Paris holds a special place in the heart of Formula E driver Jean-Éric Vergne. Vergne, who races for TECHEETAH, was born in the suburbs of the French capital in Pontoise. He began karting competitively when he was four years old at his father’s kart circuit located approximately 25 minutes from Paris.
“It is definitely one of the greatest cities in the world,” Vergne said. “There’s so much history and you can really feel it in the streets. I live in London now and of course there is history there, but it’s not the same vibe as Paris.”
Vergne and TECHEETAH entertained a handful of journalists for 24 hours, providing an intimate look into some of the driver’s favorite spots throughout the city, which hosts the 2018 Paris ePrix on April 28.
Balagan is situated on a quiet corner where Rue du Mont-Thabor meets Rue d’Alger in one of the city’s oldest arrondissements. Translating roughly to “hullabaloo” in Hebrew, Israeli chefs Assaf Granit and Uri Navon prepare simple dishes that are tasty, energetic, colorful, and inventive.
“Balagan is quite nice,” Vergne said. “It’s new, has good food, and has a nice atmosphere. I like things that are nice and cozy and not too big.”
Prescription Cocktail Club (drinks)
Prescription Cocktail Club is a chic bar located along the left bank of the Seine River. It was founded in 2010 by the team behind the Experimental Cocktail Club. Prescription is cozy, trendy, and boasts brick walls and soft lighting. With almost a speakeasy feel, Prescription hosts a variety of music from jazz to DJs.
This Peruvian restaurant brings flavors influenced from all across the world (Europe, Japan, Africa) mixed with ancient Andean culture to Paris compliments of international chef Gastón Acurio, an ambassador of Peruvian cuisine. Located inside the former Drouot Auction House, Manko’s interior was designed by Laura Gonzalez. Whether it’s the floor tiles, painted sconces or carefully crafted tables and chairs, everything honors Peru and the Andes of South America.
Hoxton Hotel (stay)
With locations in London, Amsterdam, and Paris, the Hoxton is the self-labeled “anti-hotel,” having done things differently since 2006. The Hoxton Hotel in Paris, located in the 2nd arrondissement, boasts 172 rooms spread across four floors in an 18th-century building. The hotel is the perfect combination of historic meets modern.
“This hotel is quite new and is not like other hotels in Paris,” Vergne said. “It looks new, but there are things like brick walls that make it feel very warm and cozy.”
Vergne’s list of favorite city attractions and locales is always changing, though he doesn’t recommend going to Champs-Élysées because it’s too touristy. The Eiffel Tower, which is obviously another favorite tourist destination, is a must-see because it is so unique, he says.
The Frenchman, though, prefers and recommends the more artsy area of Montmartre to city visitors.
“Montmartre is a beautiful place,” Vergne said. “It’s the artsy place of Paris with people painting in the streets. Especially in the summer it’s beautiful. On top of Montmartre you have the view of Paris and it’s stunning.”
Vergne also highly recommends Île de la Cité, one of the two remaining natural islands on the Seine where the city was first founded. St. Germain is also on his list. Located in the 6th arrondissement, the area boasts a hip, young, and lively mix of bars, restaurants, and shops.
“I think Paris is beautiful,” Vergne said. “The architecture is amazing. I love the city. There’s the river in the middle, so all of the bridges make it look beautiful. You feel everything that has been happening here for centuries.”