Matt Gavioli’s picks for shopping, eating and seeing in Paris.
When a famed restaurant in his home town closed, retail environment consultant and good food enthusiast Matt Gavioli took it as a sign it was time for a change.
Brisbane is my home town, and I know we always hear the “Brisbane is changing and evolving” conversation. But really going out in Brisbane and having new satisfying food experiences seemed to be a difficult thing, with restaurants closing early and when the city’s most awarded restaurant (Ortiga) closes, you can’t help to wonder, where it all went wrong.
In one sentence describe your now town?
Colourful and charming, in a puff of smoke.
What are you doing 9-5 or sporadically to pay the bills?
I have just completed my first branding project here in Paris and I am working to establish my business THISEDITION here in Paris, working on retail branded environment projects.
Which pocket of Paris is home and what does it offer that others don’t?
Every time I have visited Paris, I always stayed in the Marais or very central. After living here, you come to realise you need refuge from the hustle and bustle, as it’s never ending, particulalry on the weekends. So I am living in the 20th arrondisement, where I have the same amount of space afforded back home. Living in a smaller central apartment sent me crazy.
Greatest thing you miss about your home town, that Paris doesn’t afford you?
It’s strange, but driving a car. Riding a bike makes up for this, something I hadn’t done for years. But I miss the simplicity of driving to a friend’s house! But of course, the absence of family. This is the hardest part of living in another country.
Top tip for tourists?
Get the shopping out of the way first, book restaurants months in advance and spend every last penny you own.
Easily the best spots to get coffee in Paris are…
People are always surprised when you tell them that you can count the number of excellent coffee spots in Paris on both hands. My preference is Fragment’s Paris, hidden in the backstreets of the Marais (76 rue des Tournelles 75003), the warm space and friendliness of owner Youssef, always makes you feel welcome. He also meticulously measures each shot and uses semi-pasteurised milk (most milk in France is raw). Every morning he has an International NY Times newspaper, which is the perfect start to the morning.
Telescope is also a highlight. On Rue Villedo, it’s also a short walk from the Palais Royal (75002), they are also very accommodating to Anglophones. They make an effort to engage and make you feel at ease with your poor french. Tip, always order an espresso if you are dining out, for ordering a white coffee will haunt you for days.
If after a long celebratory meal we’ll head to any of the below restaurants…
Being Australian, you must and you want to head to Bones (43 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac, 75011 Paris.) Booking for the dinner service can be difficult, but you can be always assured of a spot at the bar and the plates lend themselves to sharing. I experienced James Henry’s set menu, a couple of weeks ago and it was beyond my expectations, I am still lusting after one of the lobster and tripe dishes. Tripe! No matter how simple the plate, everything has such complex flavor. The much written about and praised house churned butter and bread is not to be missed.
Fish La Boissonnerie (69 rue de Seine, 75006) a modern French bistro has become one of my favourite spots, the team of waiters have a humble, friendly, efficient attitude (often hard to find). The food is fresh, simple and well priced. Don’t let the restaurant name fool you, they always have a couple of meat dishes too.
Saturday brunch is best spent tucking into the fare at…
Paris, and the Australian idea of a big breakfast or poached eggs and bacon, doesn’t agree. The bacon here is thin, dry and more like prosciutto and it is one of the things I miss most. It’s best to make brunch a Sunday thing and head to the organic market – I like stocking up on fresh produce at Marche biologique Raspail (116 Boulevard Raspail 75006) and then heading to Marks and Spencer Food for some British bacon (6 Rue de la Pépinière, 75008 Paris). If you cook at home, you’ll be assured your bacon and poached eggs are as you prefer.
Restorative fare for those a little under the weather…
People rise so late, and there is a strong, what they have coined “a dude food” scene here. After that big night head for burgers at Cantine California (46 rue de turbigo 75003) or Big Fernard (60 rue de Sèvres 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt).
If guests are in town, we’ll show off the city by…
Walking through the Jardin des Tuileries gardens, past Notre dame Cathedral and end up at L’Avant Comptoir (3 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006), a standing room only tapas and wine bar. Where you will eat and drink the afternoon away while contemplating the evening plans.
The best route for a walk/run (perhaps to ward of jetlag!) is found at…
Head to the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, the 5th largest park in Paris. It is my favourite place to run and has a 2km loop with so many old trees and great views over Paris.
I’m easily talked into savouring a Sunday lunch at…
Les papilles! This traditional bistro (30 rue Gay Lussac 75005) has a seasonal set menu and is one of best food experiences I have had in Paris. The menu changes daily and the service is welcoming. You leave with biggest smile and wonder how life can be this good.
The city’s slickest independent boutiques are…
Outside of the popular regular’s (Colette, Merci). I like a newish boutique called Tom Greyhound and the upstart Parisian men’s label AMI. A.P.C stores are also everywhere and their collections cater to a wide audience, most friends end up spending their monies here. I also recently found The Broken Arm – and will definitely be going back.
Special gifts for loved ones can always be found at…
You cannot go past Le bon Marche. It caters for everyone, and it’s a dangerous place to spend your weekends. Also check out the food hall – it’s a must for foodies and has everything you normally couldn’t find.
One of the coolest precincts for a browse would be…
You would have to check out Nuba, the open Paris rooftop. On weekends they have food vans and at night it turn’s into a wild club that goes to the early hours. Historical marché des Enfants Rouges in the Marais always caters for everyone’s tastes with Italian, Lebanese, African, Japanese options. Outside of the Marais hustle and bustle, I would head to Pigalle. Once a quieter corner of Paris, this arrondissement has so much energy and is a go to for nightlife.
If stocking up on beautiful produce and supplies for home entertaining, best to get them at…
I discovered this place called http://latresorerie.fr/ it takes it to the next level. Homewares, kitchen ware, furniture. The store is well curated and the only decision really depends on how much you are willing to spend.
A unique mini break outside of the city is…
You must go anywhere in Italy. Paris comes to a stand still in August, so I did a week in Tuscany and could no believe how relaxing and easy it was. I stayed on an organic self-sufficient farm and it was bliss. Hire a car, do the coast line and bake everyday.
Georgia Stevenson’s Lowdown on London
When we wanted to pick the brain of a Londoner for our local lowdown travel guide, Georgia Stevenson came instantly to mind. A young interior designer, and Australian expat, she’s called London home for three years now, and owing to her love of good food, great drink and a gorgeous concept, she was easily our pick.
An Australian Expat’s suggestions for New York City
Lucy Babbage is our go-to girl when it comes to what’s cool and good in New York City. Previously based in Brisbane, she made the leap to the ‘Mecca of opportunity and adventure’ a near two years ago, and it’s only been good things since. Her guide to NYC of where to eat, shop and explore features a mix of local favourites, and those ‘must dos’ for visitors to tick off the list.
The very best guide to Perth
With a keen eye for detail and love of both fashion and food, stylist Elizabeth Clarke’s suggestions will have you and your next trip west deliciously and stylishly sorted. Slick boutiques with gorgeous designs, locales for good wine and stunning scenery all guaranteed.
The design writer’s guide to Hong Kong
With her discerning and highly regarded eye, Diana D’Arenberg is the ‘go to’ source for all that’s good and cool in Hong Kong, and really has her burgundy polished finger on what’s happening across the city’s creative sectors.