“My weekends are hyperactive – with or without our four kids –and Saturdays always involve sport, so I start the day in training gear. Mornings are for errands. I bike to the Left Bank to stock up on fresh fruit and veg at the Maubert outdoor market. I like supporting organic flower producers, so I buy bundles of peonies – the lush, blood-red ones from southeast France that my wife Stéphanie loves.
I rarely indulge in sugar and carbs, but the croissants from La Maison d’Isabelle, supposedly the best in Paris, are worth it. Then I’ll go to CrossFit to work out or do some yoga. Another passion is rock climbing, so I like to take the kids, who range in age from nine to 14, to MurMur in Pantin, where we’ll climb using ropes.
For lunch, we’ll head to La Chaise au Plafond in the Marais. The owner, Xavier Denamur, is a food militant in the best way: he is pro-local and pro-organic and all his food is from the best sources. His beef tartare and pommes frites are excellent, as are the goat’s cheese salad and tarte Tatin. After lunch, I’ll visit the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville nearby: it has the ultimate hardware store in the basement, where I find little gadgets for the house. Then we might go to the movies, perhaps at the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand in the 13th arrondissement, which also has a wonderful exhibition space.
I am a big snacker, which means that by mid-afternoon I am ready for a galette from my favourite spot, a crêperie called Breizh on the Rue Vielle du Temple. I always order a salty galette made with buckwheat, spinach and eggs. If I have guests in town, I might take them to Méert, a family-owned chocolate shop from Lille that sells the most delicious little buttercream-filled waffles – ludicrous for your health but so charming.
If we eat out, it’s at the Grand Cœur for fennel and orange salads and simple fish with no fussy sauces, or at Il Quadrifoglio, where they make a superb gluten-free pizza topped with organic tomatoes and cheese. If there’s a concert on at the Philharmonie – in a Jean Nouvel building at the edge of the city – it’s always worth the trip. While we don’t go out for drinks too often, a special Saturday night involves the bar at the Hôtel de Crillon, which attracts a young, eclectic, local crowd.
On Sunday, Stéphanie and I will often cycle to the Gare de Lyon, put our bikes on the train and go to Fontainebleau for a scenic tour – without an itinerary. We like to get lost. Or we’ll park our bikes and do some climbing before returning home to oversee the kids’ homework. Later we’ll stroll along the Seine, from the Tuileries to the Bastille, for some people-watching and an ice cream. Then we might visit an exhibition. The Museum of Hunting and Nature is a hidden gem, and while I don’t support hunting, it has an incredible mix of contemporary art, historic objects, tapestries and sculptures. It’s poetic – like travel for the mind.
There is a saying in France that means “Sunday evenings are gloomy”, and Stéphanie and I do our best to fight this feeling. For fun, we might show up at a friend’s house unannounced with a bottle of rosé, or we’ll listen to a podcast such as Nova [Mix] Club or the Joe Rogan Experience. If I’m tired, it means I’ve done everything I wanted, so it’s mission accomplished.”