you travel. I do a lot of research before I go to a destination, but when I land in a place the reality is always very different. When I arrived in Paris this November, equipped with a new level of consciousness after a few days of exploring, my blog post on Restaurant Saturne morphed into one on the opening of an exciting new contemporary art museum, the Collection Pinault, next spring.

Both are in the 2nd arrondissement – where last year I had visited the edgy ‘Silicon’ Sentier neighbourhood.

Pinault opens his collection to Paris

The Collection Pinault will open in the Bourse de Commerce, once home to the stock exchange and the grain exchange and one of Paris’ finest neo-classical buildings. The building is being transformed by Tadao Ando, a Japanese self-taught architect who currently has a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou.

The idea behind Collection Pinault is to give “access to a greater number of people” to one of the world’s finest contemporary art collections, made up of around 3,000 pieces, and put together byFrançois Pinault, the founder of the luxury Kering Group, aka Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, to name a few.

Yes, people might want lower fuel costs rather than art – if last weekend’s demonstrations in Paris are anything to go by – but personally I would always go for (mind-opening) art. But then I don’t have a car.

The new museum will create an axis through to Les Halles shopping centre and on to the Centre Pompidou. It will bring new life to an area plagued since the 1970s by concrete structures and cheap tourism, despite its position smack bang in the middle of Paris, and near the Louvre Museum.

The restaurant at the Collection Pinault will be run by Michel and Sébastien Bras, whose base is in the south-west of France, in Laguiole (famous for its knives) and Rodez, in the Aveyron. The brothers also have one restaurant in Japan. The link between France and Japan has always been strong – tied together by a common history of craftsmanship, and love of fine materials and beauty.

New roof of Les Halles by Patrick Berger put up in 2016

Love it or hate it. I love it. Patrick Berger’s new ‘umbrella’ roof for Les Halles, which opened in 2016.

View of Bourse de Commerce from Les Halles, Paris

The Bourse de Commerce under wraps on a rainy day in November. Tadao Ando’s design conceives a concrete cylinder inside the existing circular domed structure.

Restaurant Saturne

Two years ago I travelled to Peru to eat at Central Restaurant; last year I travelled across Paris to eat at Restaurant Les Itinéraires (now closed, unfortunately).

While Saturne is one of those restaurants that I really like, for me it is not a ‘destination’ in itself, despite the excellence of its food and the natural wine list. However, it is very close to the Bourse de Commerce. The service for me lacks the reverence and focus of that of Restaurant Les Itinéraires, but then the latter did have two Michelin stars and Saturne only has one.  For starters, the waitress kept on talking to me in English, even though my French is perfectly good.  If it had not been a Monday, when so much is closed, I might have tried instead Accents Table Bourse, owned by a compatriot of Tadao Ando’s, Ayumi Sugiyama.

What I ate at Saturne

I discovered Saturne via Hedone in London. Both have a Swedish input:  Sven Chartier at Saturne and Michael Jonsson at Hedone. The food that November lunchtime at Saturne was just right, as well as the glass of Beaujolais-Villages wine. I also had a very nice neighbour at the bar – a restaurateur from the 11th arrondissement. That always makes a difference.

Scallops, cedrate, passion fruit, Restaurant Saturne, Paris

Scallops, cedrate & passion fruit, decorated with blue cornflowers.

Bottle of red wine, Restaurant Saturne, Paris

A Beaujolais-Villages from Rémi and Laurence Dufaitre. I read some tasting notes that described it has having a suggestion of ‘the innocence of young teenage love – in a barn surrounded by a field of wild flowers’!

Bonito with sweet pepper, coco beans & wild clams, Restaurant Saturne, Paris

Bonito from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with sweet pepper, coco beans from Béarn in the Pyrenees & wild clams

Buttermilk: bergamot & almond milk, Restaurant Saturne, Paris

Buttermilk, bergamot & almond milk. The lightest dessert ever.

The entrance with flowers and mirror, Restaurant Saturne, Paris.

The entrance, Restaurant Saturne.

Cedric Grolet – near the Tuileries

I have been following Cédric Grolet, the head pastry chef at Le Meurice, on Instagram, together with 1.1 million others, ever since he opened his shop in the rue de Castiglioni, just opposite the Tuileries, earlier this year. Yes, it’s an 18-minute walk from the Bourse de Commerce, but this is a patisserie experience of a lifetime.

Cédric has only a small choice in his shop. Yes you can have a meal for the price of a patisserie, but the meal you will forget and this patisserie never! I went for the one on the far right, the black lemon. This is like eating a patisserie from heaven packed with so much flavour yet with hardly a taste of sugar, if at all.

Cedric Grolet, Paris

The line-up: the Cédric Grolet patisserie – or, for me, desserts.

I ate my black lemon – not a taste of sugar on the tongue – on the Pont Alexandre III bridge, before going to work for East Wing Gallery at Paris Photo in Le Grand Palais.

Also in the 2nd

Epices Roellinger is founded by three Michelin-star chef and spice hunter Olivier Roellinger, from their family base in Brittany. The world’s finest treasure trove of spices. Once you have bought spices here, you can go no further.

Claus – La Maison du Petit-Déjeuner has good coffee, SHG Uluma bio, an Arabica from Honduras. The cinnamon & hazelnut roll made out of brioche bread, and straight from the oven, was divine (it was 8am).  Claus is down a narrow street, near the Bourse du Commerce – and there’s another Claus on the left Bank.

On my way to catch the metro each morning for the Grand Palais I would stop off at the Bar du Moulin in the Place des Petits Frères – a little square with a church tucked behind the Place des Victoires. The bar had its very own bakery next door, Le Moulin de la Vierge. Not only were the croissants excellent, but the music woke me up, the waiting staff were sympa – once they no longer saw me as a passing tourist, and I love having my coffee at the bar.

Palais-Royal… nearby

After coffee at the Bar du Moulin, I would walk through the Palais-Royal on my way to catch the metro for a direct line to the Grand Palais for Paris Photo. The Palais-Royal is one of my favourite spots in Paris: the stillness, the sound of water, the feeling of space, the sky above, the arcades and the tourists taking selfies on the black-and- white ‘Columns of Buren’, by Daniel Buren. Each time I go to Paris, I like to come here.

Palais-Royal at night with Daniel Buren art work and green light

Palais-Royal at night.

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