Have you seen it yet? On the corner of rue Beaubourg and rue de Montmorency, l’Inaperçu feels at home in the Marais neighborhood. It’s a unique venue where you can savor a raspberry Pavlova while leafing through the latest Cindy Sherman book.
Jean-Yves Huang, l’Inaperçu’s founder, set himself the challenge of combining culture and photography. It all began with an article in The PhotoBook Review by photography historian Clément Chéroux, dedicated to the “photobook phenomenon.” “When I read the article, I realized that photobooks were not photo albums, but small works of art. It was a revelation,” explains Huang. Initially interested in contemporary art, he then discovered the world of photography, and in particular the photobook. After years of work, l’Inaperçu was born.
Will you have some photography with that?
As soon as you walk through the door, it’s like you’re in the literary Paris of the quays of the Seine. Photobooks take up pride of place in the stalls, and a real newsstand features a curated selection of the day. The décor is all celadon blue, the signature color of the place. On the café side, we plunge into vernacular photography of the 1960s. The space is cleverly laid out. The restrooms reproduce the atmosphere of a darkroom, with their red lighting and the photographic bath.
The menu offers original creations that foreground vegetables without being vegetarian: cream of pea soup, red cabbage pickles, smoked duck breast… Each dish is a true work of art: a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
Carte blanche to photographers
Rare and out-of-print works, collector’s boxes, signed photographic prints… the selection at l’Inaperçu is unprecedented in Paris. The venue adopts a curatorial model, drawing on the French tradition of art photography, publishing houses, and galleries. The latest selection was curated by the photographer Valérie Belin, who handpicked some 60 books celebrating women photographers, including Annie Leibovitz, Sarah Moon, Sabine Weiss, and Tina Barney. Offering carte blanche to the guest photographer, the space is all about idiosyncratic choices. “The more radical the selection, the better,” announces Huang.
Half-bookshop, half-art gallery, l’Inaperçu also hosts cultural events. On April 27, Louis Vuitton held the launch of their latest photography book, Fashion Eye Texas by Sean Thomas. The book is displayed alongside a meticulously picked array of covers, where quality triumphs over quantity. Huang proudly reminds us: “Above all, I’m a collector.”
L’inaperçu, 65 Rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris. Bookshop open Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm to 7pm. Café and restaurant open Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm to 10.30pm.