Rooksana Hossenally

Correspondent

  • Paris, France, Europe

Rooksana Hossenally is a correspondent who lives in Paris and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. She is also a freelance writer for The New York Times and British Airways Highlife Magazine. Her adventures have led her on a 40-hour train journey across India, up a mountainside with a punctured tire in Oman and waking up at a local’s house in the middle of Monument Valley, but when she isn’t off exploring the world, she’s scouring Paris for the best it has to offer. Her work has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Dazed, AMagazine.com.au, The Huffington Post and MSNTravel, among other publications.

  • On April 8, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    Where is the best nightlife in Paris?

    As Forbes Travel Guide Editor, Hayley Bosh, says in her answer to the question, while Americans or Brits are getting ready to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, after a prolonger 'apéro', the Parisians are only just sitting down to dinner.

    Nightlife in Paris isn't quite on par with the clubbing scene of New York or London, but it does have a few places to check out for those who want to spend a night dancing till the early hours of the morning.

    People who go out more to be seen than for the music, tend to ventrue to the upmarket but very commercial VIP Room (188 bis rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001). Otherwise, quality upmarket clubs riding on the speakeasy trend is where Parisians flock to on a Friday night. Places to try include Le Baron (6 avenue Marceau, Paris 75008), le Pompon (39 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris) and the Ballroom at the Beef Club (rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris). And of course, there is the David Lynch-designed Silencio (142 rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris) - if you can get in, that is.

    Following the speakeasy trend, the very latest events to take the city by storm are the electronic music nights (and days) at Wanderlust (Docks en Seine, quai d'Austerlitz). But while Wanderlust gets top marks for location and concept, most regulars will agree that the staff and bouncers are rude, the drinks are overpriced and the food is nothing to write home about.

    Visitors looking for more of an edge to their night might find what they are looking for at the following clubs: Batofar, Bus Palladium, Machine du Moulin Rouge, Nouveau Casino, Social Club, Rex Club, Flèche d'Or, Bizzart, Bellevilloise, Glaz'Art, Showcase, Point FMR and La Gaîté Lyrique. For party-goers who are a little older, it's worth keeping in mind that the crowd found at most clubs and gig venues in Paris tends to be quite young (usually under 30 years old) and although no one will make you feel like you don't belong, you might feel a little out of place.

    If rubbing shoulders with Paris' most snooty fashion crowd of bloggers and budding fashion designers isn't your scene, and you don't have the get-up for a big night out, see what concerts are on at Paris' best venues. To find out what's on when, try the Digitick (in English and French) or Lylo ('Les Yeux et les Oreilles' - in French only) listings websites.

  • On April 8, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    Where is the best nightlife in Paris?

    As Forbes Travel Guide Editor, Hayley Bosh, says in her answer to the question, while Americans or Brits are getting ready to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, after a prolonger 'apéro', the Parisians are only just sitting down to dinner.

    Nightlife in Paris isn't quite on par with the clubbing scene of New York or London, but it does have a few places to check out for those who want to spend a night dancing till the early hours of the morning.

    People who go out more to be seen than for the music, tend to ventrue to the upmarket but very commercial VIP Room (188 bis rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001). Otherwise, quality upmarket clubs riding on the speakeasy trend is where Parisians flock to on a Friday night. Places to try include Le Baron (6 avenue Marceau, Paris 75008), le Pompon (39 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris) and the Ballroom at the Beef Club (rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris). And of course, there is the David Lynch-designed Silencio (142 rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris) - if you can get in, that is.

    Following the speakeasy trend, the very latest events to take the city by storm are the electronic music nights (and days) at Wanderlust (Docks en Seine, quai d'Austerlitz). But while Wanderlust gets top marks for location and concept, most regulars will agree that the staff and bouncers are rude, the drinks are overpriced and the food is nothing to write home about.

    Visitors looking for more of an edge to their night might find what they are looking for at the following clubs: Batofar, Bus Palladium, Machine du Moulin Rouge, Nouveau Casino, Social Club, Rex Club, Flèche d'Or, Bizzart, Bellevilloise, Glaz'Art, Showcase, Point FMR and La Gaîté Lyrique. For party-goers who are a little older, it's worth keeping in mind that the crowd found at most clubs and gig venues in Paris tends to be quite young (usually under 30 years old) and although no one will make you feel like you don't belong, you might feel a little out of place.

