What's Hot in Paris Now

Michel Denancé

An easy stop for Cannes-goers, the City of Lights is host to star-studded shoots and these chic new spots.

Hollywood's love affair with Paris is nothing new, but thanks to a new tax credit, the city has been attracting some of the world's top filmmakers for major international projects. During the past year, Woody Allen swept through town with Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson in tow, Martin Scorese and 300 extras took over the Sorbonne, and Madonna -- in town directing her Wallis Simpson-focused W.E -- is said to have rented out the Tuileries gardens for her children to play in. A total of 110 features shot here in 2010, and TV's Gossip Girl also descended on the city. Here's THR's guide to the famed city, from locations to libations.


In the 1st Arrondissement, the geographical center of Paris, Angelina Jolie sipped coffee at the classic Cafe le Nemours at the Place Colette for a key scene in The Tourist. Down the road, McAdams and Wilson -- filming Allen's new Midnight in Paris -- took in some of the city's incomparable views from a terrace on the top floor of the renowned Le Meurice hotel. "It's magical," says the film's cinematographer, Darius Khondji. "You see Paris, and you feel you could just reach out and touch it."

Allen also made sure to include less-trafficked spots like Place Dauphine, a small square on the Ile de la Cite, known for restaurants and ornate apartments atop cobblestone streets. "He wanted places that were less well-known than those seen in most Hollywood movies," says Antonin Depardieu, the film's location manager. "He really wanted to make Manhattan in Paris."

In the neighboring 2nd Arrondissement, Fernando Meirelles recently shot scenes for his drama 360, starring Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, at La Bourse, the vast stock exchange-turned-space for hire that can be morphed into essentially anything. "We re-created a mosque inside. There are a lot of things to be done in the space," says Raphael Benoliel, line producer for Midnight in Paris.

While in the neighborhood, make sure to dine at the casual, exposed-stone-and-brick Frenchie (5 rue du Nil, frenchie-restaurant.com). Book your table at least three months in advance for Gregory Marchand's inventive French fare that has all of Paris scrambling to get a seat. Marchand's three-course prix fixe menu is a steal at just €38 (about $56) and puts a contemporary twist on a French grandmere's comfort cooking. Not far away, break a sweat at Klay (day passes €45, 4 bis rue Saint Sauveur, klay.fr). This sleekly designed two-floor sports club, already a favorite of Gallic film execs, includes a restaurant and serene swimming pool with an adjacent terrace.


Onscreen, the Gossip girls hit three spots in the trendy district last year: the Marche d'Aligre, one of Paris' less touristy meat, cheese and produce markets; working-class wine bar Le Baron Rouge; and popular bistro Chez Julien, with an incredible view of Notre Dame.

But also make sure to visit Merci (111 boulevard Beaumarchais, merci-merci.com). The three-story cafe, bookstore and boutique sells brands like Stella McCartney as well as vintage clothes, many donated by designers and celebs. Proceeds have helped underprivileged children in Madagascar. "I go there all the time for lunch," French actress Judith Godreche says. "It's one of my favorite places in Paris." For a light bite, pop into Rose's Bakery's new location (10 boulevard de la Bastille, +33-(0)1-46-28-21-14) at modern-art museum Maison Rouge for organic baked goods and salads. The bakery is a favorite of Clemence Poesy and Vanessa Paradis.

A bit to the north, it's jumping at the stylish yet comfortable club Le Pompon (39 rue des Petites Ecuries, lepompon.fr). Hip young Parisians crowd the wood-paneled upstairs bar and basement dance floor, which opened a few months ago in a former synagogue.


In the 8th, not far from the Champs-Elysees, Clint Eastwood shot a key scene in Hereafter at Michelin-starred haute gastronomy restaurant Senderens (9 place de la Madeleine, senderens.fr), a favorite of the area's fashion and publishing bigwigs. Just around the corner on the rue Royale, Allen took over the legendary Maxim's for some of the 1920s scenes in his time-jumping Midnight in Paris.

