As a head reporter in Le Figaro Group, France-born Marianne Lohse covered politics and world affairs, reporting from hot spots like Lebanon, Algeria, Bosnia, Iran, and North Korea. For Madame Figaro she interviewed some of the most famous people in luxury brands, from Karl Lagerfeld to Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs. A regular features writer for France Today, she is also a frequent contributor to the Belgian magazine Juliette et Victor and to Maison Française. Here Lohse shares some top travel tips in France.
What’s your perfect day in Paris?
A Sunday in Boulogne where I live. Boulogne is supposed to be the 21st “arrondissement de Paris”and is very often compared to Brooklyn. I would walk quietly in the Bois de Boulogne, near the Longchamp Hippodrome, then still walking I would join some friends for brunch at Le Roland Garros, a chic brasserie right next to the Central Tennis Court (open from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m). Then I surely would cross the avenue to visit the wonderful greenhouses at Le Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil. They collect very rare orchids. After that? I would enjoy an old movie (Capra, Lubitsch or Hitchcock). How to finish perfectly this perfect day? Perhaps at the Prince de Galles, the most buzzing palace hotel of the moment, having a cocktail in the very elegant Winter Garden. The decor by Vincent Darré (palm trees and huge sofas) is amazing.
Your favourite restaurant in Paris?
Le Cette (7 rue Campagne Première in the 14th, Tel: 01 43 21 05 47). A wonderful, quite affordable, bistrot with perfect classic dishes like Hachis Parmentier and mousse au chocolat. They remind me of my childhood!
The most sublime meal you’ve ever had in France?
In 2011, as a guest at le Relais Bernard Loiseau, in Saulieu (Côte d’Or, Burgundy). Chef Patrick Bertron had managed to keep the three stars won by the late Bernard Loiseau. The crispy calf’s sweet breads with truffled potato purée and the chocolate cake with an orange coulis were absolutely divine.
Best travel memory in France?
They are so many! As a member of the Association des Journalistes de Tourisme, I receive a lot of invitations. I did appreciate a recent trip in the Vallée du Loir (the Vallée de La Loire is quite well-known). I visited the most exquisite private gardens.
Favourite French region to travel?
The South! I had a family house in Nice, in Cimiez near the Matisse Museum. You can spend months and months discovering the coast but also what we call “l’arrière pays”: beautiful hills with very old villages and Baroque churches.
Top museum in France?
My favourite is le Musée d’Orsay.
Favourite French film?
Les Enfants du Paradis by Marcel Carné
Souvenir for friends back home?
Miel à la lavande from the village of Gourdon (near Nice), moutarde aux cèpes et au thé fumé by Bernard Loiseau, Eau de Guerlain.
Boutiques where you shop during the semi-annual soldes?
I can spend hours and hours at le Bon Marché! My favourite shops are Isabel Marant (1 rue Jacob, 6th), Miu Miu (219 rue Saint-Honoré,1st), Vanessa Bruno (25 rue Saint-Sulpice, 6th).
A destination in France that you’re dying to visit?
Pinarello, a little village on the beach, near Porto Vecchio, in Corsica where I used to stay for vacations years ago. I am afraid, it is not so quiet now…
Tip for first-time visitors to France?
Take the metro, sail on the Seine, walk along the river. And if you have time do not hesitate to visit Versailles (except on Mondays; the castle is closed). There is always something to discover.