John Agee is a jewelry designer.
1. What initially inspired you to move here or visit?
My inspiration was twofold: as a jewelry designer, I wanted to open my first shop here, but I was also immensely attracted by the rich, cultivated urban life which exists here. So different from America.
2. Earliest Paris memory?
I first came as a child with my family when I was ten years old, so it was the usual touristy things. But I do remember the Louvre before the pyramid!
3. Best neighbourhood you’ve ever lived in?
Well, I’ve only lived in two: the 10th temporarily when I first got here (not fabulous) and the north of the 8th near the 17th and Square des Batignolles where I’ve lived for the past four and half years (which I really adore).
4. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in Paris?
At the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée at a luncheon for the American ambassador, I had a fish dish floating in the most decadent sauce. Butter may be proof of the existence of God.
5. Sexiest moment you’ve had in Paris?
Hmmm. Anytime you get those “looks” in the street from a good-looking stranger!
6. What do you hate most about living in Paris?
Ineffeciency and the French propensity for not owning up to their mistakes and incompetence.
7. Who’s your favourite Parisian — be they living or dead, real or fictional?
That’s too hard! There are so many: Madame de Sévigné, Madame de Staël, Henri IV, Marguerite de Valois, André Malraux, Boni de Castellane, Guy and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, and of course YSL.
8. Favourite cinema?
I never go, can you believe it?
9. Right bank or left bank? And why?
Left bank because it IS the soul of the city.
10. Favourite Caviste?
Don’t have one.
11. Where do you go to escape the city?
I find there are plenty of escapes within the city. The Palais-Royal is a soothing oasis and my absolute favorite.
12. Where are the best looking girls or boys in Paris and why?
In the 6th and the 7th, because they have that easy, off-handed rich Left Bank style, and they’re well-groomed. The boys are angelic.
13. Where do you get your news?
The New York Times, the New Yorker, the Guardian, the Nation, and sometimes France 24 to practice “hearing” the language.
14. Favourite museum?
Le Musée de la Vie Romantique in the 9th. It’s like being transported into another time.
15. Favourite shop?
Well, I’m biased. My own shop in the rue Jacob!
16. Who’s the most stylish Paris personality?
There’s a woman who lives on rue Jacob near my shop. I don’t know who she is, but you should see her! She stops traffic with her grace and elegance.
17. What is your favourite film set in Paris?
It’s a toss up between Charade and Funny Face, both coincidentally Audrey Hepburn films.
18. What about Paris most inspires you?
It is so resolutely solid in its own conviction that it has created something amazing that the whole world envies and that can never be recreated anywhere else ever again.
19. What makes someone a Parisian?
The ability to see beyond the noise and triviality of modern life, to slow down, and to observe, contemplate, appreciate, and taste this jewel of civilization each and every day.
20. What’s your favourite French word? (Swear words allowed!)
Voilà. It’s so much fun to say, and one can use it all the time!