Les Docks, a.k.a Cité de la Mode et du Design (75013), seems to be Paris’ latest attraction. Sunday afternoon, stroller and baby with, we ventured to the east side of town to fulfill our curiosity, enjoying the drive along the Seine on the way.
When we reached our destination, this omnipresent and surreal granny apple green structure – home to the French fashion institute IFM in lieu of the industrial warehouse dating back to the early 1900s and reinvented this April 2012 – , popped out as we were exiting a street of hungry souls (I suppose, as when we returned our car had been broken into and was left without a window).
We arrived via the Wanderlust (open June 2012 by the team of Silencio + Social Club), referred to as the “IT” hang out with its large outdoors screen, club, bars, in and outdoor dining orchestrated by an up and coming Top Chef. I must admit that I still at times question just who “IT” is? Three dandy’s chill’ in with their i-phones in wooden lounge chairs? A DJ with headphones dancing to house music? A rare barber with his antique equipment offering a close shave? A goldilocks beautician painting nails from her vintage chair?
A boy taking on a girl at a round of ping-pong? A masseuse soothing bobo souls from an overworked week or night at the Club perhaps… ? Regardless, I enjoyed each actor in the set as we wandered past. N2S: go back on a Friday night to catch a lecture or atelier in partnership with London’s V&A museum, IFM and Musée Galliera (the latter is closed thru Fall 2013 yet it continues to shine through pop up events). Wanderlust is open Wed-Sat 12PM-6AM and Sunday 11AM-2AM.
We veered onto the boardwalk (look honey, a photo booth: 2 euros for 4 blinding flashes – I admit to succumbing to the nostalgia in New York just last weekend and it was fun!). He continued onward as I clicked the shutter.
We moved (or grooved) through a minimalist Chelsea-type gallery – though the proportions are closer to that of the Piers. Skipping the avant-garde fashion exhibit and design stores, we found our way to the only two open pop up shops: Bleu de Paname (workman’s blues turned fashion garments Made in France and sold at Paris’ concept stores Merci, Colette or Centre Commercial) and Pigalle (mix of haute and street wear that seems effortless yet requires a trained eye before landing the right look).
Whilst most surrounding stores are closed on Sundays, one could easily get a sense of the place. A sister venue to New York’s Meatpacking + High Line + Brooklyn where it feels good to hang out and play it by ear.
The security escorted us to the rooftop. There are actually two of the three floors accessible to the public; however the hundreds of steps leading to the stars did not look inviting with our stroller. As we walked out of the underground-type corridors, the holiday atmosphere of Le Baron instantly seduced me.
Pastel-painted wooden tables, large bulbs and spotlights, wood huts, eye candy galore, kids playing baby foot… Now this was my cup-o-tea (calling for a glass of bubbly actually!). Soon to be THE club and rendezvous for shows… we discovered it by accident and found it ideal for a late afternoon wander. We did not care on the other hand for the next-door Moon Roof.
Last week, the rooftop unveiled a whole new lifestyle: a sweetheart of a DJ spinning vinyl records from the 60s or 70s (first time that I hear CSN in Paris since my highschool days), a cocktail bar with fresh herb garden (I tried a mint leaf in my bubbly and it’s alright actually), Lenon meets Marant fashionistas mingle with desperate housewives, linen lounge chairs provide the ideal position to reminisce about summer hols… and this past Saturday a truck La Frite from Liège, Belgium had freshly wheeled in! The real crispy fries with rich mayo my friend and burgers. Who ever said the best fries were French???
Clearly Les Docks and more precisely Le Baron on the rooftop are a place qui donne la frite as we say in France – that spell Fun. Relax. Love. Play… and more if affinity. I can only imagine the late nights (rare for us these days) as our Sunday afternoon was not too shabby!
I turned to my hubby and said “I love it when after seven years of being back Paris still manages to surprise me!”.
Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.