The London List Abroad: Boutique hotel Le Pigalle aptly captures the exhuberance of its surrounding neighbourhoodThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 15 Feb 2016



In Paris’ trendy Pigalle district, Le Pigalle is a new 40-room neighourhood hotel that “celebrates the area’s tawdry values, brazen spirit and musical energy.” Boasting a cafe, restaurant, vinyl library and bar that hosts regular parties, the hotel has the vibe of an upmarket and little more homely Ace Hotel. Show the rest of this post…

Mixing rough and ready mid-century design with more contemporary touches, the rooms are styled to look and feel like an authentic Parisian apartment, sourcing artwork and furniture from the local neighbourhood.

Le Pigalle, 9 rue Frochot, 75009 Paris, France





The London List Abroad: Paris’ iconic Piscine Molitor swimming pool reopens its doors after 25 years of disrepairThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 8 Jun 2014


The magnificent Piscine Molitor opened to Art Deco splendor in 1929. For decades it was the place to be seen in Paris, hosting galas and fashion shows and converted into an ice skating rink in winter. Show the rest of this post…

When the Piscine Molitor closed in 1989, it fell into disrepair. Though the building was saved from demolition after local protests, skateboarders and graffiti artists transformed it into a focal point of urban culture.

Reopening in May, the Piscine Molitor has been brought back to its former glory after a €80m redevelopment. The new Molitor is a luxury hotel and private members’ club, breathing new life into the Art Deco property whilst preserving the original features. The hotel offers 124 rooms, plus a spa, gym, restaurant and rooftop bar, and will also host rolling exhibitions from local artists. The club will certainly be an exclusive affair too. A single day of swimming will cost €180, with annual membership fees rising to €3,300.

Find out more about the Molitor hotel and private members’ club on their site:







The London List Abroad: Philippe Pasqua’s life-size T-Rex is terrorising the Parisian skylineThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 18 Jul 2013

Built out of 350 chrome-moulded bones, Philippe Pasqua’s life-size tyrannosaurus rex stands at an imposing 12ft x 21ft overlooking the river Seine. Mimicking the rex’s skeleton down to the finest detail, the sculpture is as much a learning experience as an artistic one. Hunt is down, before it hunts you. Photo by Anthony Gelot.

The London List Abroad: Restaurant Review: Le Pur’ at Park Hyatt Paris-VendômeThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 28 May 2013

Waiting for our table at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme’s Le Pur’ restaurant, we had a feeling of overwhelming luxury. Show the rest of this post…

Welcomed for a cocktail at the bar while our table was being prepared, everyone knew who we were, when we were eating and were happy to help with our every question or request. It might have been what you’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant led by Jean-François Rouquette but attention to detail from all the staff was really impressive.

After arriving a little early, we had expected we’d maybe be seated upon arrival, but when we were asked to our table on the dot of 8pm it became apparent why the staff held us back. Treated to an extended 12-course taster menu, it was obvious the kitchen had been preparing our meal for some time. After a few minutes to settle and take in the ambiance, we were served the tasting wine for our first course before the dishes started to come out of the kitchen.

Kicking off as Jean-François Rouquette meant to go on, duck foie gras lollypops accompanied a fantastic amuse bouche. Though the foie gras might have been a little rich for anyone not used to the rich taste, the amuse bouche blew us away. Including a mini steak tartar, black and white sesame sticks and two other elements, the tartar was so flavourful yet subtly seasoned I could have had it as a main, while the sesame sticks were the perfect side accompaniment.

After tasting two beautifully creamy butters for the breads that popped up throughout the dinner, the next course was a French cheese with garden peas, crumble and a fish jelly. Served a very measured amount of the cheese, not too much for those who aren’t big dairy eaters but enough to take in the strong flavours, they were an interesting pairing with the jelly, the textures proving surprisingly complementary.

