No trip to Paris is complete without a wander through the streets of the Marais – and no trip to the Marais is complete without a visit to LE BHV MARAIS, the city’s second-oldest department store. Far more than just a retail destination, the iconic establishment is putting on its finest display of Parisian events from 12 July to 18 August. Expect rooftop strawberry patches, riverside yoga and superior souvenirs – not to mention one of the best views in the city. Here, Courier London brings you our round-up of how to eat, drink and shop like a Parisian in and around LE BHV MARAIS this summer.
2013 marked the arrival of Paris’ first rooftop bar. Aptly named Le Perchoir (meaning ‘the perch’), it lies behind an unassuming apartment door, with only the punters hovering outside giving the Menilmontant hotspot away. Seven stories high, it offers panoramic views of Eastern Paris and across to the Sacre-Coeur, plus a fine dining restaurant on the level below. A year later, the winning formula of artisanal cocktails, finger food and memorable vistas found a second home on the 7th floor of LE BHV MARAIS, doubling up as a lookout post for the Eiffel Tower and Hotel de Ville. Take a break from pounding the pavements with a pisco sour and charcuterie board. Go early evening for the best spot (the bar opens at 20:15), but no rush once you’re in – this rooftop spot is open until 2am. Santé!
Paris might be the last place you’d expect to find strawberries growing, let alone hops, tomatoes and colonies of bees. But think again. The French capital is aiming to dedicate one third of its green spaces to urban farms, one of which is quietly thriving on the top floor of LE BHV MARAIS.
Sous les Fraises is said to be the largest vertical vegetable garden on a European rooftop and unites farmers, gardeners, artisans and local residents to revegetate the city. Supplying 80 chefs from across Ile-de-France with fresh ingredients such as edible flowers, sage and goji berries, it’s usually closed for public access, but you can sample (and take home) some of the produce at the 2nd-floor pop-ups. Its inventory is a love letter to the picnic-aero, so expect organic IPAs, the berry-infused Hortus Gin, nutty rosemary spread and tomato-pepper crackers. Whether you’re taking a piece of this urban haven home or enjoying it al fresco, it doesn’t get more Parisian than Sous les Fraises.
BANQUET LIKE A BON VIVANT
After visiting New York’s iconic grocery Dean & Deluca, Delphine Plisson realised her home city needed somewhere people could pick up the finest French produce – from Bresse chickens to the perfect bottle of rosé – or meet for a quick refuel or lingering lunch. Enter Maison Plisson, comprising a sundrenched terrace and restaurant, plus a conjoined deli, bakery and store on the bustling boulevard Beaumarchais. This one-stop shop has gained a reputation for its abundance of fresh produce (80% of it is domestically sourced) and dedication to seasonality.
‘All the regions have a seat at the table and we know all the makers personally, often visiting them and inviting them to hold tastings at weekends,’ explains Delphine. Right now, summer fruits, sold in the shop or featured in baked wonders like cherry clafoutis are Maison Plisson’s most popular dish. Salads made using coveted family recipes are a summer highlight, as well as slabs of quiche, tartines, charcuterie boards and ceviche. We’d recommend multiple visits to sample it all.
The flagship Marais location opened in 2015, but now with Maison Plisson 2 near the Jardin des Tuileries, and mini pop-up, Le Petit Plisson, opening at LE BHV MARAIS exclusively this summer, the brand is operating at scale with the same commitment to sustainability. Plastic has been swapped for compostable LPA or cardboard, and market produce keeps wastage to the bare minimum in both the restaurant and takeaway operations. Whether for breakfast, brunch, lunch or grazing, Maison Plisson has a buzz that makes it hard to leave. But what does Delphine think has been the main ingredient to its success?
‘We’ve created a place where people’s day-to-life life comes first – it’s a friendly, warm atmosphere because the producers and the people we employ share important common values. And because we’re all happy, our customers feel just the same!’
Discover Le BHV Marais this summer: bhv.fr