Enjoy the Finnish hospitality in… Paris! – Meanderings through France n° 106
By Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
A polar wind blows in Paris since 25 January 2017. But paradoxically it can warm you up by making you share the Finnish way of life in an unexpected B&B. For 100 nights, until May 5th, six small traditional Finnish chalets will be homes for tourists looking for an unusual accommodation. This event is part of a wider project celebrating the first centenary of Finland’s independence. Called Mobile Home 2017 it gathers several events in European cities (London, Berlin, Brussels, Helsinki and Paris) that will all join in August in Helsinki in the highlights of the festivities.
Finland achieved independence on December the 6th 1917 along with the other Baltic States during the turmoil of the Russian revolution. It had been an autonomous grand duchy under Russian rule since 1809, after being part of Sweden for centuries. So Finland is a young state and is happy and proud to celebrate its centenary with its European fellow countries, the watchword of the festivities being “Together”. Finland is mainly known for its huge forests, its thousands lakes, its countless islands, its northern lights and its air quality (one of the cleanest of the world), but beyond all these Mobile Home 2017 intends to make us discover the Finnish traditions and people.
Thus in Paris you will be able to experience one, two or three nights in a spruce timber “aitta,” the traditional small chalet built especially for friends and guests by Finnish hosts. They have been created by Linda Bergroth who was awarded “best young Finnish designer” in 2012. Set in the heart of the Quartier Latin on the left bank of the Seine, the Finnish Cultural Institute shelters these six little houses in its vast main hall. Concerts, art exhibitions, literary and culinary encounters take place all year round here and it also can be your smart address during your next stay in Paris.
Up to twelve guests can spend the night there in single, double or family aitta decorated by young and famous Finnish designers. Take off your shoes and put on exclusive slippers and dressing gowns created on the occasion by Lapuan Kankurit, meet travellers looking for quietness, simplicity, cocooning, and experience something special. In the morning a dawn-simulation alarm clock will slowly wake you up and you will be ready to seat at the long wooden table to share a typical Finnish breakfast with the others guests: black bread, yoghurt, wild berries, granola and coffee are served in ceramic crockery especially designed by Nathalie Lahdenmâki, another Finnish contemporary artist.
Even if you’re not staying there overnight, go to the Finnish cultural institute in Paris anyway. The “aitta” can be visited by tourists all day long and there will be many festive event celebrating Finland independence until the end of May. The “Instituutti” is the institute’s café, a big room flooded with light where, in a Scandinavian atmosphere, you can have a Finnish meal. Have a Kääretorttu, a jellyroll style cake, or a korvapuusti, a cinnamon flavoured cake and other sweet or savoury Finnish specialities.
If you wish to spend the night in an aitta in Paris you can book it on Airbnb.
More information about the Koti experience in Paris: http://kotisleepover.com/
More about Mobile Home 2017 in Europe: http://www.mobilehome2017.com/
Text © Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
Photos: Courtesy of Finnish Institute of Paris