The travel industry flirts outrageously with millennials. The selfie-taking, Snapchat-understanding generation that launched 1,000 think pieces have ushered in the age of hotels with turbocharged tech, lobby DJs, a surfable wave of craft drinks and Instagrammable set pieces.
France is the latest destination to lure in the 18–35 set. Air France’s new venture, Joon (after jeune, the French for ‘young’), is an exclusively millennial luxury airline; massive tech start-up campus Station F has powered-up in Paris, and chouette pop-ups (Marino Infantry, Supreme vs Louis Vuitton) grow seasonally.
There’s a fresh twinkle in the eye of the City of Lights, so we’ve sought out the essential, new and novel for the yoof on-the-go.
The International Contemporary Art Fair 2017
Any millennial worth their Icelandic black lava salt has dipped a toe into the art world’s (melting) paint pot – and likely went further to create a challenging outsider piece. They want nothing so gauche as a Picasso or Matisse, instead something fringe and still-affordable, which exhibits their cultural clairvoyance.
From 19–22 October 2017, hundreds of galleries from all corners of the globe will fill Paris’s Grand Palais with next-big-thing, conceptual and eye-catching pieces for the annual International Contemporary Art Fair. Whether you’re looking to invest or just get clued-up, attending will put you ahead of the curve.
Stay If you have enough euros to drop on, say, Arman’s neatly arranged collection of shopping-trolleys (art), or Bruno Peinado’s pop sculpture of a banana protesting apples (also art), then check in at La Réserve Hotel and Spa Paris, which handily sits in the Grand Palais’ ’hood. Crammed with objets and Napoléon III’s hand-me-downs, it’s where millennials go when they’ve arrived.
Pitchfork Music Festival 2017
As the gladiatorial battleground on which up-and-coming bands are made or broken with just a number in a circle, it could be said that legendary music blog Pitchfork have the pollice verso over listening trends. Their band of passionate and pioneering – if a smidge smug – muso-journos rarely hits a bum note.
So, hip young things can attend Paris’ upcoming Pitchfork Music Festival – held in the Grand halle de la Villette in the fast-turning-trendy 19th arrondissement – safe in the knowledge that only the coolest will be piped into their ears. On 2–4 November, the stage is set for scene stalwarts the National, Killer Mike-outfit Run the Jewels, post-bop group BADBADNOTGOOD, ambient popsters Cigarettes After Sex and niche musicians à gogo. You can also warm up pre-festival with Pitchfork Avant-Garde shows, an extravaganza comprising 46 gigs over seven venues.
Stay Hôtel Providence Paris, bien sur. It’s set in the Haut Marais, it’s run by the Experimental Cocktail Club, and there’s a superlative wine bar. Add a coating of House of Hackney wallpapers and put a personal bar in each room and you’ve got a stay that’s music to our ears. Vinyl-purists: the suite has its own turntable.
THE CRAFT BEER
La Beer Fabrique
Wine – a little passé, mais non? Hip hops have been bubbling up in Paris from 2012 onwards, with stylish stations such as La Fine Mousse and Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or leading the charge. Tasting microbrews from long-stemmed glasses and debating ‘crowlers’ over ‘growlers’ in convivial tap rooms is the new ‘sultrily swilling a bowl of cab sav while puffing on a Gauloise’.
Tap into the trend at La Beer Fabrique in the 11th arrondissement. Here, workshops – for two budding brewers – are held from Thursday to Saturday; after a tasting you’ll be given hops, spices and malted barley and a choice of seven recipes. When you’ve made the magic happen, your take-home yield is 15 litres (roughly the amount in an office water cooler) of your very own brew, and one of the coolest souvenirs you can buy. They’ll let you design your own label, too.
Stay Now that you’re a confirmed artisan, you need a stay befitting your handcrafted status. Le Roch Hotel & Spa is synonymous with respected talents: Sarah Lavoine, who dressed the place in richly coloured velvets, mod-kilim rugs and turquoise tiles; Arnaud Faye, who conceived the Michelin star-worthy restaurant menu; and the folk at the Maison Sérieuse creative agency, who compiled the bar’s soundtrack: peers, indeed.
THE SMASHED AVO ON TOAST
The definitive millennial brunch choice – now so popular that restaurants are leaving it off their menus to appear edgy; up to £900,000 a month on is spent on the dish in America; and an Australian millionaire declared it the reason why youngsters can’t afford to buy houses (damn our insatiable appetites, when will we avo learn?) To start the day right, bin your baguette and reach for the Poilâne.
Ob-Li-Da’s €9 offering (at the time of going to press) staves off both home-ownership and your appetite. Ripe avocados are liberally pulverised and smeared on purple-potato bread; add chimichurri sauce and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and – true to French form – it’s likely the dish’s tastiest incarnation. Don’t overthink it, just get stuck in.
Stay Saint James Paris makes willful decadence look mighty fine. An Escher print’s worth of grand staircases, a hot-air balloon pavilion in the garden and Bambi Sloan’s bold patterns throughout: this is a gilded-to-the-hilt hideaway where avocado-related extravagance is wholly welcomed. Vive la millennial – until they turn 36, that is.