    If rubbing shoulders with Paris' most snooty fashion crowd of bloggers and budding fashion designers isn't your scene, and you don't have the get-up for a big night out, see what concerts are on at Paris' best venues. To find out what's on when, try the Digitick (in English and French) or Lylo ('Les Yeux et les Oreilles' - in French only) listings websites.

  • On April 8, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    Where is the best nightlife in Paris?

    As Forbes Travel Guide Editor, Hayley Bosh, says in her answer to the question, while Americans or Brits are getting ready to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, after a prolonger 'apéro', the Parisians are only just sitting down to dinner.

    Nightlife in Paris isn't quite on par with the clubbing scene of New York or London, but it does have a few places to check out for those who want to spend a night dancing till the early hours of the morning.

    People who go out more to be seen than for the music, tend to ventrue to the upmarket but very commercial VIP Room (188 bis rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001). Otherwise, quality upmarket clubs riding on the speakeasy trend is where Parisians flock to on a Friday night. Places to try include Le Baron (6 avenue Marceau, Paris 75008), le Pompon (39 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris) and the Ballroom at the Beef Club (rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris). And of course, there is the David Lynch-designed Silencio (142 rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris) - if you can get in, that is.

    Following the speakeasy trend, the very latest events to take the city by storm are the electronic music nights (and days) at Wanderlust (Docks en Seine, quai d'Austerlitz). But while Wanderlust gets top marks for location and concept, most regulars will agree that the staff and bouncers are rude, the drinks are overpriced and the food is nothing to write home about.

    Visitors looking for more of an edge to their night might find what they are looking for at the following clubs: Batofar, Bus Palladium, Machine du Moulin Rouge, Nouveau Casino, Social Club, Rex Club, Flèche d'Or, Bizzart, Bellevilloise, Glaz'Art, Showcase, Point FMR and La Gaîté Lyrique. For party-goers who are a little older, it's worth keeping in mind that the crowd found at most clubs and gig venues in Paris tends to be quite young (usually under 30 years old) and although no one will make you feel like you don't belong, you might feel a little out of place.

    If rubbing shoulders with Paris' most snooty fashion crowd of bloggers and budding fashion designers isn't your scene, and you don't have the get-up for a big night out, see what concerts are on at Paris' best venues. To find out what's on when, try the Digitick (in English and French) or Lylo ('Les Yeux et les Oreilles' - in French only) listings websites.

  • On April 8, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally is now following London
  • On April 8, 2013
  • On April 8, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are quirky local customs in Paris?

    There aren't really any "quirky local customs" as such in Paris, although there are a few things you can do to fit in better. 

    1) When you enter a shop of any kind, be it a newsagent's or an exclusive boutique, the shop assistant must be greeted with a 'Bonjour!' and upon leaving the shop, do not forget to thank the assistant even if you haven't had any contact with them whatsoever with a 'Merci, aurevoir!'. 

    2) Like in the rest of France, people who meet for the first time (or the nth time) greet one another with a kiss on each cheek. In Paris, it's the traditional two kisses, although the number of kisses does vary throughout the country - for example, in some regions of the south, greetings can go up to four kisses.

    3) Eat bread with anything (even pasta). It's a wonder how Parisians remain so slim when a basket of sliced baguette is served with absolutely every meal; however, if you want to feel like a local, make sure that your pace of baguette-indulging requires you to ask for a refill at least once throughout the one meal.

    4) Expect bad service. Don't take it personally if your waitor hardly looks at you while taking your order or whenever he so much as approches your table. Don't expect waitors to stop what they are doing to serve you either (especially if they are having a fairly enjoyable conversation with a fellow waitor), and expect to be ignored several times before your waitor takes any notice when you call him over. There is no formal explanation for this sort of behaviour - but it's their way or the highway I'm afraid! That said, there are exceptions to the rule - thankfully.

    5) Leave Paris as soon as you can. The way you know that you are a genuine Parisian, is when you love to hate the city - any excuse becomes good enough to escape. Most Parisians will indeed disappear beyond the suburbs at weekends either to a holiday home or to visit friends and family. Most people tend to leave from Thursday evening to late on Sunday, and the most Parisian of the lot will even push it until Monday morning. 

