By Yuri Chong, 05/01/2010 For New York Times magazine – The daily patrons of 0fr (pronounced “oh-eff-eehrrr”), a family-run intello-chic bookshop in the Marais area of Paris, are a mixed bunch. “Our customers always vary,” the owner Alexandre Thumerelle says. “We usually have locals — students, designers, models and artists who live in the area. We have tourists, but the ones who come here are pas mal.” Thumerelle opened his internationally eclectic store in 1996 with his younger sister, Marie. Since then, 0fr has become an indie destination spot for its assortment of vintage and newly released art books and cult fashion magazines. Small but busy, it doubles as a exhibition space (past artist inhabitants have included Will McBride and Mark Borthwick) as well as a publisher for Paris-centric publications (including “GuideParis,” a yearly manual filled with local favorites). “People think Parisians are snobs, but ‘GuideParis’ and 0fr prove that we’re not so bad.” To celebrate its 15 years in existence, 0fr will be releasing a retrospective book in May “0n fire”. Showcasing all 160 of its publications, 300 artists exhibited, and hundreds of shop opened and closed during that time, the book will include collaborations with other Parisian insiders (…)
Here, Thumerelle lists his own guide to Paris.
Occupation: Founder of 0fr., a bookstore and gallery./Other jobs held: I organized the first three Daft Punk concerts in Paris and produced three Nouvelle Vague-esque films./ Heritage: French./Birthplace: Paris./Languages: French, English, Italian./ Current home: Paris, 18th Arrondissement. I tried hundreds of cities already because I like to travel … but my home is Paris./ What about Paris keeps you here? The diversity of everything, the energy, the eroticism. … It’s always getting better./Paris survival tip: Walk, get lost./ What made you start 0fr? To be as close as possible to my time. When you do movies, you are just in the office and you write and only interact with other professionals. Here, I get to meet everyone. It’s become a community. I chose these books because it’s very inspiring./ What does “0fr” mean? It means free. It means generosity. It means that you do things because you like them, not because you want something to happen afterwards. Technically, it stands for “0 francs,” because when we started 0fr, the franc was still our currency./ Favorite book in the store: Danny Lyon, “Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement.”/Daily uniform: No socks, jeans, boat shoes. Hopefully topless./Favorite place to unwind: L’hammam de la Mosquée in the Fifth./Restaurants: Le Bastringue in the 19th Arrondissement. It’s a typical French brasserie. The food is terrible, but you need to go for the atmosphere. And since Paris is the city of love, I like drinking tea Champagne on Sunday afternoons at the Meurice with my girlfriend./Standby meal: I love bo bun. There’s a great Vietnamese place on rue de Belleville called Lao Siam. I purposely didn’t put this in my “GuideParis,” but now the secret’s out./Groceries: I go to Le Marché de l’Olive in the 18th./ Drink of choice: A bottle of 2005 red./ Favorite designer: Meilleur Ami. The designer makes wonderful bags and scarves./Favorite photographers: Robert Frank and Ed van der Elsken./ Favorite albums: Anything by Laurent Garnier, and John Coltrane’s “Olé.”/Favorite book: “Duende” by Federico García Lorca./Guilty pleasure: I never feel guilty about anything. That’s my specialty./ Vacation destination: 0fr Summer University in Crete!