Girl Talk with Yasmine Tarasewicz
Tue 15 Dec 2009
Yasmine Tarasewicz has been described to me, by a friend who knows her well, as the quintessential chic Parisian woman—plus, she’s a high-powered attorney and partner at Proskauer in Paris. Oh, and did I mention that her two homes have been profiled in decor magazines? One home is in Paris, the other on the Île de Ré, the Hamptons of France. She is charming, smart, has spectacular taste and is killer in the courtroom. We are terribly impressed.
How long have you been a labor lawyer, and what led you into the field? What has been your most interesting case to date?
I have been a labor lawyer for more than 20 years now (but of course I started very young!) and chose this area of law because it deals with the human component. I have been working on three very difficult cases related to suicides of managers from Renault: the families contend that working conditions and a high level of stress were responsible for their deaths. Finding the right tone in court to respect the families’ pain but to explain that the company was not responsible for the death was one of the most challenging exercises I have ever done. In addition, we had the honor of TV and press presence, which was not making it the easiest case.
When do you find Paris friendliest and most lovable?
No doubt in early spring when the days start to become longer, the temperature higher. The Parisians go back outside to drink a coffee on the terrasses with something shining in their eyes.
In your everyday life in Paris, what do you enjoy most? How do you unwind and relax?
Walking from my apartment to the office—five minutes of pure window shopping, as I live at the corner of rue d’Anjou and Faubourg St. Honoré and work at the corner of rue Cambon . . . from Roger Vivier to Chanel! I am a member of the Payot Spa and go there almost every day for a swim or other cardio training activity. I am also addicted to the massages at Anne Fontaine’s shop on the rue St. Honoré (ask for Soraya). And then when the pressure gets too high we escape to our second house in Île de Ré.
What is your favorite area in Paris and why?
I am a right bank person . . . everything between l’Elysée and Palais Royal. Don’t ask me why, but it’s the most charming place for me, and you can do everything by walking.
For you, what things make up “a perfect Parisian day”?
A (long) walk from home to Le Bon Marché through Le Jardin des Tuileries, past the Musée d’Orsay, down the boulevard St.-Germain, over to the rue du Bac—doing some shopping there, especially in La Grande Épicerie for gourmet groceries. A quick lunch at Le Ruc (especially during Fashion Week or Paris Photo . . . everyone who counts is there, more or less!), a good exhibition at BNF, which is now a center for photo exhibitions, a drink at the Ritz. Dinner at home with some friends and maybe then a good rock concert at the Olympia.
What is your favorite place in Paris for culture?
I have always loved the Musée d’Orsay, even when it was not a museum but an ugly dark big thing in the middle of Paris. My other favorite is Les Jardins du Palais Royal.
Which store would you hate to live without?
Le BHV, for its do-it-yourself floor. I am fond of decoration and could spend easily a whole day there.
What cafés or hangouts are special to you?
I love the terrasse at Café de Marly on a summer night.
Do you have a favorite recipe you can share with us?
You’d better ask our cook—she did a wonderful pot-au-feu for eight on Saturday!
As a parent, what in Paris do you most like to share with your children?
I am a stepmother of two teenagers, and what I like most is sharing Sunday lunch on the terrasse at Georges on the top of Beaubourg.
Do you have a favorite saying?
I am a believer in “Carpe diem.”
In your apartment, which item do you treasure the most?
A bunch of rock-and-roll photos, especially a diptych of Keith Richards and Mick by Mark Seliger.
If a woman visiting Paris asked you to name one thing she must see, what would you say?
La place de la Concorde empty on a Sunday morning.
If Paris were a song, a movie, a painting or a work of art, it would be . . . what?
À bout de souffle, by Jean-Luc Godard, and also the song by Jeanne Moreau in Jules et Jim: “J’ai la mémoire qui flanche.”