    6) The ubiquitous "apéro" is basically an excuse to drink without necessarily eating. The custom is originally an apéritif in the form of a glass of something (be it an alcoholic beverage or not) preceding a meal; however, the custom has, it seems, adjusted to fast-living and has transformed itself into a toned-down version of binge-drinking. If you are invited to an apéro, bring a bottle of good red to ensure you fit in - and have something to eat beforehand if you don't want to end up with an early hangover. Sometimes you will be invited to an 'apéro dinatoire', which is basically a few hors d'oeuvres thrown in. Apéros can take place anytime after 4pm, can last well until after the last metro and can be on any day of the week.  
  • On April 8, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are quirky local customs in Paris?

    There aren't really any "quirky local customs" as such in Paris, although there are a few things you can do to fit in better. 

    1) When you enter a shop of any kind, be it a newsagent's or an exclusive boutique, the shop assistant must be greeted with a 'Bonjour!' and upon leaving the shop, do not forget to thank the assistant even if you haven't had any contact with them whatsoever with a 'Merci, aurevoir!'. 

    2) Like in the rest of France, people who meet for the first time (or the nth time) greet one another with a kiss on each cheek. In Paris, it's the traditional two kisses, although the number of kisses does vary throughout the country - for example, in some regions of the south, greetings can go up to four kisses.

    3) Eat bread with anything (even pasta). It's a wonder how Parisians remain so slim when a basket of sliced baguette is served with absolutely every meal; however, if you want to feel like a local, make sure that your pace of baguette-indulging requires you to ask for a refill at least once throughout the one meal.

    4) Expect bad service. Don't take it personally if your waitor hardly looks at you while taking your order or whenever he so much as approches your table. Don't expect waitors to stop what they are doing to serve you either (especially if they are having a fairly enjoyable conversation with a fellow waitor), and expect to be ignored several times before your waitor takes any notice when you call him over. There is no formal explanation for this sort of behaviour - but it's their way or the highway I'm afraid! That said, there are exceptions to the rule - thankfully.

    5) Leave Paris as soon as you can. The way you know that you are a genuine Parisian, is when you love to hate the city - any excuse becomes good enough to escape. Most Parisians will indeed disappear beyond the suburbs at weekends either to a holiday home or to visit friends and family. Most people tend to leave from Thursday evening to late on Sunday, and the most Parisian of the lot will even push it until Monday morning. 

    6) The ubiquitous "apéro" is basically an excuse to drink without necessarily eating. The custom is originally an apéritif in the form of a glass of something (be it an alcoholic beverage or not) preceding a meal; however, the custom has, it seems, adjusted to fast-living and has transformed itself into a toned-down version of binge-drinking. If you are invited to an apéro, bring a bottle of good red to ensure you fit in - and have something to eat beforehand if you don't want to end up with an early hangover. Sometimes you will be invited to an 'apéro dinatoire', which is basically a few hors d'oeuvres thrown in. Apéros can take place anytime after 4pm, can last well until after the last metro and can be on any day of the week.  
  • On April 2, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    Where can you get the best view of Paris?

    There are several key places to visit for the best views of Paris - for me, the best one was the Samaritaine rooftop, which was a department store on rue de Rivoli now closed down and being refurbished to become a hotel and apartments. 

    While we wait for the building to open again, there is the top floor of the Centre Pompidou (also known as the Beaubourg); here there is the Georges restaurant, a Thierry Costes venue, which has fantastic sunset views over the Paris rooftops - if the less polished pavements of the city haven't quite matched up to your expectations, the rooftops definitely will! 

    Another spot to catch the city skyline is at the top of the stairs leading to the Sacré Coeur Basilica in Montmartre - get there early for sunset as this is a popular place to come for tourists and locals alike. 

    For the best views of the River Seine and its surroundings, head to the river itself and cross over the bridges Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts and admire the hundreds of padlocks left hooked to the bridge by passing couples wanting to leave a memento of their love in Paris.

    Otherwise, make sure to keep your eyes wide open when crossing the river on metro line 6 between Bir-Hakeim and Passy for a beautiful glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. Boasting similar views with the added bonus of having the time to get your camera out, is a spot to the right hand side of the Palais de Tokyo museum (metro Iéna, line 9) - here there is a beautiful view of the tower at sunset with picturesque Parisian steps.

    And last but certainly not least, visit the rooftop terrace of the wonderful Hotel Raphaël on avenue Kléber near the Arc de Triomphe for 360° views of the city. Make sure you book a table before-hand as the terrace is sometimes closed for functions.


