Nicolas Roche’s Paris

The creative director of Roche Bobois – the French furniture brand founded by his grandfather and great-uncle, with 250 stores worldwide – is also a qualified architect

Nicolas Roche at the Centre de Danse du Marais
Nicolas Roche at the Centre de Danse du Marais | Image: Stéphane Remael

I get up around 9am on Saturday and walk round to Véronique Mauclerc, a wonderful organic pâtissier, and take home chausson aux pommes [apple and cinnamon pastries] for breakfast with my partner, Hervé-César. I’m very keen on organic food and environmental matters and am a member of La Cagette de Belleville, an association linking organic vegetable growers with consumers. Every Saturday our producer arrives with seasonable vegetables, which we help to distribute to local association members at a neighbourhood school.

An hour later, I get on my Honda scooter and go to a dance class at Centre de Danse du Marais. I’ve attended Martha Graham Contemporary Dance classes for 20 years and find them an expressive and creative way to keep in shape. The exercises are a real pleasure.

I usually meet friends for lunch at café Le Pick-Clops, where I have a quiche with salad and a glass of beer. Or we meet at Chez Nénesse, a family-run restaurant serving homely French cuisine. If I’m on my own I pop into Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, one of the oldest markets in Paris, which has lots of good food stalls. I enjoy Taeko’s Japanese specialities, which you can eat at outdoor tables.

In the afternoon I often go to the latest art or design exhibition at Centre Pompidou. My taste in art is very eclectic. I’m very keen on baroque paintings and 16th-century Italian artists, as I find their work so emotive. Another favourite activity is browsing the art galleries and vintage shops around Rue de Seine and Rue Mazarine. I rarely buy anything because I’m always tempted to splash out at Les Puces du Design, a twice-yearly event where dealers from all over Europe sell vintage pieces. The 1950s and 1960s were the golden age of design, in my opinion.


On Saturday evening I love to cook for friends who I rarely have time to meet during the week. Having already stocked up on vegetables, I go shopping around Rue de Belleville, where there are many high-quality independent food shops. I go to Bletry Didier, a very special butcher, Ma Cave for wine and Patisserie de l’Eglise Demoncy, which makes the most wonderful chocolate eclairs. I’ll often cook a roast chicken with jardinière de légumes, a simple recipe in which you add vegetables to the pot in succession and cook them all together. While I’m cooking I like listening to classical music, particularly baroque – Handel and Monteverdi – although I’m also keen on contemporary jazz and Brazilian music.

If I haven’t invited friends over, I might see a contemporary dance show at Théâtre de la Ville or go to a concert at Cité de la Musique. I’m a member there and go about 35 times a year. The Bach concertos by the Berlin Philharmonic have been especially enjoyable.

Sunday starts late, usually with brunch in Parc des Buttes Chaumont, where the scenery is very romantic, with hills, streams and lakes. Rosa Bonheur is a lively, informal restaurant in the park, serving southern Mediterranean tapas and very good charcuterie. In the afternoon I go home and play the piano – usually my favourite pieces by Claude Debussy. I’ve played since I was a child and really couldn’t imagine living without music.

On Sunday evening I often go round to friends’ houses. Six of us take it in turns to make something simple – soup or pasta – and we talk about projects we’re working on. It’s very calming; a bit like having a family dinner. Otherwise, I like to spend the evening quietly reading at home. I’m very fond of the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, and also enjoy classic novels, particularly by Balzac. Then I’m in bed by midnight, ready for the week ahead.


See also