Paris changed Anne Lederer’s life, turning her from a corporate lawyer into a proud small business owner. Parisian guide guru Jeanne-Aurore Colleuille describes Lederer’s 1st Arrondissement café Scoop as “feminine by desire in its New York style . . . yet ideal for conserving one’s figure without renouncing glamour.” I offer a hearty second. Since Scoop is near my hairdresser—not to mention the Louvre—I’ve become well acquainted with its fresh and tasty ice creams, salads and burgers. In pouring rain, I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner there (surrounded by French couples cooing over the dinde farcie, or stuffed turkey). That evening sealed my curiosity; I had to meet Lederer and find out how she started Scoop.
What first brought you to Paris?
I was a finance lawyer sent on assignment to a French law firm. But at that time I lived the Paris of guidebooks and tourists—any café with rattan furniture on the terrace seemed glamorous!
How did you come to change your métier?
Scoop happened because of a dare! I was having a drink with French friends, in a place that serves “American” food. It was so awful that I started trying to explain how things were actually changing, Americans were exploring local produce, healthy eating and so on. My friends said they’d only believe that if I proved it.
So you opened your own business?
Yes—and entered a different world. I moved away from my little American enclave, from the left to the right bank. I was too busy to just hang out with expatriates. Our perfect little spot came up, but that was just the start for Scoop. Initially we were an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. But in winter Parisians won’t eat even sorbet, so we started making gourmet hamburgers.
What is your own quartier?
I live in the “haut-Marais,” which is fantastic, young and energetic. A lot of designers have come there, especially on rue Charlot, which has Surface to Air as well as my neighborhood canteen, the pizzeria La Briciola. Other places I like are Ekjo, Miki Mialy and, for fantastic handbags, Stéphane Verdino. Also the Lebanese stand in the Marché des Enfants Rouges.
Design us a day to introduce someone to Paris . . .
We’d start with buttery croissants and my chef Sonia’s homemade orange and lime jam, plus café au lait in the Luxembourg Gardens. No visit is complete without quality time at a neighborhood market, so we’d visit one just to enjoy the sumptuous sights and sounds! We’d walk in the Champ de Mars and lunch at La Fontaine de Mars, take a ride on the No. 69 bus through the left bank, then visit the Musée d’Orsay. Take a walk across the Pont des Arts and stroll through the Tuileries, finishing with a drink on the terrace of Café Marly. Although the food is as terrible as the service, it is incredibly lovely at night.
Name one thing in Paris that is underpublicized.
The Musée Marmottan Monet in the 16th, for Monet and the Impressionists.
How would you celebrate a special occasion?
In summer I would go to the Restaurant du Palais Royal, to have a coupe de champagne on the terrace and maybe eat outside. It’s the city’s most beautiful spot at night; it becomes so quiet you can even hear the fountains . . . In winter I’d go next door and dine at Le Grand Véfour.
Editor’s note: This summer Scoop is hosting an English-language book club for native English speakers and Parisians who want to practice their English.
154, rue St.-Honoré, in the 1st.
01 42 60 31 84.
64, rue Charlot, in the 3rd.
01 42 77 34 10.
93, rue de Rivoli, in the 1st.
01 49 26 06 60.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
39, rue de Bretagne, in the 3rd.
Tues–Thurs, 9–2 and 4–8; Fri–Sat, 9–8; Sun, 8:30–2.