Paris | 2017

M A R I O N 

City  Paris
Age  41
Love life — Married, two children (12 and 15)
Profession — Gallery owner, Art project addict, Founder Gallery Weekend, Vice President of ‘Le Comité Professionnel des Galeries’
Years in Paris All her life
Location — Café Le Saint Gervais

T H E  P A R I S  S T O R I E S





  • What makes you really happy?
    “My work for the community which is crazy busy these days. I talk with the government about the position of gallery owners in our society. My mother is a gallery owner as well, so it’s interesting to see how this job has evolved over the past thirty years. I’ve always been this busy. Life to me means activity. A couple of years ago I bought a country house and when everything was done, I started organizing the Gallery Weekend. I had so much adrenaline in that first year, it was really, really crazy. When the project ended, I crashed. But not working enough makes me even crazier. I get annoyed when I cannot do everything I want. I need to have goals, successes and importance in my life. I know sometimes I do too much. But I’m in this position because I decided to be here. Right now it’s really crazy busy, because my husband is burnt out. I need to deal with his, so I can’t get burnt out myself now. I believe I stay strong because I analyze myself a lot. When I drive alone in my car, I have time to think: what’s going on, what are you doing, where are you going? I think that’s what keeps me straight.”
  • What is your best personality trait?
    “My diplomacy. I don’t like conflicts so I always try to make sure that at work we don’t get into one. I’m pretty good at keeping people happy. When I did get angry and started to yell in my former job, people knew that they had really pushed me, because everyone calls me the kindest person on earth. I have to admit that I get angry more quickly in my personal life. When I am home, I am done being diplomatic.”
  • What is your biggest struggle in life?
    “Too many haha. I had them in my teens, twenties, thirties… Right now I have so many struggles that I cannot focus on one. Yesterday I fell asleep and I saw myself thinking in my sleep. My mind is working too much. But at the moment my biggest struggle is my husband being burnt out. It’s touchy… In a way I also feel like everyday life is a struggle, that there is no beginning and no end. Raising kids and doing things right for them is a long-term struggle. When you think you have found a good solution, they have changed already. You have to adapt yourself all the time. But that counts for everything in life. Another struggle is that it’s not easy to live by my philosophy of life: I believe that I am in charge of my life and it’s not destined. I decide if I go right or left. I knew that already when I was twenty years old. I was working somewhere as a student and they offered me a job. But that felt too easy. Of course it comes with a lot of struggles when you don’t choose the easy way. So sometimes it feels like <makes a choke gesture>. On the other hand I feel like there are no struggles at all, because I am a really optimistic person.”

  • What is the biggest lesson life has taught you so far?
    “For a long time my mother was my role model and mentor. She lifted me up and took me higher. So I think the lesson is that when you feel that someone can lift you up, you have to take advantage of it. But I learned the biggest lesson from my father. He was really depressed and we had a hard relationship. I believe that I am so strong and tough because of that. I know that whatever happens, I can handle it. I can keep my positive attitude all the time. Just keep going and keep fighting.”
  • What is your biggest disappointment in life?
    “I would be disappointed if I cannot get my husband out of his current situation. You need to help the people you love. I couldn’t help my father more than I did. Of course I also had a few work disappointments, but when it gets personal…”
  • What do you think makes you different than other people?
    “I don’t know. Everyone is different. I am not trying to be different or not different. I don’t care anyway, it’s not important to me.
  • What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
    “Having kids. No actually giving birth! A woman needs to do that. If you don’t give birth, then you are missing something incredible! I had a lot of pain, but I loved it. I don’t want any more kids, but I wouldn’t mind giving birth again. For a few hours you are the most important person in the world. The hardest part is when you have to lead your kids through life and make them ready to fly out some day.”
  • What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
    “Take care of yourself. A lot of people told me that, because I don’t do it enough. When I was younger I was the one giving a lot of advice to people. I was a good listener. Now that I am getting older I give less advice. Maybe because I need advice myself. My friends say I never stop.
  • What advice would you give other women in Europe?
    “Give birth! Just kidding. It would be just try it! I don’t like it when people remain too comfortable. I hate it when they say that they cannot do it, that it’s not the best time to have kids or change their job and they stay in their comfort zone. I am really sick of those pessimistic people. I have so much trouble finding new employees for my husband’s company. They want to work, but not too much or too hard. Come on! We are living in the 21st century, everybody has to work. It makes me crazy when people stay home because it’s easier. A lot of young people are complaining that it is difficult to find a good job with enough money or responsibility. It’s never enough! If you want to have a good job, you will find one. But first try it. And then we’ll discuss it.”
  • What does Paris mean to you?
    “I was born in Paris, so for me Paris is the city of Paris. I hate it when people say that they live in Paris, when they live in the suburbs – that’s just not the same! Paris doesn’t feel like a big city, but like a lot of small villages together. That’s why I’d rather say I live in the neighborhood Le Marais. I don’t care as much about Paris as I used to. For twelve years now I go to the countryside on the weekends. I need it for balance. If you would have told me that fifteen years ago, I would have told you that you were very funny. When I lived abroad I really felt my love for Paris. I was missing the cafés, the outside life, the buildings, the small streets. Now Paris has changed: new cafés and restaurants have a New York style instead of the typical Parisian brasserie style. It’s ok, but I feel that the ambiance in the cafés is getting less personal. For ten years now every morning I have my coffee in Café Le Saint Gervais with a friend. We see each other for twenty minutes and talk about the good and bad things and have a look at our horoscope in Le Parisien. This morning I wasn’t there, so she texted it to me. I’m a Saggitarius and we use to joke that the astrologists stepmother must be a Saggitarius, because she is always mean about that sign haha!”

Photos by Hélène Koch


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