  • On April 2, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What is public transportation like in Paris?

    www.anabelmaldonado.net Public transport in Paris is a touchy issue. Paris' metro network is extremely handy but as most visitors will comment, it is shockingly dirty. However, one gets used to it very quickly. The Parisian metro is the real life and soul of the city where affluent businessmen and the city's worst-off come together. Using the metro will also teach you inumerable lessons in that infamous Parisian culture that is so often debated about. 

    Metro stations are quite close together and the nearest metro station is never far away. You buy a ticket at the machine, push it through the slot in the turnstiles and you don't need it to let yourself out. Tickets can be used on buses, trams and the RER. It is best to but a carnet of 10 tickets, which will set you back around 12 euros.

    The RER is the overground network that reaches into the banlieue (or 'suburbs' in English). Most visitors to the city won't have to use the RER unless taking a day trip outside the city to Versailles or Giverny for example. Paris also has a very good bus network, however, traffic can be heavy; the journey can therefore take a lot longer than getting around via the metro. The tram lines circle the outskirts of the city only - again, visitors rarely use this method of transport. 

    Another way of exploring the city is by bike - you can rent a 'Vélib' in any neighbourhood. You will see a machine close to the bike racks (the bikes are of a heavy grey frame), which will guide you through the process. Getting around via Vélib is one of the more pleasant ways of exploring the city in the warmer months and it isn't costly. However, a word of warning: unless you are experienced, stick to bike paths as drivers can be ruthless.

  • On April 2, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What is public transportation like in Paris?

    www.anabelmaldonado.net Public transport in Paris is a touchy issue. Paris' metro network is extremely handy but as most visitors will comment, it is shockingly dirty. However, one gets used to it very quickly. The Parisian metro is the real life and soul of the city where affluent businessmen and the city's worst-off come together. Using the metro will also teach you inumerable lessons in that infamous Parisian culture that is so often debated about. 

    Metro stations are quite close together and the nearest metro station is never far away. You buy a ticket at the machine, push it through the slot in the turnstiles and you don't need it to let yourself out. Tickets can be used on buses, trams and the RER. It is best to but a carnet of 10 tickets, which will set you back around 12 euros.

    The RER is the overground network that reaches into the banlieue (or 'suburbs' in English). Most visitors to the city won't have to use the RER unless taking a day trip outside the city to Versailles or Giverny for example. Paris also has a very good bus network, however, traffic can be heavy; the journey can therefore take a lot longer than getting around via the metro. The tram lines circle the outskirts of the city only - again, visitors rarely use this method of transport. 

    Another way of exploring the city is by bike - you can rent a 'Vélib' in any neighbourhood. You will see a machine close to the bike racks (the bikes are of a heavy grey frame), which will guide you through the process. Getting around via Vélib is one of the more pleasant ways of exploring the city in the warmer months and it isn't costly. However, a word of warning: unless you are experienced, stick to bike paths as drivers can be ruthless.

  • On April 2, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best luxury hotels in Paris?

    Paris is the most visited city in the world and with over 6,000 hotels in the Ile-de-France region, it is the European city with the highest hotel capacity - so how do you choose?

    You can either go for one of the emblematic high-profile 'palace' hotels (the term 'palace' denotes a hotel above 5 stars) like the Plaza Athénée, Four Seasons George V or Le Meurice; or you can for something more boutique. In terms of luxury (non-palace) hotels, my selection of top hotels includes the gorgeous art nouveau Régina just across the road from the Louvre and the iconic Raphaël close to the Champs-Elysées. These two hotels exude early 1900s charm like no other place in the city. If you don't stay here, make sure to drop in for a drink at least.

    In terms of lesser-known boutique hotels, the very best includes the funky Hôtel Thoumieux designed by India Madhavi and design duo M/M, close to Invalides (metro Invalides line 8 or 13), the chic Pavillon de la Reine just off the Place des Vosges in the Marais (metro St Paul, line 1 or Chemin Vert, line 8), and the beautiful Hôtel Particulier in Montmartre (Abbesses, line 12).

    For something more contemporary go for the newly-opened Hôtel de Nell in the busier neighbourhood of Bonne Nouvelle/Grands Boulevards or Duo just next door to the Hôtel de Ville ('town hall' in English).

    For the first-time visitor for whom location is the main priority, then try the Hôtel de Lutèce or Hôtel des Deux Iles right in the heart of Paris on the Ile Saint-Louis located on the Seine and a stone's throw away from Notre Dame.
  • On April 2, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best art galleries in Paris?

