The Beckham’s Guide to Paris

In I tried... on November 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

Ah, the Beckhams. Setting sail for French soil to grace us with their co-ordinated outfits and his & hers perfumes. Will they crack the Parisian lifestyle? Will they conquer the hearts of the French football fans? Will they consider launching a brand Beckham croissant? Will they or won’t they is the question on every Parisian’s lips. Well let me tell you, as a quasi-English ex-pat living in Paris, I’m bloody well counting on it (especially on that croissant idea– they should probably just go ahead and hire me).

No doubt the French paparazzi will go into overdrive upon the Beckham’s arrival and so I thought I might take this opportunity to share a few of my “paparazzi-proof“, secret spots in Paris to welcome my fellow ex-pats…

(I had to do a guide, didn’t I?!)

For an Incognito Welcome Cocktail:

Settling into Paris will doubtfully be a very private affair for the Mr. & Mrs. Beckham. So where might they be able to escape their celebrity circus and enjoy a private celebratory ‘welcome to Paris’ cocktail?

In the heart of Odeon in the 5th arrondissement, on a quiet, residential street is the best kept, after dark secret in Paris. Now I know I’ve talked about these prohibition-style secret cocktail clubs before, but this is the real deal, the original, Le Bar.

If you blink you’ll miss it, 27 rue de Condé is the discrete location of this unadvertised, unspoilt legend. Ring the bell to escape the outside world and gain entry via the could-be-father-and-son bartenders, warmly welcoming you into their infinitely noir interior. Soft, velvet leather couches, Asian decorative accents and an encyclopedic selection of spirits compliment the very sexy, mysterious and yet relaxing atmosphere of Le Bar. Cocktails are served one way only– strong.

Le Bar, 27 rue de Condé, Odeon 75006, Paris (+33143290661)

How to make some Parisian Friends:

Supper clubs are a thriving trend in Paris but if you’re looking for a celebrity element, Une Artiste a la Table might interest you– think Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona but set in Paris. Behind the secret dinners are two Spanish entrepreneurs, Ana and Rosario and Californian chef, Kristi. Every fortnight on a Thursday at 8.30pm, twelve guests (who also happen to be complete strangers) gather at Ana’s house for a gourmet meal in the presence of a well-known musician, dancer, painter, writer or other artist who will discuss their work over the course of the dinner. Come dessert, the guest of honor offers a live performance of their art, whether it be a serenade, a tango or a live, spontaneous session of painting.  You must reserve your space in advance online and expect to pay up to 70 euros or so for this secret cultural feast.

Total Immersion into Fresh French Cuisine:

Celebrity or not, when you move to France, it’s a bit of a crime not to sample traditional, fresh French cooking. Serving honest and uncomplicated recipes for almost two decades, Le Patrelle only has three staff– one cooking, one cleaning, and one serving (less likely to have time to tip-off the paparazzi) and the menus are charmingly handwritten. Very ‘caché’ in a tiny side street in the 9th arrondissement, gloriously characterized with French bric-a-brac decor, Le Patrelle is an eccentric, romantic restaurant, obviously still thriving for a very good reason.

Le Petrelle, 34 Rue Pétrelle, 75009 Paris, (01 42 82 11 02)

Spending time with the Kids:

Even a busy power couple such as the Beckhams need to take some time out to bond with the kids.  A very private and hidden passage way in the Marais, unbeknownst even to most locals, is home to L’Atelier de Fréd, a cooking workshop for both adults and children. A retired celebrity chef himself, Fréd welcomes beginners and experienced cooks alike and also holds children’s workshops for up to six students, teaching his little chefs to make madeleines, mousse au chocolat and cakes.

L’Atelier de Fred, Passage de l’Ancre / 223 rue Saint-Martin, Paris 3ème (métro Arts et Métiers ou Réaumur Sébastopol) / Tel : 01 40 29 46 04

Bending it Like Beckham: 

Something Mr. Beckham might find a little more familiar is one of Paris’ most exclusive and luxury gyms, L’Usine. David and any other ex-pats should be aware that personal trainers are referred to as a “coach” in French gyms. Stunningly designed around it’s stone vaulting and renowned for whipping beautiful Parisian actresses and fashionistas in shape, L’Usine has been described as “the perfect balance of sport, comfort and elitism attracting some of the worlds most well know stars”. It’s quieter and more discreet than its other designer gym competitors such as the Klay Club, and seeing as no one likes to be snapped sweating in their gym clothes, L’Usine’s newest celebrity customers could very well be the Beckhams…

Paris-Beaubourg & Paris-Opera

A New Haute Couture Hobby for Posh?

Against all odds, Victoria Beckham has become a respected name in high fashion and coming to Paris, the fashion capital of the world and home of haute couture, could be a very good move for her. Collecting haute couture fashion has been a hobby of some of the world’s greatest designers and this could perhaps be Victoria’s greatest boost of all to her own credibility in the eyes of the fashion elite. In a long-term perspective, Chanel vintage haute couture and ready-to-wear garments are likely to remain the most exclusive and exciting niche in the market of vintage designer dresses– and where better to track them down than in Paris…

Located in the Gardens of the Palais-Royal, along with some very upscale shopping, Didier Ludot is the King of haute couture fashion from 1900 to the present day. This enlightened expert has made it his mission to protect the heritage of French savoir-faire in the realm of luxury items (couture and fashion accessories) by allowing amateurs, international collectors and museums to acquire unique items from the most prestigious French designers such as Chanel, YSL and Christian Dior.

