Paris Bits

Paris Bits

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Paris’ cités d’artistes, combined home and atelier for almost a century for celebrated artists and many less great, have been taken over in some cases for non-artistic purposes. A recent study concluded that 12 of the 29 studios at the 120-year-old Cité Fleurie in the 13th had passed into non-artistic hands. Cité Fleurie is where Rodin, Bourdelle, Maillot, Gaughin and Mogdigliani once worked when Paris was the art capital of the world. The same trend has occurred in other artist colonies, such as the Cité des Fusains and Villa des Arts in Montmartre, where Miro, Toulouse Lautrec, Derain and Ernst created masterpieces. Nevertheless, some 6O artists still work in La Ruche colony in the 15th, as the building is protected by its status as foundation. City Hall has plans for more ateliers without living space. Old storerooms will be transformed into ateliers. In another example, La Forge de Belleville has already been transformed into ateliers, as will be a large former funeral home in the 19th .So space will be found for sculptors and others, particularly in old buildings along the Canal St Martin, but it looks as if future Picassos will probably live in the banlieue and take the métro to their atelier.


The short Rue Princesse in the sixth arrondissement has recently been a hive of activity with hundreds upon hundreds of Rugby supporters–British, French and those from Commonwealth countries–packed into the Frog and Princess pub to watch the rugby world cup on television. The atmosphere has been good-humored, with the Frog’s amazing bar girls making their way through the tipsy throngs. The fish and chips is not bad either. Across the street, the revamped Village Voice bookshop is a success. The shop — unique in Paris for its personalized service as well as its amazing range of books — feel bigger and more modern in the best sense. Expat could not help noticing the continuing success story of Le Coffee Parisian bar and restaurant just next door. Trade is booming in this stronghold of the yuppies where lunch lasts until 4pm. The club sandwiches are amongst the best in Paris. The street also has Castel’s night club, an excellent bistrot, chez Henri, and other interesting shops–one for modern gadgets, the other for reproduction works of art.


Le Drugstore at the top of the Champs Elysées is simply excellent . Maurice Levy, chairman of Publicis, the advertising agency that owns the Drugstore, hired American architect Michele Saee to do something special. The old drugstore now has a restaurant, bar, pharmacy, bookstore, newspaper kiosk and a variety of small shops, including a late-night tabac.