A Delicious Parisian Bistro With Looks to Match

Hotel and resort designer Sophie Jacqmin has stepped into new territory with her latest project: a charming bistro in Paris called Le Bistro de l’Arc. The interior designer drew inspiration from the classic French bistro, utilizing traditional materials like brass and marble, while also infusing the environment with nods to Paris’ energetic jazz scene by incorporating playful elements like trumpet-shaped light fixtures and cinematic wall art.

We caught up with Jacqmin, and picked her brain on her design aesthetic, Paris’ vibrant 16th arrondissement, and what she thinks is the must-try dish from Le Bistro de l’Arc.

You’ve become known for designing stunning hospitality interiors. Why did you gravitate towards this area of design?

For the last few years, the amount of global hotels has increased as new destinations have emerged, and globalization has created a more diverse range of hotel clientele, so the hotel world is doing well. At the same time, standard hotel offers have become obsolete. These days, travellers are looking for more personal surroundings, something more fun, a space that calls for more emotions and feelings.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I get inspiration from the reality of this world as well as dreams. It may seem paradoxical but it’s not. I take the essence of the country and the region, and unite it with the fantasy surrounding it, like an echo. I like to use humour, poetry, and figurative aspects—these are immaterial things but are useful when appropriating the world around us.

How did the bistro project and collaboration come about?

I met Tony El Khoury, who used to be part of the Partouche group. He was in the process of opening a restaurant a stone’s throw away from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and I was immediately seduced by the challenge. This project was an interesting and extremely challenging exercise. The confidence of Tony El Khoury was a major factor. The skills and responsiveness of my teams in Paris and Buenos Aires enabled us to achieve this extraordinary challenge – to set up a chic restaurant in less than five months.

Tell me about the area that the bistro is in, and what elements of the neighbourhood inspired you.

Bistro de l’Arc is right off of the Place de l’Etoile, between the Champs Elysées and Avenue Foch. As I explained earlier, I like to echo the reality of a place and the dream that surrounds it with my designs. The Arc de Triomphe is the symbol of France’s military power. With that in mind, I shifted the idea of triumph in war and its martial trumpets to work around the brass of jazz trumpeters.

Which is your favourite dish at the bistro? 

The côte de bœuf is sublime !