Why did you leave the Crillon hotel?
I won’t go into this, but let’s say that some of the propositions there, like the opening of l’Obé restaurant [last year] weren’t accomplished. Luxury was hit by the economic crisis. Maybe it was time for me to think about offering something different.
What do you think of your new neighborhood?
It’s like a little village here. Everyone knows everything about everyone. And it’s a little far from my house—I live in the 9th.
In addition to the restaurant, you’re also opening a 17-room hotel at the new location, designed by India Mahdavi, plus another small restaurant with its own kitchen.
We want to create a hotel you can’t find anymore. Very charming and affordable. I don’t think that very charming hotels in a 200 or 250 euros price range exist in Paris any longer.
How did you feel the day you opened Thoumieu?
Scared. I had doubts.
Where was your best meal lately?
At the Sa.Qua.Na, [Alexandre Bourdas’ restaurant] in Honfleur.
Are you concerned about the new Michelin ratings coming out in February?
I’ve been told so many times I was getting my third star [at the Crillon] that I’m not going to worry about it. The Michelin is a business anyway.
Exterior photo: Benjamin Loyseau