Future City Guide Paris

Taïg Khris is a start-up entrepreneur, multiple world champion in inline skating and a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz. He will host the French Instagram channel during the Formula E race in Paris on April 28, 2018. He showed us the places in his home town that mean the most to him.

The landmark of Paris. Taïg once lifted off from the Eiffel Tower to seal his extraordinary career.

The landmark of Paris. Taïg once lifted off from the Eiffel Tower to seal his extraordinary career.

Paris. The city of love, of big boulevards, of savoir vivre. A metropolis that never rests, that’s always in motion. Taïg Khris is part of this dynamism. The business man and skater has asked us to meet him at the Eiffel Tower.

 

The sound of beeping cars mixes with French chansons. Children ride on a carrousel, pigeons flutter past us. Suddenly we spot him. He’s on an electric One Wheel, weaving through the masses of people, precisely and elegantly.

 

“Electric cars could cut the noise in the city a lot,” Taïg says. “You don’t realize how quiet it can be until you’re outside of Paris.”

 

The Eiffel Tower is a special place for him. He jumped from its first floor a few years ago, on roller skates. 100,000 people watched him. His eyes still light up when he looks at the steel structure that was the world’s tallest building when it opened 130 years ago.

Its two levels make Pont de Bir-Hakeim one of Paris’s most exceptional bridges.

Its two levels make Pont de Bir-Hakeim one of Paris’s most exceptional bridges.

We continue our tour to the Louvre, the world’s most-visited museum and home to da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa. Taïg crosses the Bir-Hakeim Bridge, another testament to the power of steel, on his One Wheel. We try to imagine where exactly Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan may have stood when they used the bridge to film a scene for their thriller Inception.

Café Marly has a splendid view of the Louvre and Taïg says it’s the perfect place for a date.

Café Marly has a splendid view of the Louvre and Taïg says it’s the perfect place for a date.

The Louvre is next. We sit down in Café Marly for a little refreshment. “I love this open space,” says Taïg. He points at Ieoh Ming Pei’s glass pyramid that reaches 21 meters up into the sky. His dream is to jump over it on inline skates.

 

He tells us about his latest project, OneOff App, which currently consumes all of his time. Soft music plays in the background, voices rise and fall, cutlery rattles on plates. “The last time I was in the hospital with a broken leg, I decided to build the largest telecommunications business in the world – without owning a network.” His idea is to assign individual telephone numbers that aren’t linked to SIM cards and instead stored in the cloud. 

The energy of Station F is palpable inside the world’s largest start-up campus.

The energy of Station F is palpable inside the world’s largest start-up campus.

It’s fitting that our next step is the Station F, the world’s largest start-up campus. The 1,000-feet long gigantic hall opened one year ago in the middle of the 13th Arrondissement and its 3,000 start-up desks provide an ideal breeding ground for innovation and collaboration.  Many of the people inside look up when we enter. Taïg is considered a pioneer and the people who work in Station F are visionaries like him whose ideas and passions of today will help shape the world of tomorrow.

The Balagan is a new discovery among connoisseurs. It’s been said that Chef Dan Yosha makes the best meat.

The Balagan is a new discovery among connoisseurs. It’s been said that Chef Dan Yosha makes the best meat.

It is noon and we return to the 1st Arrondissement, to the Rue Saint-Honoré, to the heart of the city. We want to eat at the Balagan in Rue d’Alger. The hot spot offers Israeli cuisine and an exhilarating mix of diverse cultures. Smoked eggplant, deconstructed kebab, Ashkenazi chicken – each dish is a culinary revelation. 

“The Balagan is a new discovery for me. The food’s great and the interior is inspiring,” says Taïg. “Especially the cheese cake. It’s absolutely crazy.”

Gigantic exhibition halls and high ceilings. Taïg admires art by Nina Chanel Abney and Anita Molinero at the Palais de Tokyo.

Gigantic exhibition halls and high ceilings. Taïg admires art by Nina Chanel Abney and Anita Molinero at the Palais de Tokyo.

We move on, along the Seine, past the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysées. Our guide takes us to the Palais de Tokyo, a museum for contemporary art forms. The windows flood the huge exhibition hall with daylight. The raw, grey concrete of the walls provides a stunning backdrop for the vast, teeming paintings by Nina Chanel Abney and the futuristic installations by Anita Molinero that are currently on display there. 

Beautifully flamboyant interior and traditional cuisine at the Monsieur Blue.

Beautifully flamboyant interior and traditional cuisine at the Monsieur Blue.

On our way out we stop by the hip neo brasserie Monsieur Bleu in the building’s west wing. Nina Simone’s unmistakable voice drips from the loudspeakers. The expansive terrace offers a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower and the restaurant’s striking interior, designed by the Parisian designer Joseph Dirand, invites passers-by to stay for a while. 

The bookshop at the Palais de Tokyo offers an international selection of books and magazines.

The bookshop at the Palais de Tokyo offers an international selection of books and magazines.

We cross the hall to head back to the main entrance of the museum and step into the Libraire Walther König & Cahiers d’Art, one of the largest bookshops in Paris. The shelves tower over our heads, several meters high. Taïg takes a book and starts flipping through the pages.  He stops as a page catches his attention and laughs out. The book is about Banksy, the famous phantom of the graffiti art scene. Taïg looks inspired.

Taïg in front of a work of art by Ellsworth Kelly at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry.

Taïg in front of a work of art by Ellsworth Kelly at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry.

It’s beginning to get late. The last stop on our trip is the Fondation Louis Vuitton. The glass cloud, which contains eleven galleries and was designed by Frank Gehry, opened four years ago and is a temple to modernity. “It’s as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside,” Taïg says, standing next to the magnificent waterfall in the outdoor area. The Fondation features contemporary works by Olafur Eliasson, Ed Atkins and Jeff Koons.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton.

We have come to the end of our tour. For one day, Taïg has shown us his city. The Paris of boulevards, cafés and bridges. And of creativity, art and visions. The Paris of his childhood and of his future.

 

We give each other a tight hug. Taïg gets back on his One Wheel, waves one last time, and zips away.