Couturier Rabih Kayrouz shares his favourite Parisian landmarks with Qulture's Katya Foreman. Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias.
When he moved to Paris four years ago, Lebanese couturier Rabih Kayrouz found a pretty impressive showcase for his creations, setting up his headquarters in a loftlike former Left Bank theater, Le Petit Théâtre de Babylone. Located on Boulevard Raspail in the city’s tony 7th Arrondissement, the historic site, which boasts high ceilings, multiple levels, and a vast wall of industrial windows looking out onto an intimate courtyard, hosted the 1953 world premiere of Samuel Beckett’s first professionally produced play, "Waiting for Godot."
Kayrouz, who has an on-site atelier and often presents his collections in the space, is known for his hospitality, regularly laying down his scissors to share Lebanese comfort food with guests, such as homemade hummus sprinkled with ruby-red pomegranate arils (the fruit is the house’s symbol), lentil soup and grilled fish with orange sauce. “At my place, the tabbouleh is a must,” he explains, sharing his favorite recipe: fresh parsley, tomato, mint, fresh onions, bulgur, lemon juice, olive oil, and a sprinkling of lemon zest. “Paris is my new home,” says Kayrouz, who likes to cross the Seine to explore Paris’s Right Bank. “The perspectives from the city’s many bridges are so beautiful. I love to go and get lost in the streets of Paris. And one of my favorite things is seeing the expressions on the faces of new visitors as they take in the sights. It’s very emotional.”
Kayrouz shares some of his favorite addresses in the City of Light.
“My cantina. It’s close to where I live and work. Impeccable Italian food from Sardinia in a very homey atmosphere.”
“The perfect address for a late dinner. I love this place for its eclectic ambience and mix of people. The décor is really fun; it’s designed to resemble an apartment, and the furniture changes all the time. The crowd is really unusual. It’s a Parisian mix of young and old, classic and trendy. They do this delicious grilled ham that’s really crispy and different fish spreads. They also make the best île flottante in Paris.
“Great salmon blinis, perfect potato caviar and vodka, and — if you’re lucky — a gypsy Russian orchestra!”
Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
“A very nice wine bar owned by the guys behind the Beef Club and the Experimental Cocktail Club, with an interesting wine list and small dishes, like fresh burrata.”
Pâtisserie des Rêves
“My absolute favorite pastry shop. They do an amazing Paris-Brest.”
“I’m a bit lazy and don’t tend to stray far from home. I like to go to Sentou and the Conran Shop and definitely La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marché for my food. I even find some Lebanese ingredients there. Then I like to go to L’Éclaireur on Rue Boissy d’Anglais to get my favorite candles from Fornasetti. Or Buccellati on Place Vendôme is good for when you have a case of the blues.”
“La Chambre Claire on Rue Saint-Sulpice has beautiful photography books. I love to go there to browse.”
“I often go to Marché Raspail, and the Marché d’Aligre is great.”
“The Musée Bourdelle is wonderful; it has such a beautiful atmosphere and amazing displays and sculptures. There is a lot of soul. You can still feel the energy of the founder.”
Maison Rabih Kayrouz is located at 38 Boulevard Raspail. For more information visit www.maisonrabihkayrouz.com or call +33 1 45 48 21 00.
Caviar Kaspia, one of Kayrouz’s favorite haunts; the interior of his boutique on Boulevard Raspail. Photo: Courtesy Rabih Kayrouz