Marc Larminaux’s perfect weekend in Paris

The creative director of Lalique has overseen collaborations with Zaha Hadid and Damien Hirst and pioneered the brand’s state-of-the-art new technique of digital art sculpting

Marc Larminaux at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris
Marc Larminaux at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris | Image: Edouard Jacquinet

“I start the weekend with kung fu. I never miss training; even if I’m travelling, I catch a flight that arrives back in time to do it. I’ve been with my master, Sifu Yvon Martinez of the Dragon Rouge school, for three years, and I’m obsessed. 

After a session, I head to my home in Romainville to take my daughters, Fiona and Maia, to their own activities, and then my wife Paola and I will head out for breakfast at Paris Feni, a tiny and very bohemian Indian café in Oberkampf. I love its fresh juices and chapattis.

Then we’ll go to Le Marais and Place des Vosges, and wander around the galleries. Romain Torri, the young founder of Galerie Torri, is a friend and I really like some of his artists: Mathieu Mercier, who is in the Duchamp vein, and 94-year-old Vera Molnár, a Hungarian pioneer of digital and computer art whose work is very geometric. We might then pop into Art Jingle, which represents Fernando Costa; he makes mosaics and collages from salvaged street signs – we have some of his work. Paola is Colombian and is friends with the owners of Mor Charpentier, which represents many South American artists, so that is our next stop.

We’ll go to Mi Ranchito Paisa for a typical Colombian lunch: fried fish, potatoes, crushed and fried platanitos and ajiaco soup. Everyone speaks Spanish, and it’s a colourful place – a bit kitsch, even. Colombian cuisine is not very diverse, but I find the the graphics, gold and stones very inspiring, particularly when I’m making custom jewellery

After lunch, we’ll go to an exhibition at one of the big museums, or the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, near the Jardin des Plantes. It has taxidermy animals in the entrance, a little zoo and greenhouses, and you feel like you’re stepping back in time 100 years. Lalique is about flora and fauna, and if I need to design, say, a lion for the crystalware or the jewellery, I’ll come here and work on my digital art tablet. Anatomy was a passion when I studied applied arts, and I still like to sketch portraits of people, animals and nature as a hobby – the insect area of the museum is my favourite.

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Although it’s all about Colombian culture in the morning, I’m really very French in my tastes. On Saturday night we dine out with friends who are fellow gourmands. I like the risotto and the couscous arlequin at Arpège; the sole at Le George; and the seasonal pâté en croûte at 114 Faubourg is amazing. Epicure is next on my list: from the food to the cellar to the service, it has a great reputation – and is a must for those who like to experiment.

I enjoy molecular cuisine but if cooking at home I go quite traditional. My father is from the east of France where they eat choucroute and lots of meat casseroles, so this is often my starting point. 

I spend my week travelling or in the city centre, so on Sunday I like peaceful places. If I’m up early, I’ll go to the Marché aux Lilas in Porte des Lilas for organic vegetables and seasonal fruit, and the best charcuterie from Normandy. 

We’ll often visit my parents, who live in Garches, which is between the city centre and Versailles and next to the Parc de Saint-Cloud, my favourite place in Paris. It used to be the grounds of a castle, and has wonderful gardens, fountains and amazing city views – I know every corner of it. Sometimes we rent bicycles or little pedal cars, which the girls love, and we stop for coffee at Le Brumaire or Chalet de l’Oasis – both are in stunning surroundings.

We are lucky to have the beautiful listed art deco Cinéma Le Trianon on our doorstep in Romainville. We’ll see whatever is on there on Sunday night and try to hold on to the relaxed spirit until Monday comes.”

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