Moving towards the main, the next course was a duck foie gras ravioli in a delicious root broth with garden herbs, paired with a wonderfully crisp 2007 Kiraldyurvard Sec white wine from Hungary. Broth often struggles with feeling bland when it is a side element but here it set the ravioli off even more. Two strong flavours in the ravioli might have been too much for your palette but the dish was delicate enough to avoid overpowering, and with just five of them, the perfect amount considering the number of courses left.

After quite rich starters the next two courses were the perfect to refresh the palette. Accompanied by a 2011 Schiste from Coteau de Cevins, green and white asparagus from Mallemort were served with souffléed revered rice, coconut milk and lemon zest to complete one of the most delicate and delicious courses of the dinner. Its freshness was matched by another beautiful course to follow.

By this point we had grown hugely impressed by the paired wines with each course, and the next was no different. Alongside a plump yet delicate poached/grilled anglerfish, served with broad beans arabica tonka and white and green Swiss chard, the wine to match was perfect. Complementing the taste of the fish with some sharper notes the 2009 Clos Saint Philibert Monopole was one of the best white wines I’ve ever had.

Though by now we were starting to get a little full, the next course was the best of the night. Served with French toast with speck and salsifi with cocoa butter and pickled pears, the clutch of medallions of sautéed venison was one of the best meat dishes of my whole life. Like a knife through butter, the venison was so tender and delicate to say it was cooked to perfect would be an understatement. Keeping up appearances, the paired 2010 Clos Lalfert wine was similarly impressive.

As I’m not a big cheese eater, I was a little worries by another cheese course before the deserts, but the Beaufort cheese and chicory went down with ease before a part of the menu we had been looking forward to since the start.

Desert is often where chefs can show off their creativity and the three-part end to our fantastic tasting menu paid testament to that. The first was a creamed chocolate with Mexican vanilla and berry jus, delicately flavoured so it wasn’t over sweet.

The showpiece, however, was a dark chocolate leaf filled with a light mascarpone mouse, served alongside tangerine preserved in ginger syrup. While there were two on the plate I could have eaten another 10, impressive considering we’d long-lost count of what course we were on, such was the ease at which they slipped down the throat. Each came with yet more delicious paired wines.

Accompanied by a sumptuous Ethiopian Moka espresso, the final course was an amuse-bouche of mini doughnut fingers, almond sponge and dipped ice cream lollypops.

After 12 courses I don’t think you need question whether we were full, but thanks to the measured portions it stayed just on the right side of being comfortable – after the tasting wines, we were feeling a little tipsy too – but what stood out was the restaurant as a whole. The food was a fantastic mix of fine dining, conceptual flavours and a home-cooked warmth. Given space to take in the ambience and enjoy the company of your fellow guests, tables are placed with a lavish amount of room to breathe as Le Pur’ easily ranks amongst the very best restaurants we’ve ever dined at. I’d heartily recommend opting for the tasting menu as the flow of dishes and service from the exceptional staff really makes it feel like a special experience.

Without a doubt we will be going back and I won’t be surprised if by then, head chef Jean-François Rouquette is showing off a second Michelin star on the door.

Booking information can be found on the Le Pur’ website:
Le Pur’, Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, 5 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris

The London List Abroad: The Best Clothing Stores In ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 15 Apr 2013

Though Parisians seem to dress almost exclusively in black, Paris is still one of the best dressed cities in the world, with a wealth of shopping opportunities to match. After trawling high and low, check out our favourite three clothing stores in the French capital, which as an unexpected bonus, all cater for both men and women. Show the rest of this post…


Centre Commercial

Located on the excellent rue de Marseille, Centre Commercial was founded by the people behind footwear and accessories label, Veja, creating an inspiring and collaborative space, home to some of the most exciting names from across Europe. In amongst the gorgeous warm store with vintage Danish furniture and an enticing colour palette, they carry the likes of A Kind Of Guise, Bleu De Paname, Grenson, Nudie Jeans, The Hill Side and Zespa, with a big footwear selection and homeware like candles and magazines. Plus you have to head to this part of town for Du Pain et des Idées, anyway, so you may as well walk up to the store.

