Active Citizen #4 – Benoit Heraud
Active Citizens is a Journey City Guides series where we interview the people who participate in making their own city a vibrant and exciting place. With each new guide we ask questions to two personalities: an entrepreneur deeply rooted in its city and the owner of a business featured in our city guides.
Featured in our Paris guide, Persifleur is our cocktail bar of choice in Montmartre. We decided to interview its owner, Benoît Héraud, and hear what he has to say about his beloved hometown.
Before opening his bar, Benoît has worked in fashion and had experiences at high-end hotels and restaurants in London. He is a Frenchman at heart and has a deep love for his country and its wonders. Benoît is also a fan of classic cars and motorbikes and never misses an opportunity to go surfing or skiing.
Hi Benoit, could you tell us more about yourself?
Hello, I was born and raised in Paris, and I have been living there ever since I returned from London a few years ago.
I first left Paris for my studies. I went to Switzerland to the Glion Institute of Higher Education, one of the best Hospitality Management school. After that I moved to London and worked at Sketch, Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant and at The Landmark, a 5-star hotel. I learned what’s guiding me now, which is quality, rigor and discreet service and this helped me open my own bar years later.
I also started modeling while I was doing an internship at Hermès in Paris. A model did not show up and I was asked to fill in. It worked and I have been regularly working for Dior and other brands for the last four years. It is also through my agency, Bananas Model, that I met my girlfriend Pauline!
Tell us about your vision when opening Persifleur, and what led you to start this adventure?
I quickly realised I wanted to open my own company because I wanted to be my own boss. I particularly enjoyed my experiences in the hospitality industry so starting an adventure in that sector seemed obvious to me.
And to be honest a cocktail bar is perfect to combine work and pleasure! Friends come to get a drink and celebrate, it’s always fun.
Looking for an interesting space was not easy but I fell in love with this old bar in Montmartre which had been abandoned for 15 years. In the older days it was actually very popular with the pimps of Pigalle!
As for the cocktail list I wanted it strong and innovative from the beginning so I started looking for a great barman. I managed to convince Michael, who was working for The Forum one of the most acclaimed cocktail bars in Paris, to join me in this adventure. The rest is history 😉
Where do you live in Paris and what do you like about your neighborhood?
I grew up in the 8th and 17th districts, but I am currently living in the 7th district. It’s a new experience for me to cross the Seine! But I really like the quiet atmosphere of the neighbourhood and its local life such as the market on Rue Cler.
Montmartre is obviously my second home thanks to Persifleur. I really like this ‘village’ vibe,. Perched on its hill, this area kept the soul of the old Paris with its narrow cobbled streets and small houses.. Everybody knows each other, it really is a village.
Where do you go to escape the city for a weekend?
I mostly go to the countryside. To my parent’s place or I just enjoy going to a cute maison d’hôtes or hotel with my girlfriend and discover a particular region. I especially love La Bastide de Gordes in the Luberon.
I am an avid skier/snowboarder too so a couple of weekends in the mountains are mandatory!
What’s your favourite city to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Paris is my favourite city and I still feel very much like a tourist in my own town.
As for the next one I am planning to travel to, that’s a good question! Any advice?
3 bis rue Durantin, 75018 Paris
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm to 2am