London is embracing French style, none more so than North London. Here Mark Kebble picks out five of the best North London venues to give you a little va va voom
This French lifestyle store brings an exclusive selection of specialist heritage brands and up-and-coming house products to Islington locals. Named after the geometrical shape of the country, Hexagone was born out of a desire to create an inventory of iconic French brands that have survived the passage of time as well as a hand-picked selection of products that celebrate the country’s design, heritage and craftsmanship. Colourful, quirky and a must visit.
12B Camden Passage N1 8ED; 020 7288 1444
Aime London, Shoreditch
In 1999, French Cambodian sisters Val and Vanda Heng Vong found themselves living in London. Whilst enjoying the creative diversity that London has to offer, the sisters still found themselves missing many of their favourite Parisian labels and products that they couldn’t get hold of on the British side of the Channel. So the multi-brand lifestyle boutique Aime was opened and, today, is a fashion and lifestyle emporium featuring cult fashion labels and stunning jewellery.
17 Redchurch Street E2 7DJ; 020 7739 2158
Almeida Restaurant, Islington
Now, we have often waxed lyrical about the food at this local institution, and with a new Head Chef joining in the form of Tommy Boland expect that element to get even better. However, the Almeida appears here for its stunning range of French wines. The best of the current crop? General Manager Pierre Maitre points out the Cuvee Alice, Ollieux Romanis, Corbiere (2012, £30); Cotes du Rhone, la ferme Saint-Martin, Les Romanins (2012, £35); and Irouleguy, Domaine Mignaberry (2010, £42). We’ll have a glass of each.
30 Upper Street N1 1AD; 020 7354 4777
Petit Bateau, Islington
A company that began life in France over a century ago now has boutiques dotted all over London. The Upper Street shop has long been a favourite for mums and dads, with their collections being highly sought after. Their S/S14 range follows suit, bright and colourful, and they have even launched a Semainier collection – seven pairs of kids’ underwear, one for each day of the week. Your one-stop-shop indeed.
125 Upper Street N1 1QP; 020 7288 1037
Little Paris, Crouch End
Their Upper Street shop may be no more, but we haven’t got to go far for a taste of Little Paris. From contemporary French designers – think whimsical jewellery and Parisian scarves and hats – to quirky vintage interior items, the shop is filled to the brim with an eclectic mix of crockery, French 60s film posters, 1940s Strafor cabinets, authentic Tolix chairs, Jielde lamps and even perfume from the city of Grasse. Best of all the shop is completely cleared out and restocked every three weeks.
39 Park Road N8 8TE; 020 8340 9008