Centre Commercial, 2 rue de Marseille, 75010, Paris



With two stores in Paris, one to the east of Bastille, on the side streets away from the busy rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and another in the heart of upper Marais, FrenchTrotters boast a number of collaborative lines and exclusive products to bolster an already impressive who’s who on the rack. Including Acne, A.P.C., Band of Outsiders, Kinfolk, Opening Ceremony, Universal Works and glasses from Retrosuperfuture, the range is a truly global affair and feels as on-trend as you could get from one store. FrenchTrotters do kidswear in a separate store next to the Bastille flagship location too.

FrenchTrotters Charonne, 30 rue de Charonne, 75011, Paris
FrenchTrotters Marais, 128 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003, Paris
FrenchTrotters Kids, 28 rue de Charonne, 75011, Paris



Located between Place Vendôme and the Louvre, Colette‘s three-floor Parisian store has gained new cult status since opening its doors in 1997. Reminiscent of the big Opening Ceremony store in Los Angeles, or London’s Dover Street Market, you name a buzz fashion brand and they’ll stock it, plus a huge collection of magazines, homeware and beauty products and a restaurant in the basement. There’s an emphasis on luxury across the store so expect most of the price tags to match, while they’re as cool as can be too, so even if you’re probably not going to spend any more, their store is more than worth it just to browse.

Colette, 213 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001, Paris

The London List Abroad: Restaurant Review: Le Garde Temps, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 15 Apr 2013

Walking around Paris at 7pm, you’d think you have the pick of the restaurants. Show the rest of this post…

Everywhere you look there are rows of empty seats, especially those with great reviews and a fantastic looking menu, but step inside and all you’ll hear is “we’re fully booked”. Apparently the French don’t eat until later.

Luckily we found one restaurant that was happy to accommodate us, despite apparently being fully booked themselves, at least there were actually two other people dining at the same time though. And to be honest, I’m happy we weren’t there at the peak, because every table down one side is literally touching the next one, having to be slid out to let patrons sit down.

Starting with a superb soup – although the usually perfect French bread was a little stale – our mains were even better. With a subtle hake on one side of the table, I had the pork neck (not entirely what I had expected after some details getting lost in translation) but it was simply delicious. So tender and flavourful, both were accompanied with a smooth and tasty celeriac mash and the most beautiful of sauces. Both dishes were the perfect blend of warmer home cooking with more technical and enticing flavours.

Both pretty full, for desert we got something to share, but if was our best pudding of the holiday. A delicate apple tart with salted caramel ice cream, it was as good as anything from the very best patisseries in Paris and almost worth the price of the whole dinner alone.

Le Garde Temps, 19 bis rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009, Paris, France

The London List Abroad: Arnaud Delmontel, The Best Macarons In ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 15 Apr 2013

I didn’t make it a secret that our trip to Paris would be something of a macaron tasting weekend. Show the rest of this post…

I think in total we had macaroons from over 10 different patisseries or specialist shops and though while most were delicious, there was definitely one clear winner.

With three locations in Paris, Arnaud Delmontel simply blew us away with their magnificent macarons. Though the selection might not be as experimental as some shops in the French city, each macaron had the look of perfection, and fabulous, colourful gift boxes to take them home. Any where I go, salted caramel and rose are generally my favourites and the two at Arnaud Delmontel were flawless. The part-buttercream, part-caramel centre of the salted macaron was fantastic, and with a slightly chewy core to the sweet meringues, it’s probably the best macaron I’ve ever had. The rose was equally good, with a subtle yet lasting flavour, and from chocolate to passion fruit and more, the whole selection is delicious.

Arnaud Delmontel have shops at 39 rue des Martyrs, 75009, 57 rue Damrémont, 75018 and 25 rue de Levis, 75017, Paris.

