Tips from a local: Irène Cohen in the 7th Arrondissement

Irène Cohen grew up in South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago before moving back to Paris, aged 11. After studying History at La Sorbonne, she met her husband Thomas Cohen where, with his parents (who founded Bonpoint), they created Bonton — one of our favourite French brands and concept stores. Together Irène and Thomas have raised their three children Martin, Lune & Alice in Paris. They live near the Invalides in the 7th arrondissement with their cat. Irene describes the family as a typical city family; they choose a restaurant every Saturday for lunch and see a movie 2-3 times a month. Irène has kindly agreed to answer our ten questions, sharing her local tips on her home city.

1. Best date night restaurant: MARLON – Californian Restaurant 100m walk from my house. I love this kind of food, where you can choose a burger, a cevice or tacos. I also love when you have several small plates to share! And the place is beautiful! I could eat there 4 times a week and never have the same choice!!

2. Favourite family-friendly dinner spot: My kids are 17, 15 & 13 so I am less concerned by kid-friendly places. But when the kids where smaller (and we are still going there!) we loved to have Asian Food, a little Thaï restaurant called Chieng Mai near Notre Dame when you can have big tables and they are lovely with the kids… and they always got them with the shrimp chips!

3. Cosiest local cafe (or best place to grab a take-away!): Marcelle in Rue Montmartre near Les Halles. It is close to lots of Fashion offices. Open at 8am and you can have your latte with almond, coconut, soy or regular milk. And with a freshly baked treat! And you can also get your salad. I love this place, it is such a british way of doing a place.

4. Trusted children’s shop: Bonton! Haha, but I love also L’Oiseau de Paradis Boulevard Saint Germain which is an institution for toys. But to get a nice selection, I go to Smallable.

5. Favourite women’s shop: We have a very few multibrand stores in Paris, but there is one crossing Le Lutetia called BIBA, it’s an institution in the neighborhood. The girl in charge of this place has the most perfect eye for buying. And all the staff are always showing you the perfect selection. I love this place because you go in with a vague idea and you come out with the perfect piece of the season for you. The choice is very eclectic in style & brand and I love also to discover brands I don’t know.

6. Coolest local playground: Le Jardin du Luxembourg. I spent my three kids’ childhood there. From puppet show to swings to learning to ride a bike. It’s a very typical garden of Paris.

7. Favorite food shop: La Grande Epicerie!! When I go there, I buy stuff from all around the world. The
selection and display just makes you want to cook all weekend. They have a hundred different mustards, salts, honey … I like to try new things all the time so this place really makes it perfect!

8. Best shop for homewares, fun finds, or special gifts: MERCI …. All in the same place! But I love also now SARAH LAVOINE & DEMODE: also a concept made by my Step-mom, Marie-France Cohen, about decoration. Everything is delightful!

9. Local activity center or museum: LE GRAND PALAIS. I love this place because it is sometimes a place where you can see Gauguin (at this moment) or ice skating at Christmas or watch a movie. And the architecture is amazing. I think this place is the most beautiful in Paris with its glass roof!

10. Favourite park or outdoor space: Le Jardin d’Acclimatation, where you have now the Louis Vuitton Foundation. It’s a very nice place, for a walk or to bring the kids, at the door of Paris !


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