Meet Heleen

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Heleen and Lies first met while studying at the two art academies in Gent, Heleen was studying Fashion Design at KASK and Lies graphic design at LUCA. Now Heleen is living in Paris and working as an accessories designer for a French fashion house.

With a fast pacing job like hers, coming at ease is something she prefers to do at her hometown in Belgium, close to her family, friends and nature. Since it’s only a 2-hour train ride from Paris the journey is easily made.

But Paris definitely has its treasures, only discovering unexpected places in a bustling city like Paris can be a real hunt if you’re not very familiar with the city. So we asked Heleen a couple of her favourite places.

Whenever I like to escape the intensity of the Parisian city center I visit the Bois De Boulogne, one of the largest parks that also houses the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Maybe it's my love for architecture and design, but the building stays impressive every time I visit. You go there for the exhibition, but afterwards, you can discover the entire building. On the different roof terasses you have an amazing view and all the glasswork gives a fascinating colour play. Parc Des Buttes-Chaumont is probably the most beautiful park in the center of Paris. Lots of small tracks, hidden corners, specials plants & flowers and hills with a spectacular view over Paris. It’s just the perfect place for a picnic in summer or an autumn stroll.

Another must-do is the Coulée Verte René-Dumont or the High Line of Paris: A 5km long green walking trail on an old railway road from Bastille to Bois de Vincennes.

For shopping, I really like ‘The Broken Arm’; a concept store and coffee bar with contemporary fashion. A bit further you’ll find the cosy and (for some) chaotic bookstore ‘0fr’ stacked with magazines and artbooks. Since I’m addicted to magazines, this store comes close to heaven for me. You’ll find me here for hours and often I go here after work, just to feed my brain with amazing images and fascinating texts.

Food-wise there's no shortage in Paris and with restaurants and coffee shops around every corner, you’ll definitely find something. But if I can recommend one it’s ‘Cibus’, probably the smallest restaurant I’ve ever seen but the amazing fresh, traditional Italian kitchen is the perfect place for a romantic tête-à-tête. Or Café Lux, a Korean restaurant around the corner of my apartment. There’s only 1 dish on the menu, a traditional Bo bun, but so good that I go their almost every week for dinner.

Le Marché des enfant rouge is a hidden street food market in Le Marais, but you can also get fresh flowers, cheese or wine from local vendors. The perfect stop if you’ve planned a picnic in the park or next to the canals of Paris.

Or perhaps visit Big Love. At this Italian pizzeria in Le Marais, Heleen and Lies talked about large handbags and how they fit all your stuff so easily while sharing a bottle of red wine and pizza. Lies took this idea back with her to Antwerp, and a couple of weeks later she contacted Heleen to ask if she could name her first tote bag after her.