Back on the boulevards after a sizzling summer marked by a succession of real-life Apocalypse Now scenarios, ranging from a record-breaking heat wave to Americas mega power failure the number one city thing many Parisians did was to stand in line to see a movie depicting the dark side of urban existence. Set in a luxurious yet mysteriously sordid hotel somewhere in Central London, Brit filmmaker Stephen Frearss Dirty Pretty Things features Audrey (Amélie Poulain) Tautou, in her first English-speaking part. Tautou, whos surprisingly believable in the role of a Turkish chambermaid involved in a gruesome organ transplant scam affecting fellow illegal immigrant workers, seems set for planetary success!
A rising generation of 30-somethings is changing the face of French design. Among these, Sophie Larger has set up a company dubbed INOUI, as in inouï (loosely, Wow!). Her star products include Mammamia a bright red sofa with bobo (bourgeois bohemian) attitude and IOIO, a clever foam armchair, whose concentric circular structures adjust to the users shape and posture. (Sophie also makes fun mobiles, available from Ennéade, 43 bd Henri IV, 4e, tel: 01 40 27 07 67, a brand-new boutique, a stones throw from Habitats recently opened Bastille branch on rue du Faubourg St-Antoine)
No connection whatsoever, but
INOUI happens to be the name of a freshly-launched magazine, spotlighting fashion accessories. In the kiosks now, its October/November issue flaunts a red-hot cover designed to lure the reader inside... to a matching crimson-tinted jewelry and footwear spread, with Moulin Rouge appeal.
Tam Tam Fad
Be they timeworn 70s originals flogged on flea market stalls or the quirky re-editions put out by Branex Design (www.tamtam-branex.com) Tam Tam stools are everywhere, on the decor front. A camouflage version is showcased at the Galeries Lafayettes Move expo aimed at Generation Y trend-spotters (to Oct 15).
Bar à Choco
Another department store, the Bon Marché, has concocted a special treat for chic shoppers with a sweet tooth. Part of its Très fille, très garçon (Very Girlie, Very Boyish) clothing display (on level two, until Oct 11), an ephemeral Bar à Choco proffers a selection of kidult snacks, concept dishes, sorbets and drinks, all made from chocolate belonging to the Weiss brands celebrated gourmet range.
Restaurants for arty foodies are in. Within steps of the Musée Guimets spectacular Asiatic collections, the most select is Les Arts. Housed in an ultra-elegant mansion, which is home to the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers engineer-alumni known as Gadzarts (Artsguyz) it boasts a club-like dining room overlooking one of this capitals best kept Secret Gardens. No need to be a member, to savor former Ritz chef Thierry Chevaliers modern updates of hearty classics, just reserve! (9bis av dIéna, 16e, tel: 01 40 69 27 00)
On the Champs-Elysées, Frank Hammoutène has re-concepted Renaults Pub. LAtelier Renault is a remix of assembly line-inspired gallery/loft and XXL automotive showroom, serving fresh fruit-based cocktails and cosmo cuisine, along with a few Gallic basics
The top quality entrecôte comes with homemade French fries. (Daily 11:30am to 1am, tel: 01 49 53 70 70)
To be launched this month
Iranian-born, London-based designer Eskandars latest venture is a Left Bank emporium, which reflects his conception of art de vivre. Ample modern linen and cotton attire for the entire family rubs shoulders with hand-blown glass, white tableware and natural bath time goodies. (7 rue Princesse, 6e)
A florist by appointment to palace hotels such as the Meurice, Les Fées dHerbe has revamped its 11th arrondissement shop, which stocks a poetic array of fresh flowers and trendy items with a floral note. Insectivorous plants ogle at dragonfly plates hand-painted by Sophie Masson
(23 rue Faidherbe, tel: 01 43 70 14 76)
Such a perfect day
Une Journée Particulière is a photo studio, which treats its clients like royalty or any celebrity they care to be; its team of nine photographers and makeup artists use media-savvy techniques to glamorize ordinary people. (217 rue St-Honoré, 1er, tel: 01 42 96 51 92/ unejourneeparticuliere.com)
This rentrées most ritzy party? A no limits fiesta at the Ritz Club, following the French final of the Elite agencys international modeling contest titled Model Look France 2003 held at the hotels swimming pool, which had been transformed into a temporary catwalk. This time round, two plucky pretty things, Tiffany Collier and Noëlle Roques, were picked to represent their country at the grand finale, which takes place in Singapore on November 8. The winners get to sign a coveted 2-year Top Model contract.
Jennifer Eric a nightclubbin wunderkind with Swedish roots is the energetic redhead who organizes the Milliardaire Clubs wildly festive Wednesday night DJ sessions and go-go dancer shows based on a variety of themes, from West Side Story and Grease to cancan, hip hop and dirty dancing, etc etc.... Jenny moved to the States at 16, then majored in Fine Arts and Political Science at UCLA, where she moonlighted to finance her studies. Initially, as a hostess at the Barfly in West Hollywood. Then, as a gatekeeper at the Grand Havana Room, a cigar club in Beverley Hills. This Octobers Milliardaire highlights? A Fashion Week Black & White Party on October 8, plus a Halloween Sneak Peak on October 29. (68 rue Pierre Charron, 8e, cover charge 20E including one drink/ladies open bar midnight to 1am)