April 15, 2014

Café Marlette

Created by sisters Margot and Scarlette, Marlette began as an organic food brand selling bread and cake mixes (stocked at choice Paris addresses such as Claus and Causses), and has now branched out to include the freshly opened Café Marlette, serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and snacks. The charming space on the trendy rue des Martyrs - with a pared back, bright and breezy decor of bare-brick walls and comfy window seats strewn with cushions - provides a convivial backdrop for laidback daytime dining. On the menu are simple, organic and healthy options at reasonable prices (from €7.50), including sandwiches (such as the delicate yet filling goats cheese, honey and raisin baguette), seasonal salads, soups and sweet treats fresh out of the oven such as cookies and scones. These can all be washed down with superior coffee supplied by Paris coffee masters, Coutume, organic tea from Lov or organic wine for those who wish to indulge. Brunch - featuring a selection of breads and jams, granola, compote and more - is served on the weekends (€25) and the Marlette bread and pastry mixes, from whence this story all began, are also on sale. 

Café Marlette
51 rue des Martyrs, 
75009 Paris
Open: Tues-Fri, 8.30am-7.30pm; Sat, 10am-7.30pm; Sun, 10am-6pm

April 4, 2014

Chez Moi, Paris

Chez Moi, Paris is a brand new boutique in the capital's first arrondissement, based upon the concept of an apartment - complete with bathroom, sitting room, dining room and bedroom - in which owner Jean-Baptiste Charpenay-Limon lives, eats and sleeps, and in which everything is for sale. The clean and sleek space, kitted out with a wooden runway leading from the front of the shop to the sleeping quarters, designed by Freek architects, is a backdrop for a sharp selection of artworks, homeware, magazines and journals (including Self Service, Purple, Roven), wine, furniture, clothes, accessories and more. There will also be food and drinks served in the near future, to offer a total homely experience. The idea is that you come and hang out with JB and his friends (and their cute dogs, on our visit), admire the decor, and leave with some of it under your arm. Come on in and make yourself at home.  

Chez Moi, Paris
25 rue Hérold, 75001 Paris

March 14, 2014


We love SoPi (South Pigalle, dontchaknow), we love Japanese food, we love small plate dining and we love bento boxes - ergo we absolutely fricking adore new Paris restaurant, Tsubame, which combines all of these elements in one neat package. On a corner spot on the sloping roads leading down from Pigalle, the simple, no-frills setting is the backdrop for a bento-box lunch spot, serving fish, meat or veggie options (inlcuding breaded pork served on rice with lotus root and spinach on our visit) in the daytime, and an izakaya - essentially a Japanase tapas bar (and a nascent Paris trend) - in the evening, with small plates to share, washed down with Nikka whisky, wine, sake or tea. Don't miss the distinctive black sesame icecream or the original matcha creme brûlée for pudding. 

40 rue de Douai
75009 Paris
01 48 78 06 84

all photos copyright Kim Laidlaw

March 3, 2014


Freshly opened streetwear boutique Isakin, tucked away on a Montmartre street shared with the APC surplus store, is the brainchild of two superfly ex-record label execs, Alex and Thomas. Counting the likes of French rapstar Oxmo Puccino among their friends, the skateboarding, hip-hop-loving duo have drawn on their marketing and art direction expertise - as well as their solid network - to create this small gem of a shop, stocking a range of young labels mostly from France - many even from the 18th arrondissement itself. On the racks are cork-lined caps from up-and-coming brand CHMPGN - its name a vowel-less hommage to the fizzy wine region in which it was founded; threads from Paris label Poyz and Pirlz, set up by a collective of hip hop DJs; cheeky tees and caps from local label EyexCon (many of which are emblazoned with the word crapule, meaning scoundrel); and sweatshirts from neighbouring designers Paris Nord. Cult items have already emerged: Disney-style Sacre Coeur logo t-shirts, Belleville Hills sweatshirts and the shop's own creation of tops with "Barbès parle Arabe" (meaning Barbès - the area around the corner from the boutique - speaks Arab). The shop exclusively stocks menswear but Alex explains that, following the success of many items with customers' girlfriends, they are now putting an accent on how girls can style these male garments to look sharp, too. 

