My life is about architecture, design and art – and, midweek, travelling. So a weekend in Paris spent with my wife Annick is such a treat – it’s peaceful, calm and an opportunity to enjoy the city and our area, just two minutes from the Champs-Elysées, next to the presidential palace. It’s surprisingly quiet. From my window I can see the French flag and President Hollande’s comings and goings.
Saturday morning I’ll often have my hair cut at Desfossé, next to our offices on Avenue Matignon. The owner Guillaume Sénéchal is very talented and his clientele is extremely mixed, so I can find myself talking with artists, journalists, captains of industry and politicians, such as former President Giscard d’Estaing. I then meet my wife for lunch at L’Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon at the top of the Champs-Elysées. Robuchon is for me the best living chef, and the food here is extraordinary – I love the langoustines and lamb côtelettes. I also enjoy the concept of watching your food be prepared. I eat a lot in restaurants I have designed, simply because I have worked with many of the big chefs for so long that they have become good friends. I like to see what new things they’re doing.
In the afternoon I like to visit the men’s boutiques in Saint-Germain-des-Prés for a little shopping. I’ll go to Ralph Lauren’s townhouse, and also Hermès to buy shirts, ties or silk pocket handkerchiefs. My wife and I will also visit all the antiques shops in the area that make my projects different, such as Galerie L’Arc en Seine, Galerie Yves Gastou for furniture, Galerie Altero for glass and Galerie Chevalier for rugs and tapestries. I’ll take photos of favourite pieces to pick from during the week. My perennial favourite eras for style are the 18th century, 1930s and 1970s.
I end up at my favourite bookshop, the historic Galignani on Rue de Rivoli, where I’ll buy beautiful books on decoration, architecture, gardens, art and fashion. My latest titles include At Home in the Garden by Carolyne Roehm and Simplicity by Nancy Braithwaite. I can easily be there an hour or more – it helps me find inspiration and think things through.
Saturday evening is all about the opera, theatre or ballet. My favourite is the Palais Garnier, not least because it is an extraordinary building, with its ceiling painted by Chagall. I love the music, and the choreography of a ballet like Polyphonia by Christopher Wheeldon, but for me it’s also about studying the lighting of a grand interior, which gives me inspiration for my larger restaurant and hotel designs.
On Sunday mornings, my wife and I go to an exhibition or visit a gallery – we just went to Révélations, a fair at the Grand Palais for the French creative professions. And we have lunch at the Mini Palais restaurant there, where I choose the roast chicken. The interior is decorated like an artist’s studio, and the cooking is by three-Michelin-star chef Eric Fréchon.
In the afternoon we visit the Marché aux Puces fleamarkets at Porte de Saint-Ouen, only open Saturday to Monday. We browse the Serpette, Biron and Malassis markets – the mix of 19th century, 1930s and 1950s pieces is interesting. I recently bought some paintings at Galerie Alberio and a chest of drawers at Galerie Glustin for a residential project in London.
These cultural weekends tend to go by very quickly. I must admit I am much more interested in art, design and music than I am in being sociable. And so Sunday evening we will stay at home and watch a movie like The Monuments Men or listen to Mahler’s Symphony No 5 to relax before the week ahead.