Nicolas Gailledrat is a music lover. Between music and the lapping of the Parisian waters, he once found the perfect harmony and the rare houseboat.
Almost 20 years ago, he discovered a diamond in the rough: a houseboat dating from 1939. No need to worry about that! After a complete reconstruction he turned it into a luxurious and exceptional jewel. Today, the warm light of the old-fashioned lanterns, which illuminate the houseboat, made of exotic wood, is exactly what one imagines on board: a dreamlike crossing where one discovers a different Paris. During the 2-hour cruise, a timeless window seems to open on the oldest and most beautiful architectural treasures of the capital: the Louvre, the Conciergerie, the Palais Bourbon, the Musée d’Orsay, the Notre-Dame Cathedral… and their hidden faces. A real cabinet of curiosities. Take my word for it! When the houseboat passes in front of the Eiffel Tower, which is lit up with a thousand stars, whether you are American, Spanish, Japanese or Parisian, at that precise moment we are all dazzled by the magic of the lights. And surprised. Surprised to be not only a Parisian born in Paris but to be reborn there. Because you don’t know the capital until you’ve seen it from that angle: in the wonder of contemplating the City of Lights behind the scenes at night, as the water flows by.
And when a jazz recital is given once a month on the dock—filmed and recorded on the platform for fans, thank you Nicolas for being a musician too!—like those of Stéphane Grappelli, the gifted jazz violinist, it is like Woody Allen in Midnight in Paris. Every evening, the 25 people who make up the Calife team manage to concoct elaborate dishes and serve around 120 people, while ensuring a quality of service worthy of the best restaurants. Here, you don’t have just an evening out, but a journey—which you can also privatise!—with all that it entails before and after: the waiting, the amazement and the memories. Voltaire, one of our famous writers, whose memory and aura certainly still float along the Seine where he once resided, would surely whisper to me “and now, shhh!” “The secret of boring is to say everything”. And he would be right! So it’s up to you to discover the rest of your journey…
Port des Saints-Pères – 75006 Paris
+33 1 43 54 50 04 – www.calife.com
Photo © Studio Jeanpipol