Magical mystery tour with Diane & visiting other friends in Paris last month. Text & most photos by Glenn Belverio

Above: No trip to Paris is complete without Champagne and Diane Pernet at Cafe de Flore on the Rive Gauche.

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Last month I was holidaying in Europe and I spent a glorious week in the City of Light visiting friends. The highlight of my trip was a magical mystery tour with Diane…and then there were all the stolen moments I had with old and new friends, not to mention one or two rencontres érotiques.


On one particulary muggy yet brilliant afternoon, I walked from the Hôtel de NELL where I was staying to Diane’s chic address in the 7th arrond. I passed through the Place de la Concorde, as one does during such a walk, and it was as magical as I remembered it from four years ago.


Diane at ASVOFF HQ with her Casablancas and NASA space view looming behind her…..she is looking even younger than when I last saw her: Barcelona, Summer 2010. We caught up on all the news and laughs as I fanned myself with my Amanda Lear Chinese dance fan.



Me & Diane’s reflection out on her curved street….I brought some Keith Haring old-skool New York City realness back to Diane…


We went to an absolutely divoon Japanese restaurant near Diane’s apartment…the exquisite courses just kept coming and coming…I think it was an 11-course meal…


One of the courses involved succulent clams in broth and they were heaven.


A couple of days later I met Diane at the wildly popular TUCK SHOP which is co-owned by the divine Puurple Rain….everything is vegetarian, homemade and out of this world….Diane and I both had the stellar zucchini soup…it transported me….and this was the start of our magical mystery tour around Paris….my drug of choice: vegetarian fare (and Champagne).


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Instagram madness at the TUCK SHOP with Diane! Edgar Allen Poe held sway. Funnily, there is an “Edgar Poe” school in Paris…one of Rebecca Voight’s kids attends it….she took me to it….and it’s right next to a crusty gay bar! Oh, Paris!



Rain! She works hard for the money at the TUCK SHOP! Bringing vegetarian delights to the Croque Madame-stifled masses….


This is what I’m talkin’ about….#TuckShop #YUM


After the Tuck Shop, Diane and I made are way over to to the legendary Cafe de Flore to rendezvous with the legendary Lemon (she is seen here perched on the coupe de OJ) and the one-and-only Mayor of the Marais, Akiko Hamaoka. Akiko told me all about her fabulous new job and Lemon went on and on about the new apartment’s Olympic-pool-sized bathtub.



After I fortified myself with some Moët, Diane, Akiko and I went on a looooong walk, our magical mystery tour up Paris, from Cafe de Flore through Les Halles (where tourist heads were spinning around a la Linda Blair when they spotted Diane) and finally to the Le Marais. Diane said she never walks that far and never walks through Les Halles so it was a rare treat. At one point we passed by the magnificent Tour Saint Jacques, above.



Later, we stopped by L’Hotel to pay homage to the great Oscar Wilde. There are varying reports on what his last words were when he died here (it was a dump in 1899, now it’s this ridiculously chi-chi boutique hotel): “These curtains and I have been fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.”

“Either this wallpaper goes or I go.”

And so on.




Not sure what this mosaic was but it fit right in with our magical mystery tour.


Not on the magical mystery tour route, but here’s a graffiti-ed squat in Montmartre near where I was staying after I left the Hôtel de NELL. Apparently Bender from Futurama enjoys the same kind of cult success that Jerry Lewis once had in France.



Medusa and the angels…


One on sunny day I had brunch in Le Marais with fashion designer Teddy Parra (above) and his partner, the stage actor Jean-Luc Bertin. Teddy took me on a tour of his charming shop and downstairs atelier.


I need this look for my next lunch date with Jax (Joan Collins) in St. Tropez. Teddy also creates wonderful made-to-measure men’s suits.


Downstairs in Teddy’s atelier, I was mad for these crane scissors.


While I was with the boys we passed by this pin-up plastered Vespa. Sexy!


On one particularly balmy afternoon, my friend Frédéric invited me over for a cocktail on the large terrace of his glamorous penthouse in the 15th arrond. I died when I saw the view. I offered to make us some of my world-famous Belgronis™ but since Frédéric had limited spirit options, we went into War-time rationing mode. We made do with some gin and red vermouth. Since he didn’t have a proper cocktail shaker, I had to mix the cocktails in a wine decanter with a swan-like neck. Not easy to get the ice cubes in there! But we ended on a high note by drinking my Belgronis™ from Fréd’s Dior crystal tumblers.



Frédéric avec Belgroni™ et Tour de Eiffel.


Moi soaking up the booze and the sun. Holiday! Celebrate! In ev-ery nation….


For the sunset view, one must tolerate these very un-Parisian towers that look like they belong in one of China’s ghost cities…


And then when you turn your head, you get the most iconic view in the world. I was excited to finally witness the 9pm 5-minute glitter and sparkle light show (cut down from 10 minutes in the interests of energy conservation…)



One of the other magical things about this trip to Paris turned out to be my ultimate public advertising fantasy: Huge images of the gorgeous and talented Amanda Lear on the street, in the Metro, on buses,…everywhere! This was reason enough for me to leave the world of tacky, ironic and idiotic hipster public ads in NYC and move to Paris…..The ads are for her new show which Gaultier did the costumes for. Unfortunately I was no longer in Paris when the show opened.



The many passages in Paris are a delight and I absolutely adore Passage Jouffroy in the 9th. This cane shop is of special interest: handmade canes with exquisitely designed heads in sterling silver and bone. When I’m old enough to pull off the cane look (maybe on my 40th birthday in 5 years?) I definitely plan on buying one here.



On my last day in Paris, I had lunch with the delightful Angélique Bosio, director of the terrific documentary on Bruce LaBruce, The Advocate for Fagdom. I (and my alter ego) appear in the film and Angélique interviewed me for it in 2009 when I was staying in an apartment in Pigalle.



We lunched at Richer à Paris and I started with the watercress soup which was not only a mesmerizing shade of green but delicious. (I followed this with, if my memory serves me, some rare venison.)


Another view from Frédéric’s terrace…I love the faerie lights.

Thanks for reading.



Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio is a writer and New Yorker. He has been reporting for ASVOF since 2005 and currently works at The Museum of Modern Art as the Content Manager for MoMA Design Store.