Isakin, 9 rue André del Sarte, Paris 75018

all photos © Kim Laidlaw

February 17, 2014

Restaurant Caillebotte

The team behind much lauded South Pigalle restaurant Le Pantruche has reinforced its 9th arrondissement foothold with the opening of neo-bistro Caillebotte, just off the trendy rue des Martyrs. The light and airy space - featuring marble table tops, blond wood and an open kitchen - serves as a suitably bright and breezy setting for the refreshing cuisine on the seasonal menu: featured are starters such as smoked tuna with  mustard broccoli, seaweed biscuit and siphoned piccalilli (€11), mains such as plaice in burnt breadcrumbs, with cauliflower mousseline and parmesan broth (€21) and desserts such as pink grapefruit with tarragon ice-cream and white chocolate crunch, or chocolate mousse with corn crumble and black olives (€9). These innovative and carefully composed dishes are also available on the fixed-price menu (€35 for starter, main and dessert), and the incredibly affordable lunchtime menu featuring the dish of the day comes in at €19 for starter/main or main/dessert. A dynamic addition to the buzzing SoPi neighbourhood. 

8 rue Hippolyte-Lebas
75009 Paris
+33 1 53 20 88 70 
Open Mon-Fri, lunch and dinner

all photos © Kim Laidlaw 

February 12, 2014

Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Centre Pompidou

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Crowd waiting outside a bank to purchase
gold during the last days of the Kuomintang,
Shanghai, China, December 1948© Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos,
courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson, First paid holidays, banks of the Seine, France
1936. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos,
courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Paris' Centre Pompidou presents an extraordinarily thorough retrospective of French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's oeuvre, with more than 500 works spanning the artist's 70 year career. The chronological exhibition starts with the period in which Cartier-Bresson fraternised with the Surrealists and began his work as a photographer, followed by the era marked by his political engagement and his work for the Communist press, and leads on to his photo-reportage work and the creation of the Magnum Photos cooperative. Bringing together this wealth of work - which includes photographs, films, drawings and documents - the retrospective aims to show the many facets of Cartier-Bresson which, united by his eye for composition and ability to capture a singular moment, made him one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson, 12th February - 9th June 2014
Every day except Tuesday, 11am - 9pm. 

February 3, 2014

Léngué - Japanese Tapas in the Latin Quarter

There has been something of a small-plate trend over the last couple of years in Paris, but the concept is neither new nor uniquely European. Trying out (and loving) new South Pigalle Japanese tapas joint Ito led us to rediscovering established Left Bank restaurant Lengué, which is also an Izakaya - a Japanese drinking specialist serving small sharing plates - with ex-Robuchon chef Katsutoshi Kondi heading up the kitchen. The intimate space with wooden ceiling beams and bare stone walls is on a little hidden-away street - an alley of calm between the tourist traps of the Latin Quarter. On the extensive menu are bite-sized delights such as sweetly succulent Dengaku aubergine fried in miso, light and fluffy omelette, finger-licking good sesame chicken wings, and sautéed squid with ginger (prices range from €5-12 per dish), to be washed down with Japanese beer, Nikka Whiskey, sake or plum wine, and to be rounded off with refreshing mochi icecream or matcha tiramisu. Be prepared to re-order several times throughout your meal as the dishes are so delicious it's hard to resist trying more and you'll surely become intrigued by whatever your neighbours are eating... Book ahead and come with a big appetite.

31 rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris
Open Tues-Sat, 12-3pm; 7-11pm.
Tel: 01 46 33 75 10

Photos copyright Kim Laidlaw. All rights reserved.