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

Bourse de Commerce opens in Paris in may 2021

When I visited the area south of the Bourse metro station, in Paris’ 2nd and 1st arrondissements in November 2018, I was reminded that we all live life to the level of our consciousness: the world of which we are aware through our senses. Beyond this lies, however, a much bigger world.

I do huge amounts of research before I travel. Still, it is almost impossible to fully fathom the flavours of what awaits me before I arrive. It is the emotions, the feelings from the heart, that open the understanding of a place; not the facts in a guide book.

I was in Paris this November for Paris Photo, the world’s largest art photography fair. On my ‘to do’ list was to return to Restaurant Saturne, after an absence of six years and lots of fond memories.  In my conscious world – my umwelt – I was still with my experience of all those years ago, when I stumbled across a restaurant that served creatively put-together food using seasonal ingredients and serving natural wine in a Scandinavian-inspired setting.

But the actual world had moved on from six years ago. Yes, I did eat at Saturne for the second time, but I found it more interesting – once I was on the ground in Paris – to write about the opening of a new contemporary art museum, housing the Pinault Collection in the neo-classical Bourse de Commerce building.

Other places that I visited in the area this time round were La Pâtisserie de la Meurice par Cédric Grolet, Épices Roellinger, a lovely café in the quiet Places des Petits Frères north of the Palais=Royal, and the gardens of the Palais-Royal.

Update: Saturne Restaurant closed in September 2019 after nine years. This opens the door for a new beginning… watch this space and the next move of Chef Sven Chartier. If you are looking for an alternative restaurant in the same neighbourhood, I would highly recommend Fleur du Pavé which chef Sylvain Sendra and his wife Sarah opened in summer 2019.

Update 22 May 2021: The opening of the Bourse de Commerce.

Pinault opens his collection to Paris

The Pinault Collection is made up of around 3,000 pieces, and is the collection of François Pinault, the founder of the luxury Kering Group, aka Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, to name a few. The Collection will find a new home in the Bourse de Commerce, one of Paris’s finest neo-classical buildings, and once home to the Paris stock exchange and the grain exchange.

The Bourse de Commerce building is being transformed by Tadao Ando, a self-taught architect from Japan, whose famous works include the Church of Light, just outside Osaka, Japan’s second city.

The new museum will create an art axis from the Centre Pompidou – where there was a retrospective on Tadao while I was in Paris – through Les Halles shopping centre – and on to the Bourse de Commerce. It will bring new life to an area smack bang in the middle of Paris, and within walking distance of the Louvre Museum.

The restaurant at the Collection Pinault will be run by Michel Bras and his son Sébastien Bras, who hail from the department of Aveyron, in the southwest of France. They run Le Suquet restaurant in Laguiole (famous for its knives), serve ‘les capucins‘, especially created cornets filled with local produce, at the viewing point for the Millau Viaduct (designed by Sir Norman Foster) and operate Café Bras at the Soulages contemporary art museum in Rodez, the capital of Aveyron. 

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

Saturne, in the rue Notre Dame des Victoires, is a ten-minute walk from the Bourse de Commerce.  I sat at the bar with a glass of Beaujolais-Villages, and chatted with my neighbour, himself a restaurateur of Bretons Crêperie in the 11th arrondissement.  (UPDATE 2020: Saturne has since closed.)

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

An 18-minute walk past the Palais-Royal and along the Tuileries Gardens, and you arrive at the five-star Hotel Meurice and the pâtisserie of Cédric Grolet, the head pastry chef at Le Meurice. Cédric has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, and apparently – good for him – he speaks no English.  I’ve seen him on holiday by the pool, I’ve seen his tattoos and finally I could now eat one of his famous black lemons (below, far right). 

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

Cédric uses very little sugar in his pâtisseries. No sickly sweet feeling is left on the tongue. I took my little white box, and walked across the Tuileries and then to the Alexandre III bridge, with a view over to the Eiffel Tower.  I sat on a stone wall. I ate my black lemon. It was heaven, and then I went to work at Paris Photo in Le Grand Palais.  

Update: Cédric Grolet Opéra is due to open November 2019.

Also in the 2nd & 1st, Below Bourse

  • Epices Roellinger is in the quiet street of Sainte-Anne, near the Palais-Royal. It was 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. 
  • It’s a tall order to want to live like a local while travelling. I found the Bar du Moulin in the Place des Petits Frères, tucked behind the Place des Victoires, I would go there every morning before starting work at Paris Photo.  The bar had its very own bakery next door, Le Moulin de la Vierge. The first morning the reception from behind the bar was blunt, the second I had a smile and by the third I was greeted as a friend. What’s important is to say ‘bonjour’ with a happy face as you go in, even though at first you might not be met by one.
  •  The Gardens of the Palais-Royal are 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 and open myself to the space.
Palais-Royal at night with Daniel Buren art work and green light

This story was updated September 2019.  I have lots more posts about Paris.

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