July 08, 2020
Le Marais in Paris (Photo: Starcevic/iStock)
Zoe Lee is a shoe designer that loves a pretty Parisian sip and sup just as much as we do… Her eponymous store sits in a quaint enclave on the historical streets of Rue Du Parc Royal, close to Alaia's first design studio, the Picasso Museum and an ivory green park.
Read on as she gives us the lowdown on her favourite spots in the fashionable Le Marais neighbourhood: from the best coffee shops for supermodel spotting to her top wine and dine dens, favourite indie designers and designed galleries.
Le Marais in Paris is a LUXE-worthy shopper’s paradise of high-end boutiques, corner store patisseries and wine bars, including luxury fashion brands – from Comme des Garcon to Isabel Marant. Since launching her own brand in 2011, Zoe found her ground among the fashion giants, starting at London’s Central St Martins before stints with Alexander McQueen in the noughties, plus work in Vivienne Westwood’s footwear line. That said, we’d take her word on what’s so-hot-right-now as we take to her view-tiful streets…
(Photo: Zoe Lee pictured right/ Instagram)
Le Marais was pretty gritty back in the ‘80s, even in the early ‘90s, and Rue Du Parc Royal used to be where the kings of France housed their concubines! As it stands now, my shop is just where the commercial shops end and the art galleries begin – with Commes des Garcons a few steps away and Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery close by too.
Alaia had his first design studio in the building my shop is in and the nearby architecture school made for an artsy and hipster-esque locale. My neighbour Alan, who runs the coffee shop next to me, Royal Bar, has been there since 1967 and is full of wonderful stories. The models waiting for their fittings at Alaia’s studio would go to his cafe, so he’s had all the original supermodels pass through his doors.
(Photo: Azzedine Alaïa/Getty Images)
I love the neighbourhood feel in my little cluster of shops. I’ve spent more money at Meert the Chocolate Shop than most people spend on gym memberships. Everything in Le Marais is a treat and it’s hard not to indulge. I love getting to the shop early, playing music and cleaning the shop before the customers arrive. It’s a real luxury for me to be able to work in this historic neighbourhood.
(Photo: Zoe Lee Store Front on Rue Du Parc Royal, Paris/Instagram)
I like Khadi and Co. on Boulevard Beaumarchais, as they have natural fibre garments made mostly in India with indigo dyed and lovely prints. Don’t miss the beautifully woven throws for the house as well as scarves.
A German label called Oska on rue Turenne with lots of oversized easy-to-wear garments and outerwear. This standalone label has been under the radar for 20 years or so with an absolutely loyal clientele.
I am more of a food person than fashion to be honest! The best Jambon Beurre in Paris is at Cochon on rue Charlot—truffle ham on black charcoal tradition baguette with extra unsalted butter, take away only. Verjus for the beautiful French comforts, Clown Bar and Cafe du Coin for lunch treats.
Though I mostly end up at my husband's restaurant, Le Grand Bain, after shop hours. It’s a killer natural wine and tapas place for sharing, and every time I go, I’m surprised by the menu.
La Buvette on the 11th serves up the best natural wines and simple snacks. I love to drink natural wines, and it’s gaining popularity nowadays too. There are always new restaurants opening but these guys are my staples—they’ve been around for years.
Then there’s Marche des Enfants Rouge, housing a brilliant Japanese chef Chez Takeo and Au Coin Bio, a natural wine bar with small sharing plates. For dinner, I’ll hit Jones, cozy food and natural wines, yes please.
There’s always a beautiful exhibition going on somewhere in Paris. I go to Jeu de Paume for photography, plus Musee des Arts Decoratifs is always a treat. Then, there’s The Centre Pompidou bookshop for a quiet browse.
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