As head of Noor, a Paris-based photographic agency, 30 year-old dad Clément Saccomani has fast become known as a major talent-spotter within a changing artistic environment. His apartment, which looks out onto the rooftops of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, bares witness to his joyful, culturally-rich Parisian life. Interview.
Profession: Agency director at Noor
Neighbourhood: 10th Arrondissement
As a freshly minted Parisian have you adopted any typically Parisian habits? I’m partly from Italy, partly from Lyon, however I grew up in the Yvelines. Since moving to Paris I’ve found myself walking everywhere. On Saturdays and Sundays I seem to be constantly walking. What I love about this city are all the things people do to make it lively and pleasant, from the way the Seine’s embankments are transformed into beaches for the summer’s Paris Plages, or the nostalgic Guingette outdoor drinking establishments like Rosa Bonheur’s Seine outpost.
Le Rosa Bonheur sur Seine, Quai d’Orsay. Tel. : +33 1 47 53 66 92.
When you’re travelling abroad what do you miss most about Paris? The mix of people of all colours and backgrounds that you see on the street.
If you could summarize Paris with one photo what would it be? I’d say this photo doesn’t exist, I’m always looking for that same feeling of boyish wonder I remember having when my parents first took me to the Eiffel Tower just before lights-out.
If you could illustrate the feeling in Paris today with a snapshot what would it be? It would be an image of France taken directly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, or something from Martin Parr’s work in the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood, which wonderfully captures the diverse nature of the city.
Describe your latest photo crush: The work of young photographer Samuel Gratacap or that of the young artist and photographer Camille Lévêque, co-founder of the Orpheus Standing Alone publishing house. She’s just released an amazing new book titled Meng Eng Mer Sarere, (We are all mountains) which showcases Armenian cultural memory using personal family memories. The result is a polaroid and poetry-filled tome that transports readers with its showcase of traditional and contemporary visual identities.
Name three unexpected spots that evoke Paris to you: The Barbès area next to Montmartre in the 9th arrondissement; the hidden Galerie Vivienne covered passage in the grands boulevards area and the Louvre, especially when you look at it with childlike eyes -- at night, illuminated, by Velib bike.
Galerie Vivienne: Accessed via 6 Rue Vivienne, 4 Rue des Petits Champs or 5 Rue de la Banque, 75002 Paris.
Name a stroll that inspires your photographic side. It’s the one I do every morning by the Ourcq canal, the light there is incredible as the sun comes up.
Where would you live other than Paris? It would either be Los Angeles, Istanbul or Marseilles. All for the light…
What’s making you happy right now? My life, my eight year-old daughter, she’s always telling me about her dreams. Her laugh seems to change every week! Little girls are really something.
Describe a photo that makes you smile: A photo of my daughter aged one. It makes me relive the time she was so small with happiness and nostalgia.
Name three energy-boosting songs: Take it easy by Hopeton Lewis, Hot Chip by No Fit State, How long by Lipps Inc, Dolce vita by Ryan Paris and Armenian music.
How do you relax and disconnect? Breathing! It’s a simple way to get some distance and to remind yourself that life is beautiful. And, by going to see the incredible chiropractor Lalyr Frédéric on Rue Simart in the 18th arrondissement.
How do you beat the blues? By flying a kite and looking after my plants.
When did you last get the giggles? On the phone with my friend. We were talking about our super powers!
What gets you out of bed on difficult mornings? I love mornings, so it’s easy!
Do you have a specific fitness routine? Climbing, or slipping on my hiking boots for a walk in the country followed up at the end of the day by a boiling hot shower followed with a blast of cold water.
What do you do to stay in shape? Jogging and biking. I have a great place I get kitted out: Fixie Warehouse. That and climbing.
Fixie Warehouse, 2 bis Rue Bénard, 75014 Paris. Tel. : +33 6 52 43 49 03.
If you could define Parisians by their gestures alone what would it be? A little smile on the metro. Or, in fact any number of the little looks that connect Parisians throughout the day.
Do you have a favourite barber or hairdresser? Momo-Tif a chatty and very friendly neighbourhood hairdresser on Rue de Ménlmontant, you can’t do better. Otherwise, Jean Pierre Faure in the 18th arrondissement.
Jean Pierre Faure, 240 Rue Championnet, 75018 Paris. Tel. : +33 1 42 29 74 01.
How do you envision Parisians? As provincials who’ve started to hate provincials.
What makes you feel Parisian? When I’m in the car I start complaining about pedestrians and when I’m walking I complain about cars. I suppose that makes me a complainer, but one who is well-liked nonetheless. I always feel somewhat combative, a bit like Rastignac, one of the young and ambitious protagonists in an Honoré de Balzac novel. However, having said that I love running for buses, so…
What’s your favourite French dish? Boeuf Bourguignon because it takes hours to cook, a sign of a great meal. That and traditional sausage from Lyon, it’s my Proustian Madeleine, my childhood memory.
What do you like to cook for your friends and family? A kind of Bulghur wheat mix, with lots of things in it. It’s really good though.
What do you eat for an energy boost? Something the girl in my life makes: a Mexican drink made from tomato juice, lime, coriander, onion flowers and olive oil. No matter the time of day it’s great. It has become my go-to. Otherwise I love a good taboulé with parsley or even Ringalis, a Georgian dish.
Clément’s Paris Address book
Where do you go to hone the eye? Le BAL, a contemporary gallery based inside a former 1920s ballroom; TEMPLE, a contemporary art gallery and a great place to discover emerging artists and La Chambre Claire, a gallery bookshop and a great place to flip through different photos from across the world.
Le BAL, 6 Impasse de la Défense, 75018 Paris. Tel. : +33 1 44 70 75 50
TEMPLE, 20 Rue de la Corderie, 75003 Paris.
La Chambre Claire, 14 Rue Saint-Sulpice, 75006 Paris. Tel. : +33 1 46 34 04 31.
To decompress: The Rodin museum for its architecture and its relaxing gardens. La Pagode, an independent cinema that’s set inside a real pagoda with a truly charming garden. Also, going to the charming Prosper butcher on Rue Caulaincourt for its exceptional meat.
Musée Rodin, 79 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris. Tel. : +33 1 44 18 61 10.
La Pagode, 57 bis Rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris. Tel. : +33 1 45 55 48 48.
Boucherie Prosper, 61 Rue de Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris.
For coffee or a cocktail: I love to just go for a coffee in the Luxembourg gardens or in the gardens of the Palais-Royal. In the evening, I swear by L’Arsouille bar for its Montmartre neighborhood vibe. Or, Rosebud which does some of the best craft cocktails in town.
Jardin du Luxembourg, 75006 Paris.
Jardin du Palais-Royal, 2 Place Colette, 75001 Paris.
L’Arsouille, 22 Rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris. Tel. : +33 1 42 55 53 37.
Le Rosebud, 11 B Rue Delambre, 75014 Paris. Tel. : +33 1 43 35 38 54.
For dinners with friends: My apartment! Or, more seriously I really feel at home at the Armenian Cultural house, Maison de la Culture Arménienne and very welcomed by the owner of La Galère des Rois. I have a soft spot for Japanese food from Guilo Guilo, its chef spends odd months in Kyoto and even months in Paris, meaning that the dishes are always inspired by the latest trends from Japan.
For picking up home design goods:Saint-Ouen flea market. I also go abroad to London or Brussels, for their antiques districts.
Marché aux puces de Saint Ouen, 30 Avenue Gabriel Péri, 93400 Saint-Ouen.
Photos : Charlotte Abramow