You might not have a Beckham bank account but if you’re a fashion-lover, this legendary boutique is definitely worth a visit.

Didier Ludot, 24 Galerie Montpensier, Jardin du Palais Royal 75001 Paris,

For some Posh Parisian pampering: 

The Spa:

With close to 80 hammams scattered throughout the city (with larger concentrations in the North African communities) these alternative spas play a prominent role in Paris’ cultural tapestry. The perfect combination of luxurious pampering, beautiful setting, all-natural products, and authentic spa techniques perfected by Arab women for centuries will be sure to cure the woes of any newcomer to the city.

At the discreet O’Kari hammam in the Montorgueil district, guests are offered mint tea, refreshing citronnade and North African snacks in the lounge area before their detox begins in the twinkling mosaic tiled steam room. This is followed with a gommage, an all-over body scrub on a heated stone table with olive-oil based soaps that will get rid of dulling dead skin build-up. Then a honey-based facial mask is applied and allowed to set while your hair is washed and untangled. Finally, unwind in a heated jacuzzi, surrounded by North African pottery, candles and soothing music.

This basic treatment costs €150 and lasts about 2 hours. Treatments range from €90-€330, with a specialty in masks and massages.

 O’Kari (22 rue dessoubs, 2nd, tel 01 42 36 94 66)

The Coiffure:

If Victoria doesn’t want to be papped on a bad hair day, she might want to head straight over to the very confidential salon, appropriately named, Très Confidentiel. In the white laboratory decor of his avant-garde salonHair ‘artist’, Bernard Friboulet, a favorite with Paris’ most high-maintenance women, is the kind of man you trust not to ruin your hair– ever. It can be very daunting for women moving to a new country and trying to find a hairdresser they can trust. Bernard asks you almost too many questions before he starts working on your hair.

Cuts from 100 €, blow dries (le brushing) 40 to 70 €, Color, 50 to 120 €.

Bernard Friboulet. 44/45, Galerie Montpensier 75001 Paris, 01 42 97 43 98

When missing the comforts of Home: 

From living in England and the USA most of their lives, I’m guessing the Beckham boys’ favourite kind cuisine consists of a burger and a bun. Lately I’ve been missing my favorite british salty snack, Hula Hoops. So fellow Anglophone ex-pats, when you just don’t feel like another plate of foie gras, here are two places to keep in your emergency address book.

Charly Bun’s

This name is priceless, but it’s not the only reason I loved this place. Firstly, on the menu you’ll find your selection of hearty Yankee Doodle dishes alongside an unexpected option of a French gourmet take on American classics. And by the way, the waiters are as friendly as they are in America. You may also find this restaurant a pleasant surprise, as did I, because of its location. Nestled in a newly re-developed but charming square, hidden from the snooty luxury shopping of Rue St. rue Saint-Honoré, I saw a different side to the 1st arrondissement that I had not seen before. I was transported out of Paris and I actually felt as if I might be back in London– a very enjoyable winter evening under the outdoor heaters to soak up this unexpected spot.

36 Place du Marché Saint Honoré, Paris, 75001 (01 42 60 36 67)

The Real McCoy

Quite simply, this is where you go to fill up your pantry with Anglo/American goodies. Find anything from the traditional Heinz baked beans to Lucky Charms cereal (at a price).

194 Rue de Grenelle, Paris, France 75007 (01 45 56 98 82)

I still haven’t found any Frenchman mad enough to serve up Bangers & Mash in their restaurants in Paris. Let me know if you do!

Spend it Like Beckham: Dream-on Real Estate up for Sale

Luxury Parisian real estate is all very hush-hush because in most cases it stays in the families, passed down from generations and very rarely does it go on the market publicly. Since we don’t get to take a peak at it very often, I took the initiative to do a little extra digging and see what kind of properties will be on offer to the Beckham family as they search for what will no doubt be the height of luxury living in Paris…

Fit for Napoleon


Private mansion house on the right bank, renowned as “Maison Opera”, listed building built under Napoleon the 3rd by Garnier, the architect of the Opera de Paris. It boasts 850 square meters over 4 levels and includes a swimming pool, steam room and relaxation room.

7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms.


Posh Enough for a Princess 

Description: Private house on Rue des Saints Peres in Saint-Germain.

In the heart of the city, the property boasts 300 square meters with a terrace of 40 square meters. It features a vast dining kitchen, a living room with high ceilings opening to the terrace, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a staff studio and a car space.


Countryside Chic in the City

Description: 500 square meters of living space plus a 130 square meter basement.  Includes six bedrooms, 2 studies, 4 bathrooms, a lift, a garden, two parking spaces and a swimming pool. Quiet and private on Avenue Foch in the 16th arrondissement.


An Authentic Parisian Artisan Loft (with 4 bedrooms)

Description: Hidden from view in the heart of Paris’s 9th district. Four bedrooms, 360 square meters interior plus a 50 square meter central courtyard/ garden.

Prices, all not surprisingly, upon application at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: