Learn about climbing, Afghan cuisine, or the work of the Bouroullec brothers … here are four unexpected ideas to brighten up your weekend in Paris.
A trip to the wilderness around Fontainebleau not on the agenda for the weekend? The alternative: indoor rock climbing. Defy the laws of gravity and become a monkey, with your hands covered in chalk, in the middle of Paris. Bad weather isn’t an excuse not to go work out! Located in a former 900 square meter factory, Arkose Nation has launched this climbing movement: two large rooms of climbing paths (ranging from yellow, very easy, to purple, extremely difficult) are at your disposal. In terms of safety, there’s no risk: large, spongy mats will cushion you in case of a slippery grip. Open to all, just come in comfortable clothes, rent the shoes, and the walls await you. At the end of the session, it’s time to relax. The space also has a restaurant/bar where the waiters, dressed in Patagonia from head to toe, will serve you an IPA with a delicious dry sausage. Sustenance to regain your strength! — 35 rue des Grands-Champs, 75020 Paris. Cost: 15€ per session (13€ reduced), monthly membership is 48€.
Visit Alain Ducasse’s new café
There was a time when coffee was first and foremost a drink for people in a hurry. A little black liquid brought quickly, swallowed fast, and paid for at the counter. That was before. Before the coffee shops that introduced the French to good coffees, properly ground, carefully brewed and cleverly put into cups by baristas. Alain Ducasse — the latest to tackle this popular market — prefers the term “cafelier.” To recruit his cafeliers for Le Café, among them Veda Viraswami (double French roasting champion in 2017 and 2018), the Michelin-starred chef travelled all over France before then carefully selecting the beans in Africa, Asia and South America. In a refined industrial setting designed by the highly respected studio Cigüe, filters, expressos and lattés are sipped alongside snacks of madeleines, hazelnuts or chocolates. — 47 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris; 12 rue Saint-Sabin, 75011 Paris. It’s 2,50 euros for l’expresso signature.
Branch out with some Afghan food
Afghanistan, so well described by Kessel in Les Cavaliers, is unfortunately less known for its cuisine than for its conflicts: colonial rivalries between England and Russia in the 19th century, being at the center of the Cold War with the Soviet invasion in 1979, the central issue of the war against terrorism since 2001. It seems nothing has spared this Middle East country. Afghanistan’s rich cuisine owes much to its many cultures, as evidenced by the variety of traditional dishes on L’Afghani‘s menu. Halfway between Persian and Indian cuisine, the specialities are fragrant, colorful and generous. The nans, pumpkin fritters, marinated eggplants or bolani (a kind of leek and potato pancakes) are especially good. The dishes are often made of flavored rice accompanied by meat in tomato sauce slightly spiced up or marinated in ginger. People looking for something sweet will enjoy the Afghan baklava. It’s a delight that makes up for the rustic setting of the Montmartre eatery. — 16 rue Paul-Albert, 75018 Paris. Cost 15 € to 35 € per person.
See the work of the Bouroullec brothers
The work of the brothers from Quimper in Brittany, France, Ronan and Ewan Bouroullec is only getting cooler. Well known to contemporary art lovers, the duo has been chosen by the Paris City Hall for a major architectural project: six slender bronze and glass fountains, inspired by those designed by René Lalique, which will take be located at the Champs-Élysées roundabout. But to better understand the creative process of the two brothers, whose Gabriel Chandelier installed in Versailles in 2013 received a huge buzz, look to the Kreo gallery on rue Dauphine. For the first time, an exhibition presents this intimate shared aspect of their creativity. A first series of organic and monochrome drawings, made with ink and Japanese felt brush on glossy paper, cover the walls of the room. The second series, made from color photographs of forests and construction sites reworked on the computer using specially designed software, by Erwan Bouroullec, is just as intriguing. — from February 28 to April 9, at the Kreo gallery, 31 rue Dauphine, 75006 Paris.
This article was first written by ARTHUR FRYDMAN and CONSTANCE ASSOR and published in French on Le Point