If you're in the area after hours, check out restaurant-club L'Arc Paris (12 rue de Presbourg, larc-paris.com), in a vast space with views of the Arc de Triomphe. If you know someone with access, the night to go is Thursday, when nightlife queen Albane Cleret pulls together a stylish VIP crowd. An alternative spot for a drink is new lounge Le Schmuck (43 rue de Ponthieu, no phone or website). Opened by a group of friends including Sherlock Holmes actor Gilles Lellouche, which makes up for its indecorous name by donating €1 to a children's charity for each cocktail purchased. The low-key spot, done in gold-on-black palm-tree-print wallpaper, caters to a cast of stars such as Gaspard Ulliel and Guillaume Canet (who's expecting a child with Marion Cotillard).

And a pair of new dining discoveries are tucked away inside two of Paris' most venerable institutions. At historic exhibition hall Le Grand Palais, Michelin-starred chef Eric Frechon has relaunched the Mini Palais brasserie (3 avenue Winston Churchill, minipalais.com), offering such plates as duck-breast burgers and asparagus clafoutis until 2 a.m., with the option to dine on its Greek-columned terrace. Starting May 15 at Hotel Plaza Athenee (25 avenue Montaigne, plaza-athenee-paris.com), chef Alain Ducasse will serve a health-conscious menu in La Cour Jardin courtyard. The mostly vegan fare was created by Lawrence Aboucaya, owner of the nearby restaurant/juice bar Pousse-Pousse (7 rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, poussepousse.eu), which won over Ducasse when he visited.


Last year, on a street in the Latin Quarter, a fan of one of Allen's actresses came to watch the action on set. "Little by little, we noticed there was no noise at all in the streets," location manager Depardieu recalls. As it turns out, the "fan" was France President Nicolas Sarkozy, who came to watch wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who has a small role in the film. Sarkozy's security team had blocked off the entire area.

Scorsese shot scenes here for Hugo Cabret (his first 3D movie) at the Sorbonne and inside the vast Sainte Genevieve library. So where did the director go in the neighborhood to escape? "Scorsese lived in his trailer," the film's production manager Gilles Castera says. "He ate pizza in his trailer."

But there's no reason to deny yourself. Chef William Ledeuil's Le KGB (25 rue des Grands Augustins, kitchengaleriebis.com), baby sister to Michelin-starred Ze Kitchen Galerie, specializes in Asian-influenced tapas plates. Neighbor Catherine Deneuve is a fan. The see-and-be-seen crowd, meanwhile, can be found at Ralph's, part of Ralph Lauren's new flagship (173 boulevard Saint-Germain, ralphlaurenstgermain.com). Done in leather armchairs and hunt-themed paintings, it serves American fare including Maine lobster and burgers (with meat flown in from Lauren's Colorado ranch) at very French prices; burgers run €25 to €33. Dessert lovers will want to sample the macaroons at Pierre Herme (72 rue Bonaparte, pierreherme.com), which some say are better than those at famed pastry shop Laduree. "They're less sweet and offer more intriguing flavors," says Gossip Girl exec producer Stephanie Savage.

Later, check out Curio Parlor (16 rue des Bernardins, curioparlor.com), from the team behind the popular Experimental Cocktail Club. It offers classic English-style drinks in an interior filled with taxidermy animals.

And what would a trip to the Saint-Germain-des-Pres be without shopping? Gerard Darel (12 rue de Sevres, gerarddarel.com), a casual-chic boutique recently opened by the fashion designer, was inaugurated by Robin Wright and her Parisian friends. Across the street, don't miss the Hermes concept store (17 rue de Sevres, hermes.com). Located in a space that used to house an Art Nouveau swimming pool, the shop features a flower shop, tearoom and podlike wooden-lattice structures that showcase the luxury brand's latest styles.