Christian Moerk is a Danish journalist and author.
1. What initially inspired you to move here or visit?
My father brought me to Paris when I was 13. He dragged me through museums. But was a wise enough man to recognize that I loved everything else: the tin-coloured roofs. The askance views from waiters who don’t think you’d notice. The rough, but loving tone among shopkeepers. I always came back since.
2. Earliest Paris memory?
Waking up in a strange apartment in the rue des Sablons. New and different sounds from the street. I bubbled with excitement to come out and see what caused them.
3. Best neighbourhood you’ve ever lived in?
The Marais. Hands down.
4. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in Paris?
The cuisse de canard at Au Petit Fer à Cheval. If you’re nice, Didier and Hassen will let you have some, too.
5. Sexiest moment you’ve had in Paris?
If I told you that, the letters on this page would curdle. Best to leave it in the past.
6. What do you hate most about living in Paris?
Having to deal, in any way, shape, or form, with taking the RER-B from Les Halles to/from CDG. It is an atrocity.
7. Who’s your favourite Parisian — be they living or dead, real or fictional?
Rostand’s Cyrano. He loved Paris and its charms with proper reverence.
8. Favourite cinema?
MK2 by the Bassin de la Vilette. It feels otherworldly. And has a sweet little boat ferrying you back and forth.
9. Right bank or left bank? And why?
Right bank, no doubt. Because the expression, frustration and sheer parisian puissance comes from up here. It makes the city’s heart beat faster. The left bank is lovely for visiting your grandmother.
10. Favourite Caviste?
A La Ville de Rodez in the rue Vielle du Temple. Lovely people. Great rosé champagne. Don’t laugh. It’s great.
11. Where do you go to escape the city?
I try not to, really. But when I do, I grab a TGV and go as far as it will let me. Last time, I ended up in Toulon. It felt like a different country.
12. Where are the best looking girls or boys in Paris and why?
The Marais, again. Probably because it mixes together tourists with locals in Paris’ hippest neighborhood really well. And because no girl wants to feel like she’s shopping or dressing like her mom in the 5th, 6th, 8th, or 16th arrondissements. Close runner-up: The Canal St-Martin and the entire 11th arrondissement.
13. Where do you get your news?
Almost exclusively from the internet. New York Times, The New Yorker, Libération, Berlingske Tidende and The Irish Independent. For starters. I don’t watch TV.
14. Favourite museum?
The hidden Eugène Delacroix museum on the Place Furstemberg. In the summer, go through the museum and – on the way to his atelier – linger in the courtyard underneath the poplar trees. It’s a little pearl to discover.
15. Favourite shop?
LOFT Design By (Hey, don’t blame me for the syntax; that’s its name.) I’m a sucker for the style and the fabric. Either in the rue du Bac (sales ladies are extremely courteous) or in the rue des Francs-Bourgeois (hipper and therefore not as nice, but still okay). The clothes are relaxed and well-made, but not loud.
16. Who’s the most stylish Paris personality?
Cathérine Deneuve, both on screen and off. None comes close.
17. What is your favourite film set in Paris?
Elevator to the Gallows, Louis Malle’s brilliant 1958 chiller, starring Jeanne Moreau, who was never better than here.
18. What about Paris most inspires you?
Its main contrast: it is at once a city mired in and clinging sentimentally to the past, and the most forward-leaning and progressive of all European capitals.
19. What makes someone a Parisian?
His or her ability to appear chic and in charge in public, despite a possible nervous breakdown, romantic ineptitude, and impending financial ruin. It borrows from British stiff upper lip, but in this version, which is uniquely Parisian, they make it look so much better.
20. What’s your favourite French word? (Swear words allowed!)