Where the other of Paris’ big names, Ladurée, falls flat, Pierre Hermé does stand up to its reputation, and with seven boutiques across Paris, you don’t have to walk far to find your next stop. With limited edition flavours to keep you coming back when you think you’ve tried it all (you won’t be surprised a salted caramel and rose concoction thrilled me no end), Pierre Hermé can go a little more experimental but still fall back on a very solid signature range, and the taste and quality is, almost, second to none.

For location please visit the Pierre Hermé website:

The London List Abroad: Ulmon, The Best Offline Guide And Maps App For ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 5 Apr 2013

So many people carrying smart phones now, we’re used to everything being in the palm of our hands, wherever we go, whatever we’re doing. But that all changes when you go abroad. Show the rest of this post…

Unless you happy to incur often astronomical data charges, or buy a separate foreign SIM for your phone, going online is out of the question, so the trend now is to download everything you need in advance.

There are a bunch of offline map and travel guide apps available for Paris, but of the bunch that I tried, Ulmon was by far the very best. With a super detailed, zoomable map, with thousands of tappable points of interest, bringing up cached Wikipedia articles within the app getting around the city is a breeze. The best feature though is that a remarkably accurate locator, pinpointing what street you’re on within seconds, and thanks to the iPhone’s compass, it’ll tell you which way you’re facing too.

Thanks to an extensive directory of restaurants, bars, shops, theatres, cinemas and more, if you’re short of something to do it’ll map what’s around you, while you can also bookmark a to-do list of picks if you want to plan your stay. With a Metro map too, I don’t know what we would have done without the Ulmon app, and gone at last are the huge paper maps you used to have to carry around in your pocket, and just pulling out your phone instead, you can start to look like a local. Oh yeah, and it’s free.

Ulmon for iOS is available in the App Store here:

The London List Abroad: Gig Review: Wild Nothing At Nouveau Casino, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 4 Apr 2013

Regarded as one of the coolest venues in Paris right now, it felt pretty apt Wild Nothing should grace the stage of Nouveau Casino. Show the rest of this post…

Still riding a buzz off the release of the wonderful Nocturne late last summer, Jack Tatum’s band are just as impressive live. Mixing tracks from their sophomore LP plus the equally excellent Gemini, Tatum might not have been able to talk to the French crowd much between songs but he didn’t let that hold them back.

Drawing a particular cheer for classics Chinatown and Summer Holiday, the rousing Only Heather proved to be a real standout, with the crowd more than happy to applaud the band back for an extended encore. Hopefully Tatum keeps up his record of putting out a new album every two years and we have the next LP to look forward to in 2014, because on this form, he’s building quite a name for himself.

The London List Abroad: Gig Review: Beach House At La Cigale, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 3 Apr 2013

Sometimes you’ll start to fall in love with a band, but it doesn’t really hit home until you see them live, after their show at the glorious La Cigale in Paris, I think it’s fair to say I’m now entirely wooed by Beach House. Show the rest of this post…

Largely mixing tracks from their breakthrough third album, Teen Dream, and last year’s Bloom, the dream pop duo were simply mesmerising with every kick of drum and call of Victoria Legrand’s ranging vocals hitting hard.

Enticing the crowd with perfect French in between tracks, Beach House filled the big La Cigale space with ease, with all of the balcony on their feet and the stalls jumping up and down before you knew if. The biggest reactions were reserved for tracks Zebra, Norway and Myth, the latter being particularly booming, and when the band at last ran out of time on stage there was a wave of disappointment across the crowd that it was over. I bought a t-shirt too, it was that good.

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

We’ve been featured on the front page of Reddit and produced off-shoot club night Friday Night Fist Fight, launched a Creative Agency and events column The London List.

FAN THE FIRE is edited by founder, Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief, Sam Bathe. Site by FAN THE FIRE Creative.

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