    As well as being the city of love, light, fashion and haute-cuisine, Paris is also the city of art. The art gallery scene used to be based in Saint-Germain at the time of Sartre and de Beauvoir, but it has since moved to the Marais and a small fraction is also being channelled further out into the 20th arrondissement.

    For the best contemporary art Paris has to offer outside of museums and other institutions, head to the city's more prised art galleries, which are in the Marais. Galerie Perrotin (76 rue de Turenne, Paris 75003) and Yvon Lambert (108 rue Vieille du Temple, Paris 75003) are not to miss. 

    Both extremely respected gallerists for their flair, talent and passion, Emmanuel Perrotin represents big names like Takashi Murakami and Maurizio Cattelan, while Yvon Lambert works with the likes of Shilpa Gupta and Mario Testino. 

    Another gallery not to miss is Polka Galerie (12 rue Saint-Gilles, Paris 75003) for its fantastic choice of photography. The gallery shows work by some of the world's best photographers, like Marc Riboud and David Bailey.
  • On April 2, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    Where is the best shopping in Paris?

    Paris is a tricky one for shopping as the best unique little boutiques are scattered throughout the city. Our Forbes Paris Correspondents have outlined the main shopping areas and if you really want to get to the below-the-radar stuff, then you need to get exploring.

    My favorite place to go shopping is the Marais. Its tiny winding streets are lined with voguish luxury chain clothes shops like Zadig et Voltaire, Kult, Petit Bateau, The Kooples, Loft and Bensimon as well as one-off boutiques like the upmarket 'Merci' (111, boulevard Beaumarchais - press the buzzer and let yourself inside a quaint cobbled courtyard), a firm favorite among the locals and definitely one not to miss - the store is located in a converted textile warehouse and sells everything from clothing to homeware, as well as books and beauty products, but best of all, part of the benefits are sent to Madagascar for children in need.

    The best thing about the Marais is that no matter how many times you visit, you will always stumble upon something you hadn't seen before as there are so many nooks and crannies to explore - shopping here is also a great way of seeing one of the most charming neighborhoods of Paris.

    The best way of reaching the heart of the Marais is to get off at St Paul (metro line 1), cross over the road towards Place des Vosges and go! Otherwise you can also reach the area via line 8 by getting off at Filles du Calvaire. 
  • On April 2, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best museums in Paris?

    While visiting Paris, it's worth exploring the Louvre, Orsay and the Grand Palais, but the city also has plenty of art to see outside of its blockbuster museums.

    The Fondation Cartier (261 boulevard Raspail, Paris 75014 - metro Raspail, lines 4 and 6), not to be confused with the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, is a contemporary art institution designed by highly acclaimed French architect, Jean Nouvel. Opened in Paris in 1984, the foundation's aim has been to raise awareness about contemporary art through carefully chosen themes and artists. The exhibitions hosted here are extremely eclectic and have ranged from Voodoo art to the history of graffiti. Next up is the incredibly talented Australian realist sculptor, Ron Mueck, whose work will be showcased from 16 april-29 September 2013.

    For photography amators, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP - 5/7 rue de Fourcy, Paris 75004, metro Saint-Paul, line 1) and the Jeu de Paume (Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries, Paris 75001, metro Concorde, line 1, 8 and 14) are the places to go for well put-together exhibitions. While the Jeu de Paume is on the main circuit, it isn't hard to see why shows here draw in thousands of visitors from all over the world. Showing works by Federico Fellini, the iconic Italian film director, to controversial projects by Ai Weiwei and the eerie portraits of the revolutionary American photographer Diane Arbus, the Jeu de Paume's aim is to raise awareness about the central tenets in photography. The MEP on the other hand, hosts smaller but more niche shows of less high-profile photographers who are well-known in the milieu.

    A rather unsual museum that captures the essence of mid-twentieth century Paris, is the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (62 rue des Archives, Paris 75003, metro Rambuteau, line 11). Hidden in the backstreets of the Marais behind a heavy-set wooden door, is a small museum that is sure to awaken your primal senses as the long-forgotten thrill of the hunt is revived. Pieces of taxidermy art are displayed in the sumptuous maze of salons and cabinets of a former eighteenth-century house.

    Last but not least on the list of museums to visit while in the city, is the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris (MAM - 11 avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 75116, metro Iéna or Alma-Marceau, line 9), which shows mainly large retrospectives of works by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Linder Sterling. Next to grace the venue is a Keith Haring retrospective, which will run from 19 April-18 August 2013.
  • On April 1, 2013