The French call this address “confidential”, you may see 6 Mandel in the Art de Vivre section of Madame Figaro, or get the nod and wink from your florist or hairdresser if you live in the area. What is certain is that Jean-Christophe Stoerkel is creating a unique design concept in a listed 5-story 19th- century gothic style Art Nouveau townhouse, just off Place Trocadero.
Stoerkel, a talented and passionate designer and garden guru, from Nancy, North-East France, fell in love with Paris, the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero area on a family visit, aged 15. “I knew I would live there one day”, he recalls. So, about two years ago, when the chance came to acquire 6 Mandel, with unimpaired views of his precious Eiffel Tower, he decided to live on the top floor, create a sumptuous, sensual guest suite (about 270€ per night) and use the rest of the house and garden as a showcase for modern sculpture, fabrics, cuisine, decor and garden art. Mention Art Nouveau to Stoerkel and he’ll tell you he’s following a long tradition of local artists from the Ecole de Nancy, who founded the movement in 1900. “The thing is more and more urbanites are feeling the need to integrate nature and vegetation in their homes”, thinks Stoerkel.
“We will probably decorate using different themes each season”, Stoerkel says. Keeping the dominating link between vegetation, minerals and furnishing, using the original iron staircase as a dramatic feature, architect Emmanuel Renoird has created minimalist interior design to reflect Felix Monsonis interesting patinas, wall and floor designs. “We work as a team, from décor to cuisine”, says Stoerkel whose ideas are based around his flower and tree filled setting in the heart of town, combining light and nature in as many different ways as he can. “I want to get rid of the idea of “inside-outside”. The house is a garden, the garden is a house, an ode to Mother Nature,” declares Stoerkel; think a French Monty Don (the UK’s iconic garden guru). At present his garden has a bold jungle effect with bamboos, palms and white lilies, 100-year old trees make a shady backdrop, his Eiffel Tower beckons.
If it’s a cookery course you’re after, look no further. In renovating and transforming this unique mansion, once owned by a famous actress and theatre set designer, Stoerkel and his associates have installed a state-of-the-art kitchen overlooking the garden. From October, Japanese super-chef Sakura Franck (www.suhouparis.com) will revisit and teach the culinary traditions of her country each week. “I mix food and flowers so my students learn not only the art of maki, but also table-art and contemporary food presentations. My creations are like bouquets, only they’re edible”, Sakura explains.
Prefer to learn French cooking in France? Each month young chef Jerome Lemoine takes you through a different menu, a sommelier suggests matching wines to taste. In November it’s “Atelier Gibier”. The starter is: Flan de Foie Gras aux Girolles, Crème de Morilles, Salade de Mache and Beetroot à la reduction de balsamique. A main of partridge, stuffed with fresh almond and raisin couscous, and roast figs with crunchy cabbage. Dessert may be Pears cooked in red wine with cinnamon and aniseed, and lots of fun around a chocolate fountain! Each class is different and, for non-French speakers, there’s an English translator, but chef would prefer you to tell him in advance.
Of course you can book for private classes, be it table-art, gardening, flower-power or cookery. From November, on different days, Jerome Lemoine will teach truffles, the intricacies of ostrich, forgotten vegetables, seafood and recipes with flowers, say, millefeuille of John Dory with Pommes Anna drizzled with marguerite vinaigrette, and, there will never be more than eight in Lemoine’s class. “It’s a great idea to share with friends, because 6 Mandel is the creation of a group of friends. To-day we’re in romantic mode, the house is filled with compositions of roses, Jean-Christopher goes to Rungis Market at the crack of dawn to buy the vegetables and flowers. If the weather’s kind we take our aperitifs in the garden, the only thing we don’t have is a pool, but you never know!” smiles Lemoine.
While we’re talking houses take a guided tour of the Sarkozy’s summer residence filmed for New England Dream Homes (not much but it’s chez nous to Mike and Irene Appe) in Wolfboro, New Hampshire.
If you’re looking for a delicious experience with no calories involved head straight to the magnificent Hotel Dassault and drool over Jeff Koon’s brioches, Ben’s Camembert, Warhol’s Peaches, Vic Muniz’s Caviar Mummy, even the kitchen sink and a Cocteau fridge. You’ll kick yourself for chucking out that old one when you see what JC did. The exhibition “Gastronomy in Art” traces food depicted by artists through the ages. Marc Bretillots’s “Poulet Fiat” video performance is fun and Aurélie Mathigot’s crochet pastries will make your mouth water. Maximilien Luce’s “rue des Abbesses” Grocery Shop 1896 could have been done yesterday. Think a fun dinner party without the shopping and washing up.
Le 6 Mandel,
6, avenue Georges Mandel, 16th
T: 01 42 27 27 93
Classes are from 130€
Artcuriel – Gastronomy in Art,
Hotel Dassault, 7 Rond-Pont des Champs Elysées, 8th
T: 01 42 99 20 20
Daily from 11am-6pm 5€ Until September 21.