The Konfidentiel, a new luxury boutique hotel, has opened in the historic heart of Paris. The hotel is housed in a 15th-century building in the 1st Arrondissement, and is a perfect location for exploring the nearby Louvre and central Paris. It features themed suites that refer to places, moments and figures in France’s history—kings of France, Marie Antoinette and Pont Neuf, to name a few. A duplex suite devotes itself to Gustave Eiffel’s greatest architectural accomplishment. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, dressing gowns, slippers and Italian-style showers with ETRO bath products. Rates start at 490 euros and include breakfast in bed.
The Canal St.-Martin district, one of the most popular districts with bobo Parisians, has found its first affordable boutique hotel in Le Citizen. The completely renovated property houses a five-person apartment and 12 rooms—many of which offer views of the canal—and uses both natural wood and natural light throughout. The name refers to the hotel’s desire to be a good citizen of the environment and the community, with complete disabled access and a no-paper policy, for example. Amenities include four-star bedding, soundproofing, Deluxe Omnisens Paris bath products, a flat-screen TV with international channels, Wi-Fi and an iPad upon request. Rooms start at a reasonable 149 euros.
New Museums and Exhibitions
The Rosenblum Collection and Friends
After becoming interested in current artists about five years ago, the collecting duo (and couple) Steve and Chiara Rosenblum installed their collection in an old photography lab on the rue du Chevaleret in the 13th Arrondissement. The Rosenblum Collection and Friends is centered around African pieces and works addressing the post–September 11th era. Visits to the space are by appointment only and are led by the collectors themselves, who provide commentaries on the photographs, videos, paintings, sculptures and installations.
Centre Georges Pompidou: “Mondrian/de Stijl”
The Centre Pompidou is hosting a retrospective on the early 20th-century artistic movement de Stijl and Piet Mondrian, its leading figure. The exhibition, which runs through March 21, 2011, explores how Mondrian revolutionized painting with his stripped-down grids of color blocks. The show includes works from other founders of the movement, such as Theo Van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld, whose signature graphic approach also influenced painting, sculpture and city planning, as well as furniture and graphic design.
Musée d’Orsay: “The Spectacular Art of Jean-Léon Gérôme”
Through January 23, 2011, the Musée d’Orsay plays host to a special exhibition dedicated to one of the great image makers of the 19th century: Jean-Léon Gérôme. The show spans the artist’s career and includes paintings, drawings, and sculptures that underscore his cinematic treatment of history painting, his relationship with exoticism and his interest in the classical model.
A perfect winter exhibition, Ice Magic gathers 20 artists from far-flung places (Canada, Finland, Lithuania) to sculpt more than 450 tons of ice into monuments, buildings, historic figures, imaginary scenes and creatures. This veritable freezefest is installed on the avenue Champs Elysées, near the place de Concorde, through January 3, 2011. This year’s theme, Le Tour du Monde, called for sculptures from around the world (think Rome’s Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa), which the artists carved from ice and illuminated in shades of blue, pink, purple and yellow.
Paris Illumine Paris
Strolling the streets of Paris is never more beautiful than during the holiday season, thanks to the project Paris Illumine Paris. The City of Light truly earns its name in December and January, when 100 of Paris’s roads and squares, in almost every neighborhood, sparkle with an array of holiday lights. Enjoy grand boulevards atwinkle, Christmas trees aglow and rows of garlands draped over streets all over the city.
Notre Dame is the site of the annual Christmas Sound and Light Show. On select evenings through December 31, 2010, you can enjoy “Lumen de Lumine, Light Born of Light”—the nativity story recounted in a spectacle of sound and light using a large transparent projection screen hanging in the nave. For showtimes, see the cathedral’s schedule.
La Maison Fabre
Master glove maker La Maison Fabre, which has been specializing in leather gloves since 1924, has opened a second Paris boutique, on the left bank. The new rue des Sts.-Pères location offers the same sexy and stylish high-end collection that made the brand’s reputation. A kaleidoscope of colors in classic and modern styles—cuffs, fingerless, driving, elbow and full length—are showcased in simple, library-style displays. Shop for the family, or pick up a fun pair with jewels or fur trim for yourself!
Lacoste, the brand synonymous with the green crocodile logo, has opened its first shop just for children on rue Vavin, near the Luxembourg Gardens in the 6th. Housed in a small space that combines light wood floors and bright colors in a style reminiscent of a school gymnasium, the boutique offers colorful, preppy looks for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens. Here you’ll find Lacoste’s classic cotton piqué polos, jeans, hoodies and shoes, and even some graphic-chic styles.
Where other than Paris could you dream of purchasing your own custom pair of ballerina-style shoes? Famous shoe designer Repetto, on the rue de la Paix in the 2nd, now has a workshop at its flagship store offering this new bespoke service. Visitors can create endless combinations of colors, straps, borders and lace to design their very own shoes, which will be discreetly adorned with a tiny gold “R” on the outer right heel. The pairs are hand-finished and completed no more than three weeks after they’re ordered. The service isn’t cheap, but the shoes age beautifully, so they are likely to last a good long time.
Hot New Spas
Ban Thaï Spa
A new Ban Thaï Spa has opened in the Odéon district, on rue Dauphine. The spa offers traditional Thai massage, called Nuad Bo-Rarn, in a classy yet very Zen atmosphere. The professional masseuses are all trained at Bangkok’s famous Wat Po school. Massages, available for both singles and couples, combine Shiatsu and Indian yoga with deep pressure using the palms of the hands or thumbs to target energy points. Choose from a Thai aromatic oil massage (which uses jasmine and green tea), a hot stone massage, a hot oil massage and a four-hand massage. Or opt for one of the four-hour spa massage experiences called Asian Paradise or Quiétude. Prices begin at 95 euros.
New for Jet-Setters
Barge Lady Cruises
What better way for travelers, Francophiles and gourmands alike to tour the Burgundy region of France than on a luxury barge cruise? The Barge Lady offers a floating foodie dream on an eight-passenger canal barge called The Prosperite. The elegant vessel boasts four spacious cabins with en-suite bathrooms and a sun deck with a hot tub. The program features cooking demonstrations, gourmet meals, market shopping with the chef and local wine tastings in the Côte d’Or region along the way. Other highlights include chauffeured excursions to historic churches, medieval towns and charming villages. The 2011 season begins April 3 with cruises departing from Paris.