With Jesus Ernesto
One of those magical humans who just seems to have a flair for living and eating, learning. Born and raised in Mexico, Jesus was brought up in a bicultural education and a family that always was keen on discovering new places and particularly the dishes prepared there. Food was very important in the family. His mother, a business woman would come home late at night to prepare the next day’s food as “no one else would cook for her son” He has been living in Paris since he was eighteen years old and currently finishing a master’s (his second) in international management.
What is it about Paris? Do you find it more intoxicating than Mexico where you grew up?
Paris has a very peculiar point of view in what elegance and lifestyle concern. Parisians are very epicurean. They focus on detail, on the way things are done. Something that is ordinary or common for anybody else, for Parisians it can be an experience. Something that compares to Mexico is the way they idolise (righteously) food and beverage, how they like to indulge and feast and how everything revolves around a meal. I couldn’t really compare both cities, the two are very different and I spent my childhood in one and my early adulthood in the other. The experiences, the cultures the ways of being and thinking are different. I am a little intoxicated with Paris, but, after ten years living here, who wouldn’t?
Why do you think Paris is the city of light?
Whenever I ask myself this question and happen to catch a glimpse of the eiffel tower, shining a majestically golden light in the evening, sparkling upon each hour, I think to myself she’s sparkling just for me, and I find the answer.
What would you advise a first time visitor to Paris?
Try in go as “local” as possible. Do not fall in those tourist traps or restaurants that are located in every single monument or historical place. Try and do all the sightseeing possible the first few days and save the rest to be surprised. Paris is such a beautiful city, ask local people where they’d go out drinking, eating or any other type of activity. Visit the markets. There is so much more about Paris than what you can see printed in a t shirt or a snow globe. Absorb everything you can and fall in love with the city. Try to walk as much as you can. Every little street corner has a surprise awaiting that the metro couldn’t possibly show you.
It’s seen as somewhere that is rude and snobby? What is your take on that?
I think Parisians are very difficult on the first approach. Some can be very cold and might be perceived as rude. One thing I can say is that they are very stubborn, and therefore will defend their beliefs even if they are wrong. Parisians have a lot of trouble when it comes to diplomacy or hypocrisy, especially with people they know very little or not at all. Compared to a North American culture like mine, they wouldn’t hesitate looking down on you if they think you are acting wrong or even if you are wearing something that for them has no sense of style. We are more hypocritical, we compliment what we don’t like and even greet/hug people with warmth and excitement even if we don’t know or appreciate them. Parisians never do this. This therefore clashes with people perceiving this as snobby or rude. I can explain this with the industry I work in. Parisians can be awful servers. Even so, Parisians have more of a sense of a balance and exchange than we have. For us, a customer will get a five-star service to an almost “boot-licking” limit no matter how rude, demanding and disrespectful he or she is. A Parisian server will give you the service you deserve, if you’re being an awful customer, the waiter/tress will not be rude back, but will be cold and will only do what’s necessary for the service.
I think people misinterpret the general idea of rudeness and snobbiness. We all forget to look at the way we treat people and get very sensitive on the way we are being treated.
Where do you go if you feel sad in the city?
I would probably go out for a drink. Not anything gloomy or hollywoodian-like of me sitting alone at a bar. Working in this industry has allowed me to make a lot of good friends that are bar tenders, so I would probably go see one of them and sip on a martini and have a chat to turn my ideas around. If I don’t feel like drinking I’d take a walk around my neighbourhood. Montmartre’s extremely pittoresque and will easily clear my head.
Where do you go in your city at night?
It really depends on my mood. Two of the spots that I usually visit at least twice a week are a nice Terrasse called Martin where I can spend ours having cheap (but good, hard to find in Paris) draft beer, some plates to share and good natural wine, which I’m getting into and learning more about for my upcoming job. The place I go to a lot is Glass. Glass is this magical place in Pigalle where people in my industry go out for drinks after their shifts. It can get quite crazy. I also love to stroll around the city. Paris is mesmerising by night.
What would you personally choose to entertain yourself in the city on a rainy afternoon?
I personally stay in under a slanket and some tea and watch a movie or series. If not I go to the movies. The cinema is perfect for a rainy afternoon. There’s a great cinema in the 19th which consists of two buildings separated by a canal. The place is beautiful. Where would you take a visitor for a cocktail? God! Where do I begin? I think the easiest way of doing this will be a list with a sentence. I do a lot of cocktail bars and hence- a lot of cocktails.
My love. Amazing cocktails inspired by latin american spirits, amazing atmosphere.
Only tacos and home away from home. REAL mexican. Gorgeous speak easy.
Le Mary Celeste
Dinner with friends. Plates to share, cocktails to die for.
Little Red Door
Great martinis, extremely creative menu, even better hospitality.
For a sunny or rainy day. Sip a delicious korean-inspired cocktail and indulge in nyam yeong, korean fried chicken.
French spirits, chill atmosphere. A ‘must’ for tourists discovering France.
Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Beautiful place, welcoming staff. Can’t decide if the food or the cocktails are more indulging for the palate.
Beautiful terrasse. Punch, go with friends, get a bowl to share!
For a nightcap. New Orleans vibe, great slushies and absinthe
A great place to end your night if it’s an early one. Rocky vibes and friendly staff.
Perfect negronis. Great finger food. Makes you feel at home and welcomed in one blink of an eye.
Cocktails are very inventive. They have a frozen mauresque for crying out loud.
Great Brunch. Great meatballs. Great Cocktails!
Delicious cocktails. A surprise for the palate and a feast for the eyes.
My magical happy place. Craft beers, on tap cocktails. Where I end all my nights!
Les Grands Verres
Palais de Tokyo. Jot it down and watch. this. space.
What is the place you could eat at everyday?
Again. Please don’t do this to me. I have a list even bigger than the one before, but to keep it short, If I had the money, I’d eat everyday in Clown bar. Perfect if you want something french with a modern touch, the place is gorgeous and the food even better. The flavours just explode in your mouth. I’d ask every member of the staff to marry me, that is how friendly they are. Their wine selection almost makes me cry with joy for every sip I take.
What is your favorite time of day in the City?
It really depends on what I am doing that day. I really love to be free around 7pm. It is around that time when apéro- short for apéritif – starts. I love this concept. The french basically gather together for drinks, nibbles and a good chat before dinner time, no matter if one will go home and dine alone or proceed to have dinner with the same or different people. I love to do the apéro, I think this will follow me everywhere for the rest of my life. It is a lifestyle and a must in France.
Tell me about a place where you should watch a Sunset or a Sunrise from in your city?
I am very privileged to live in Montmartre, which is one of the highest points in the village. I am literally a tenminute walk from the Sacré Coeur church where one can sit down and watch the sun set or rise. The fact that you can see the whole of Paris from here, Eiffel tower included, makes the view spectacular.
What’s the most meaningful thing you bought back during your travels? How is it part of your life at home?
I’m not that into bringing souvenirs from places. I might bring in ingredients such as spices, herbs or even alcohol. I would then cook stuff up or even organise an apéro for people to try the brought back goods. Whenever I go to London for instance, I bring tons of food, biscuits, sweets and tea.
Do you call the city you live in home? Or is just a place where you are currently resting your hat?
Paris is my home for now. I came here when I was eighteen so everything I have or built here it was with my own hands and from scratch, relationships included. I learned to be an adult here, so even if I ever choose to go live somewhere else, Paris will always be my home and will hold a special place in my heart.
Tell me 3 places that make a trip to Paris better for someone who has never been before?
The Eiffel Tower. It is everybody’s dream and exceeds every expectation. I still pause to look at it whenever I can and it’s been 10 years. The Buttes Chaumont Park. People don’t know it too well. It’s a gorgeous park in the 19th. A walk through it is enough to fall in love and feel more in touch with nature. Musée d’Orsay. The place is a dream come true. One can’t really decide if it’s the place or the paintings that are worth the trip. Everything in it screams masterpiece.
Where will your next escape be to?
I’d love to visit Japan, Thailand or Vietnam. I have always been fascinated by these countries, their culture and food. This is something that has been on my list for a while and I’d love for it to happen in the very near future.
One thing that you wish you could change about Paris?
This will sound very cliché and cheesy, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Even the bad stuff I would keep. It wouldn’t be Paris otherwise. My relationship with Paris is like being married to someone. Sometimes you want to stick a knife down their throat but you can’t change the way they are and that is precisely why you are in love with them.
Tell me about what the next 6 months are looking for you, life, love, work and adventures?
The next 6 months look exciting and full of change and evolution. I will stay in Paris as I will be changing positions and workplace. I will remain in the same company as I consider I have a lot to learn from these people I now consider my family. My love life is incredible, I never thought i’d be sharing my life with my best friend and I am, we just need to keep growing and adjusting. I need to learn to save money to travel more and keep learning. I am a very blessed person in all of the four aspects.
Your favorite travel quote?
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends”. Maya Angelou
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it”. George A. Moore
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE ARTICLE:
Café Moderne / www.facebook.com/Café-Moderne
Musée d’Orsay / www.musee-orsay.fr
Candelaria / www.facebook.com/candelariaparis
Little Red Door / www.lrdparis.com
Hero / www.facebook.com/herosaintdenis
Syndicat / www.syndicatcocktailclub.com
La Commune / www.facebook.com/lacommunepunchclub
Lulu White / www.luluwhite.bar
Medusa / www.medusaparis.com
Red House / www.facebook.com/RedHouseBarParis
Copperbay / www.copperbay.fr
Danico / www.facebook.com/danicoparis
Les Grands Verres / www.facebook.com/lesgrandsverres
Sacré Coeur church
Glass / www.facebook.com/glassparis
The Eiffel Tower
Buttes Chaumont Park