Style secrets of the French by Casilda Grigg
A devotee of Touche Éclat, chocolate éclairs and the oyster bar at Sheekey’s, Chloe Macintosh is co-founder and creative director of the online furniture company Made.com. She grew up in Paris where she trained as an architect and currently lives in Fulham with her Scottish-American banker husband and two young sons.
What do you miss most about France?
‘The croissants – no croissant is decent in this country – and the dermatologists. Dermatology is almost non-existent here.’
What’s the beauty staple you can’t live without?
Where do you go for French food in London?
‘La Petite Maison. It’s expensive but it reminds me of those places you find around Lyons. French people don’t like to pay for décor. They don’t go for places that are chichi or fussy. It’s all about good food and a warm atmosphere.’
And when you’re in Paris?
‘L’Ami Louis in the Marais. It’s very small and hard to get into but it has the best foie gras in Paris.’ (L’Ami Louis, 32 rue du Vertbois, 75003 Paris, tel: 00 33 1 48 87 77 48).
Do you have any tips for staying married?
‘Every couple of months my husband and I book ourselves into the Mandarin in Knightsbridge. We stay in a room overlooking the park and have dinner at the oyster bar at Sheekey’s. The next day we do the galleries.’
Do you have a quick dinner party dish?
‘Vanilla ice cream, chopped up macarons from Ladurée and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. I buy either the salted caramel macarons or the chocolate ones. It’s the easiest thing to do and it looks great. I pile all the ingredients into individual glasses.’
Which lingerie brand do you wear most?
‘Myla if I want something exciting. Otherwise Calvin Klein.’
Does your lingerie always match?
‘No! It’s a lie that all French women wear matching lingerie.’
Any guilty pleasures?
‘I am obsessed with Pierre Hermé’s éclairs au chocolat.’
What do you bring back on the Eurostar?
‘It used to be Vacherin but it’s very embarrassing travelling on the train with cheese. Now I bring back eucalptyus-based cough suppositories for my children. As a French person I believe everything should go in the bottom.’
How do you keep the weight off?
‘French food is very rich and calorific but I don’t eat enormous quantities and I cook with a lot of fresh ingredients.’
Is there anything you like about English food?
‘Oh yes! I love the condiments. In France we don’t have horseradish, mint sauce or chutney.’
Top travel tip on Paris?
‘Hotel Fabric in the Marais. It’s a former textiles factory that’s been turned into a boutique hotel. I like it because it’s in front of my sister’s house so I can see my nephews and nieces in between meetings there.’
Chloe’s Little Black Book
La Petite Maison, 54 Brook’s Mews, London W1 (020 7495 4774)
Ladurée is on the ground floor of Harrods (020 3155 0111)
J Sheekey, 28-35 St Martin’s Court, WC2 (020 7240 2565)
The Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1 (020 7235 2000)
L’Ami Louis, 32 rue du Vertbois, 75003 Paris (00 33 1 48 87 77 48)
Pierre Hermé, 72 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris (00 33 1 43 54 47 77)
Hotel Fabric, 31 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris (00 33 1 43 57 27 00; hotelfabric.com)