HOW TO DO UP THE CITY OF LIGHT DURING DÉCO OFF 2023
And we’re off! To Paris Déco Off 2023, that is. A lifelong lover of the City of Light for its richness of culture and boundary bashing artisans, The Vale London owner and designer Melinda Marquardt shares her suggestions for total immersion — and a taste of la belle vie.
Plan Your Days at Paris Déco Off 2023
For five full days during Paris Design Week (18-22 January), the world’s leading interior designers and decor editors will descend on Paris for Déco Off 2023. Held annually in the heart of old Paris, there’s much to do and see with more than 100 showrooms and 120 brands holding product previews, curating collaborative installations, and hosting cocktail hours. Make a plan to wander down Rue Jacob and pop into the major showrooms. Plus, The Vale London will be showcasing its new Hyde collection at the Fabricut showroom (29 Rue Jacob) across all five days, including a special Cocktails & Collections event on 21 January from 4PM to 6PM. “Déco Off is a rendez-vous for the top international makers of fabrics, wallpapers, trimmings, and wallcoverings, where we get to show off our latest collections and see what’s coming out of the other houses,” says Marquardt.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with The Vale at Fabricut or RSVP for the Cocktails & Collections event, please email email@example.com.
Make Time for Maison&Objet Paris
Interior designers, editors, and makers — and some 40,000 visitors for Déco Off — will also be tacking on an extra day or two to take in Maison&Objet (19-23 January). Held biannually at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center near Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, this major French trade fair is considered to be one of the top three most important European events for interior design. Encompassing 2,300 brands from more than 145 countries, it’s quite massive. You’ll want to review the programme carefully before deciding on your approach. “Maison&Objet is an extensive collection of innovation and talent all in one place,” Marquardt says. “Decorative pieces, designer furniture, accessories, textiles, fragrances, and tableware stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s the place to go to spot emerging trends and consumer shifts, and make new connections with like-minded designers.”
Savour the Café Culture
While L’Ami Jean near the Eiffel Tower is Marquardt’s favourite bistro for French classics (think colourful charcuteries and a belly warming hare stew), she understands why Café de Flore has become one of Paris’s most popular reservations. “Aside from the fact that Oscar Wilde was a regular here in the 1880s, scribbling down his thoughts for ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ or ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray,’ Café de Flore has the best French onion soup on the planet,” says Marquardt, who also recommends heading to Sherry Butt near Place des Vosges for sipping rare whiskies on velvet sofas and Les Jardins du Pont Neuf, a floating restaurant along the River Seine, for bistro fare with a nouvelle cuisine touch and ’70s vibes. “But my No. 1 recommendation is a basement jazz club called Caveau de la Huchette. It’s a tiny hole in the wall — a literal maze of old brick and dim lighting — where you can grab a glass of wine and listen to live jazz while watching the locals dance the night away. My mentor, David Klaristenfeld [the Vice President at Fabricut], took me here in 2011 during my first year at Déco Off and now we go every year.”
Tour Cultural Institutions and Museums
For Marquardt, a trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to the Musée Picasso. “The collection comprises more than 5,000 works and tens of thousands of archived pieces,” says The Vale designer. “For its quality and scope, as well as the range of art forms it encompasses, this collection is the only one in the world to present both Picasso’s complete painted, sculpted, engraved, and illustrated œuvre.” Plus, right next door is the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, where functional art and collectible design collide. “The Carpenters Workshop Gallery produces and exhibits functional art by international artists or designers, both rising and established, going outside their traditional territories of expression. Every time I visit, my mind is opened to new avenues for creativity.” Marquardt also recommends visiting Palais de Tokyo in the 16th arrondissement to get your contemporary and modern art fix and an early morning visit to the Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre to watch the sunrise over Paris.
Shop With an Eye for Design
“If you aren’t stuffing your suitcases with tabletop finds and shipping home decor, are you really doing Paris right?” laughs Marquardt. At Déco Off, she suggests checking out the Rinck showroom for furniture that blends traditional and modern themes. “Rinck is an ambassador of French lifestyle which dovetails the realms of creation and fabrication most exquisitely.” Marquardt also loves visiting La REcyclerie in the 18th arrondissement. “Located in a disused train station that straddles the abandoned La Petite Ceinture, La REcyclerie’s eco-friendly ethos of upcycling and reuse is embedded into its workshops, eatery, urban farm, and furniture offerings. As for cool Parisian haunts for bibliophiles, Shakespeare and Company, found on Paris’s Left Bank opposite Notre-Dame, is a Marquardt-approved spot for rare tomes and gifts. “The adjoining cafe serves up specialty coffee and little cakes,” she says. “It's the perfect place to dream away an afternoon with a good design book!”
Explore the Beautiful Possibilities of Woodwork
If you’re on the hunt for elevated woodwork for a home project, or just looking to surround yourself with beautiful craftsmanship, the workshop and gallery at Féau Boiseries Paris is not to be missed. “From Régence, Rococo, and Neoclassical to Empire and 20th-century style, this prestigious firm designs, adapts, produces, and instals woodwork decorations inspired by iconic architects from the 17th century to the present day. Their woodwork detailing is of the highest calibre. Just being there is like being transported back in time to la belle époque.”