As Californians, we were slightly intimidated by the idea of Paris in the middle of winter, but by the time we made our way through a series of memorable shops, restaurants and sights, we nearly forgot about the chill. Our first stop of the afternoon was Colonel, a spirited and dynamic design shop founded by Isabelle Gilles and Yann Poncelet in 2012, and located just off the Canal Saint-Martin. Beyond the green-blue, heavily glazed storefront lies a smart curation of Scandinavian-inspired goods in an array of energized hues and creative textures.
Next, we crossed over the Saint-Martin Canal, stopping to watch the resilient ducks huddled on the icy water while pedestrians strolled along the waterway in the afternoon sun. The tree-lined canal is flanked by numerous shops and restaurants and we longed to come back on a summer day to enjoy some outdoor dining.
It's hard to tell how much time we spent at our next destination, Artazart Design Bookstore. Name a niche in design and Artazart has multiple cutting-edge books on hand to provide insight. From packaging design in Japan, typography trends, color theory for web design, DIY home renovation guides, cookbooks from superstar chefs, to rising fashion markets around the globe, this shop will keep you up to speed and full of knowledge and inspiration.
Naturally, the Lotus Bleu team fell deep into the rabbit hole while digging into the textiles and decorative arts section. "Look at this! Look at that!," we exclaimed, giddily bouncing our favorite finds between one another. This repetitious pink and red fruit motif was of particular interest to Jeannie, whose last name (Fraise) is French for "strawberry"!
Our minds now dizzy with design inspiration, we decided to come up for air and headed over to Pause Cafe, located near the Place de la Bastille. Pause Cafe hit the mark on all levels; exceptionally fresh and modern French dishes, bountiful warm energy and an interior that captivated us throughout the meal.
The design of Pause Cafe harmoniously integrates centuries of decorative features. Crisp white, classical details line the ceilings and frame time-worn pastel paintings of delicate florals and gliding birds. From the aged ceilings, warm glowing light extends into the dining area through a combination of rugged industrial pendants attached to creative wiring channels and radiating frosted globes. Coarse mosaics sprawl underfoot, adding a jagged counterbalance to channeled banquettes and curved wood chairs. Cafe stools at the mirror-backed bar pull out the lone burgundy from the flooring palette and marry with bold mediterranean blue legs. Finally, hardened tile and concrete walls are draped in lush, flowing plant life, softening-up otherwise cold materials. Pause Cafe was a perfect nest of toasty respite and comforting cuisine, a great way to cap off an afternoon of exploration in a charming pocket of Paris.