“I am a bit of a hermit on Saturday mornings. I prefer to have breakfast – healthy juice and cereals sent from my brothers in Germany, or varieties I get flown over from LA or New York – in our apartment in Saint-Germain. My partner Jeremy and I recently moved here from the eighth arrondissement, where I’d lived for 13 years.
Then we will get out to see some interesting architecture, which always inspires me. I like the Communist Party building, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and the Unesco headquarters, which is not only a beautiful building but also has great art – including Tadao Ando’s concrete Meditation Space outside.
In spring, I like to visit Musée Guimet, which has a small Japanese garden that I discovered before I even lived in Paris. It’s the original garden of the hôtel particulier that was owned by Monsieur Guimet, the industrialist, and there are sculptures in it that were once in his house. It’s so calm and peaceful there.
For lunch, we’ll go to Yen in Saint-Germain. It’s a very traditional Japanese restaurant in what I’d call “modern Kyoto” style, with lots of wood downstairs and a bright, minimal interior upstairs. The food is beautiful to look at. We have the amazing sushi that they change according to the season, and tofu with ginger and Japanese spices. They make their own soba noodles there too.
We also love to head to Fontainebleau, where there is a great bouldering site. I don’t climb, but it’s stunning, with its castle and churches. In the area called L’Eléphant, there’s a dried lakebed with huge sandy surfaces by the woods, and all these enormous rocks – it’s a very strange landscape for Paris. Jeremy climbs and likes to take pictures there.
We have a few really good Italian restaurants in Paris, and my favourite is Le Cherche Midi, where we go for dinner either alone or with friends, depending on who is in town. It’s very small and noisy, so typically Italian, but with some unique flavours.
On Sundays I try to go to a class at Ashtanga Yoga Paris. For me, it’s about discipline more than exercise, but it takes lots of energy. Afterwards, I pick up the international and French newspapers from a local newsstand and sit in the park to read them. We don’t have the same park culture as London or New York, but I like the Jardin du Luxembourg.
If there’s something on at the Musée Rodin, I’ll go – they have really special contemporary shows, like the one where Robert Mapplethorpe photographs were staged alongside Rodin sculptures. There are also amazing gardens to wander around at quieter times of the year.
I’ll then pop into Patisserie Tomo, a pretty bakery where they come up with all these strange combinations that mix Japanese flavours with French patisserie. You can have dorayaki [red bean] pancakes and little things like chocolate mochi [rice balls], or just a bowl of Japanese vegetables or soup for lunch.
If I have time on Sunday, I paint– something I have done since I was a child. I paint abstract landscapes or figurative pieces and portraits in oils, so I will often pop into Sennelier. It’s the best art shop, near the Beaux-Arts, where it has been since 1887. They make up their own colours and canvases – it really is the dream. The first time I went inside, I could not believe my eyes.
I also love the art bookshop [Walther König] at Palais de Tokyo, and will often spend the evening reading at home after a visit there. Or we’ll see a movie; there are a couple of independent theatres – Le Reflet Médicis and Le Champo – that show an eclectic mix of the old and new. Then I try to get to bed very early, so I am ready for the week ahead.”
This story was originally posted on January 21 2019.