05/09/2016

Angèle Maeght’s hands-on happiness

Ever since childhood Angèle has nurtured an infectious love of life, jumping at any opportunity to get cooking or sneak in a cuddle with an animal. Hardly surprising then that today you’ll find her feeding the neighborhood strays from her super-healthy, earth-friendly organic eatery.

Profession: Founder of La Guinguette d’Angèle, a health food eatery, organic grocer and local detox resource.

Neighborhood: Paris’ 14th arrondissement.

If Paris were an ingredient or a particular recipe, what would it be?
‘Aubergine graffiti’, something chic, cold, colorful, original, surprising and a little classy. Or, better yet, an onion, because, just like Paris, onions have a strong smell, make you cry (in a romantic way) are steeped in history (onions have been eaten in Europe ever since antiquity) and play an important part in the art world. Arcimboldo, a painter I love, often used them to create plump cheeks in his portraits.

What places embody your favorite side of Paris?
Café Flore, the legendary café in Saint Germain des Prés. I love how impeccably turned out their waiters are, not to mention the terrace and the way their soft-boiled eggs are served traditionally with thin, buttered slices of dippable bread. I often meet my Mom there on Saturdays before hitting the Grande Épicerie food hall at Bon Marché. La Coupole, a traditional place, where Montparnasse’s bohemians gathered. As young as age 12 I skipped my school canteen lunches to go and eat a plate of oysters there. A stroll on the riverbanks around the 5th arrondissement and the Institut du Monde Arabe. When I was little my father took us over by bike to dance salsa with the professional groups there. We still do it today, but I have to say we dance really badly. And lastly, it’s impossible not to mention the Palais Royal gardens, the Galerie Vivienne covered arcade, Buttes-Chaumont park and the Aligre and Butte aux Cailles markets.
Le Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
La Coupole, 102 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris
Quai Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris.

Name a typically Parisian tradition
While Parisians have the annoying habit of drinking their coffee black, they do have some good habits too. My favorites: throwing house parties, like real parties where everyone sings and dances. Also, getting last-minute tickets for Opera Garnier, even if it means ending up with a bad seat.
Opéra Garnier, 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris.

Do you have any special memories of Paris? It’s hard to choose just one… when I was small, my brothers and I secretly slept out on the roof of the house, buried under blankets, enjoying the stars overhead. As we looked down on the sparkling lights of Paris, we’d imagine all the parties and dinners going on across the city. In the morning, we’d be awoken by cars, the pink sky and the calls of local traders, it was magical. Also my neighbors, a pair of butchers who really loved me… They knew me when I was just a few hours old. And, because they didn’t have any children of their own, they adopted me into their lives. I had a little apron hanging on their door and ruled their kitchen. By age two they had me making little quiches and by three, poached eggs with Meurette sauce. Opposite, there was a tripe seller that we’d see get calf heads. That was hard for me. Even back then I wanted to stop animal cruelty and save animals. At that young age, I didn’t realize what I’d end up taking on.

How do you envisage the typical Parisienne?
As someone who gives the illusion of making no effort to look pretty. I love it when Parisiennes often say: “My nude complexion? It’s natural, I’ve barely looked in the mirror this morning,” whereas the reality is that we spend a crazy amount of time in front of the mirror teasing our hair or making our complexions look as fresh and clean as possible. Unlike English women, when it comes to fashion and makeup, we think there’s always a line that shouldn’t be crossed. It’s every Parisienne’s worst fear for other people to think she looks vulgar!

What’s your beauty routine like? In what way is it Parisian? It’s a simple routine which can be summed up with two words: cleansing and hydrating. For evenings that means gentle makeup removal using coconut oil on cotton wool. For the mornings, I go for a purifying cream to nourish my skin, I love simple hydrating treatments.

What are your beauty no-nos or beauty dares? I love bold beauty! An offbeat haircut or an extreme makeup look with fake feathered eyelashes can be fresh and unique. However, going for very strong eye makeup and bold crimson-red lips together is totally unthinkable! You have to go with one or the other.

What gets you out of bed on difficult mornings? I literally leap out of bed in the morning. I love getting up to take on each new day. If I ever feel out of sorts I repeat a positive thought to myself to change my mood. Repeating, ‘here’s to a good mood and a nice day filled with harmony,’ works well. When I have time, I also do some meditation or breathing exercises, it’s radical for helping me stay calm and in harmony with myself.

What little things make you smile on a daily basis?
My beloved grandmother, who is 90 and constantly joking. She never lets me get concerned by the slightest problem and is constantly repeating ‘who gives a damn?’ I couldn’t agree more with her philosophy on life.

Name a discovery that has changed your life.
There are definitely a few ingredients. Firstly curcuma, which as well as being a great anti-inflammatory, promotes glow. Also, spirulina for a bright complexion. And, for serious skin cleansing and purifying the body and soul: one week of fasting a year.

Do you have any beauty secrets?
The best of all: eating well, sleeping well, breathing and above all, laughter, laughter and more laughter!

Angèle’s Paris Address Book

For coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Any no-fuss café where the people are quite authentic.

For lunch with the girls? At my place, La Guinguette D’Angèle, 34 Rue Coquillère, 75001 Paris!

For a great walk with friends? Strolling along the Canal St Martin. Followed by the Canal de L’Ourcq all the way to La Villette.
With a love? Buttes-Chaumont park or the Bois de Boulogne gardens. In fact, if you really want to play the romantic card, why not go for a rowing boat on the lake? Finally, with children I highly recommend the Jardins du Luxembourg, I grew up with my brothers playing among the teeter totters, ponies and mini sailboats you push along using a stick.

© Hannah&Joël