Although she is Italian and lives in London, Lucia Pica has a special place in her heart for Paris. Being Global Makeup Artist and Color Designer at Chanel, it’s where most of her makeup magic takes place – from creating new collections to seeking inspiration and discovering new creative possibilities.
While over in the French capital discovering Pica’s new ‘Noir et Blanc de Chanel’ collection, our Beauty Editor got to see the city through her eyes and discovered the places that inspire and delight Pica. Expect lots of awe-inspiring art, some off-the-beaten-path gems, and some seriously good Italian food, of course.
Feast Like an Italian at Da Graziella
If you’ve had your fill of French cuisine (and nothing but the best Italian pizza will do) head to Da Graziella. Not only does this pizzeria boast some of the best Neapolitan cuisine outside of Italy, but you’ll also forget that you’re in Paris as soon as you take a seat in the cute, cozy space – complete with décor elements ranging from the lighting to the table legs originating in Italy.
If the smell wafting from the wood-fired oven isn’t enough to tempt you, just a bite of the crispy, doughy margherita oozing with mozzarella and sweet, juicy DOP tomatoes definitely will. Just be sure to save room for the chocolate-smothered pizza dough. One word: delizioso. If an Italian recommends it, who are we to disagree?
Step Inside Constantin Brâncuși's Studio
Okay, it might not be Constantin Brâncuși’s actual studio, but the exact reconstruction of his atelier at the Centre Pompidou is seriously impressive. The Roman sculptor bequeathed his entire studio to the French state following his death in 1957 so, here, you can find 137 sculptures (including the iconic ‘Bird in Flight’ and ‘The Kiss’), 41 drawings, and over 1,600 glass photographic plates and original prints.
Brâncuși was considered one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century – much like we consider Pica to be one of the most influential makeup artists of our time. It’s no wonder she feels so inspired here.
Take a Stroll Through the Jardin du Luxembourg
Considered the most beautiful garden in all of Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg is the perfect place to hit the reset button when city life gets a little too much. The sprawling, lush green oasis spans 25 hectares and combines French, Italian, and English landscape design –and let’s take a moment now to remember that Pica is an Italian who lives in England and works in France.
Watch the sailboats go by the fountains, find a shady spot under a tree with your favorite book, indulge in a picnic in one of its many hidden corners, or simply walk the perfectly manicured paths to take in its beauty. You’ll be hard-pressed not to leave feeling inspired and full of joie de vivre.
Dine on Works of Art at Clover Green
Tucked away on a small street in the heart of Saint Germain des Près, Clover Green may be small, but the food cooked up in its kitchen packs a punch. Named after the lucky charm of Michelin starred chef Jean-François Piège and his wife Elodie, the focus is on natural ingredients, unexpected textures, and lots of delicious veggies. There are two set menus to choose from (no à la carte malarkey here), with options for both carnivores and vegetarians.
Watch as the chefs whip up delights such as tomatoes three ways with horseradish ice cream and mushroom broth with homemade gnocchi dumplings – all presented like actual works of art. Even the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that you get with dessert are out of this world. Just be sure to book well in advance – the few spots available get snapped up fast.
Ramble Amongst Rodin's Sculptures
Not only did Auguste Rodin live and work at Hôtel Biron, but he also chose to donate his entire collection of sculptures – along with his collection of paintings by the likes of Monet, Van Gogh, and Renoir – to the French state. The condition? That it turned the building into a museum dedicated to his work after he passed away. That France did, making the Musée Rodin the home of the sculptor’s most famous and significant creations.
In the immaculate three-hectare gardens, you can discover his key works, including ‘The Thinker’ and ‘The Gates of Hell’. Inside the palatial Hôtel Biron building, meanwhile, are iconic pieces such as ‘The Kiss’ and ‘The Age of Bronze’. Defying the norms of his time, Rodin broke many boundaries in the world of art, and his works continue to resonate with visitors to this day.
Bring out Your Inner Bookworm at 7L
As Chanel’s Global Creative Makeup and Color Designer, Pica naturally is inspired by the late Karl Lagerfeld. And what inspired Mr. Lagerfeld himself? Books. Lots of books. Not only did he boast a personal collection of over 300,000 titles, but he also had his own book publishing company, created a scent inspired by the smell of ink on paper, and opened a bookstore in the heart of Paris by the name of 7L.
Although the designer is no longer with us, his legacy lives on amongst the pages of the carefully curated selection of books that you can shop here. Specializing in photography, design, interiors, architecture, and – of course – fashion, this quaint little bookstore is the next best thing to taking a peek into Lagerfeld’s private book stash.
Eat with the Cool Kids at Cibus
Blink and you’ll miss hole-in-the-wall Italian eatery Cibus – and trust us when we say this is not to be missed. It seats a maximum of 20 people, there’s no website, and you’ll be lucky to find a proper image of it online. It’s exactly this understated, family-run vibe that keeps locals (and even celebrities) coming back for more. Well, that and the seasonal menu, which features some of the best pasta dishes this side of Rome…
Get Lost in the World of Water Lilies at Musée de L’Orangerie
Although the magnificent Musée de L’Orangerie is home to countless iconic impressionist and post-impressionist paintings by some of the greats (Matisse and Picasso included), it is Claude Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ that steals the show.
Monet himself helped with the design of the space, which is now home to his eight painted panels that span over 91 meters in length across two oval rooms to form the infinity symbol. The rooms are flooded with natural light from the roofs and orientated from West to East to follow the course of the sun as it shines down along the Seine and the sights of Paris, making this one a must-see.