Paris

Unlocking Paris with… Maheva


Swiss by birth, but Parisian by adoption, super talented fashion designer Maheva Ambresin has lived in Paris for 10 years and counting – working her sartorial magic at a selection of stylish French ready-to-wear brands and rubbing shoulders with the cool kids along the way. We caught up with the SoPi resident and gal about town at brand new boat Playtime for the first in our new series where we ask locals for their insider tips on what to do in the capital. Here’s what Maheva told us between dips in the pool and sips of Lillet on ice.



Where’s the best place in Paris for an al fresco drink?
Paris is known for its terraces but rather than being roadside or riverside, we all want a bit of greenery, a rooftop and some sun, so I’m afraid I’m going to say Le Perchoir, as, even if – victim of its own success – there are long waiting times and a slightly irritating clientele, the two Perchoir addresses remain the most beautiful terraces in Paris. I particularly enjoy sipping on a mojito granita and lying back on a sofa with my head in the clouds of Paris.


What are your favourite places for an off-the-cuff kind of an evening?
Unplanned evenings tend to happen after work, so I’ll head towards rue Saint-Anne, stopping by the Chez Moi boutique where Jean-Baptiste lives. You’re always welcome here to chat about future projects, to flick through books and admire the latest curiosities in store. Then Kunitoraya 2 is just a couple of minutes away and I can never resist dinner here – the waiters are too cute with their 100% Japanese shyness and the prawn tempura is incredible.

Concept Store Chez Moi
Most romantic place for a date?
Definitely Buvette. Try to nab the two places at the counter in the corner to the right of the entrance. The high stools allow for a bit of sexy leg flashing, the soft lighting hides all kinds of sins if your skin isn’t looking its best, and it’s all about small-sized sharing plates so you don’t look like a pig, and you can play with each other’s forks. Oh, and CHOCOLATE MOUSSE.

Chocolate Mousse at Buvette
Where is your favourite place in Paris to hole up when it rains?  
In my bed in a man’s arms. Or, for an easier option, L’Avant Comptoir   even if it’s standing room only, you’ll want to stay to sample the dozens of tapas-sized dishes, washed down with sparkling rosé. If Yves Camdeborde wants to adopt me, I promise that I’ll never miss a family dinner ever again.

Wine and tapas-sized bites at l’Avant Comptoir
What’s your favourite local hangout?
I’m going to give you two as I love my hood and it’s too difficult to choose. So the first – and, sorry, but it’s not at all glamorous – is Le PaprikaI go for one thing and one thing only: the owner is Hungarian and serves his grandmother’s goulash – and even 10 minutes before closing time he’ll serve you, eyes full of pride to be continuing the family tradition. And the second is Caillebotte – oh go on, and the third is le Pantruche. I call them regularly begging for a table because it’s always fully booked. Both are lovely places, with friendly staff, delicious food and unbeatable prices.


Pink Grapefruit with Tarragon Ice-Cream at Caillebotte
Thanks, Maheva! We look forward to dinner at Pantruche with you soon (if you can can get us a table that is… Otherwise we’ll settle for late night goulash). Stay tuned for the next in the series of insider tips with another local unlocking Paris for us. 

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Unlocking Paris with… Maheva


Swiss by birth, but Parisian by adoption, super talented fashion designer Maheva Ambresin has lived in Paris for 10 years and counting – working her sartorial magic at a selection of stylish French ready-to-wear brands and rubbing shoulders with the cool kids along the way. We caught up with the SoPi resident and gal about town at brand new boat Playtime for the first in our new series where we ask locals for their insider tips on what to do in the capital. Here’s what Maheva told us between dips in the pool and sips of Lillet on ice.



Where’s the best place in Paris for an al fresco drink?
Paris is known for its terraces but rather than being roadside or riverside, we all want a bit of greenery, a rooftop and some sun, so I’m afraid I’m going to say Le Perchoir, as, even if – victim of its own success – there are long waiting times and a slightly irritating clientele, the two Perchoir addresses remain the most beautiful terraces in Paris. I particularly enjoy sipping on a mojito granita and lying back on a sofa with my head in the clouds of Paris.


What are your favourite places for an off-the-cuff kind of an evening?
Unplanned evenings tend to happen after work, so I’ll head towards rue Saint-Anne, stopping by the Chez Moi boutique where Jean-Baptiste lives. You’re always welcome here to chat about future projects, to flick through books and admire the latest curiosities in store. Then Kunitoraya 2 is just a couple of minutes away and I can never resist dinner here – the waiters are too cute with their 100% Japanese shyness and the prawn tempura is incredible.

Concept Store Chez Moi
Most romantic place for a date?
Definitely Buvette. Try to nab the two places at the counter in the corner to the right of the entrance. The high stools allow for a bit of sexy leg flashing, the soft lighting hides all kinds of sins if your skin isn’t looking its best, and it’s all about small-sized sharing plates so you don’t look like a pig, and you can play with each other’s forks. Oh, and CHOCOLATE MOUSSE.

Chocolate Mousse at Buvette
Where is your favourite place in Paris to hole up when it rains?  
In my bed in a man’s arms. Or, for an easier option, L’Avant Comptoir   even if it’s standing room only, you’ll want to stay to sample the dozens of tapas-sized dishes, washed down with sparkling rosé. If Yves Camdeborde wants to adopt me, I promise that I’ll never miss a family dinner ever again.

Wine and tapas-sized bites at l’Avant Comptoir
What’s your favourite local hangout?
I’m going to give you two as I love my hood and it’s too difficult to choose. So the first – and, sorry, but it’s not at all glamorous – is Le PaprikaI go for one thing and one thing only: the owner is Hungarian and serves his grandmother’s goulash – and even 10 minutes before closing time he’ll serve you, eyes full of pride to be continuing the family tradition. And the second is Caillebotte – oh go on, and the third is le Pantruche. I call them regularly begging for a table because it’s always fully booked. Both are lovely places, with friendly staff, delicious food and unbeatable prices.


Pink Grapefruit with Tarragon Ice-Cream at Caillebotte
Thanks, Maheva! We look forward to dinner at Pantruche with you soon (if you can can get us a table that is… Otherwise we’ll settle for late night goulash). Stay tuned for the next in the series of insider tips with another local unlocking Paris for us. 

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La Table d’Eugène

We’ve been harping on about how the Northern side of Paris’ 18th arrondissement is up-and-coming for a while now, singing the praises of Scandiwegian furniture shop Maison Nordik, Venezuelan areperia Bululu and hipster burger joint Le Ruisseau, to name just a few – and with the Unlock Paris HQ in this part of town, and most of our meetings held at the charming Cafe Lomi, it’s an area we very much know and love. So imagine our excitement last Friday evening when we saw none other than the President of the Republic, François Hollande himself, dining at the gastronomic jewel in the crown of this neighbourhood: La Table d’Eugène. Proof that not only is this part of the 18th becoming hipsterfied – it’s positively in the process of being gentrified.

Helmed by head chef Geoffrey Maillard and his sous-chef François Vaudeschamps – who have previously worked at Le Bristol, Le Plaza Athenée, Alain Senderens and Taillevent between them – the discreet Table d’Eugène has been drawing connoisseurs to rue Eugène Sue for the last five years since it opened (and is, as such, perhaps a trail-blazer for having set up in this part of town). Last September it unveiled its new decor – muted tones of beige, grey and oak – behind curtained windows cocooning patrons in its small, subtly luxurious dining room, where service is slick and the food takes centre stage. The menu is seasonal – changing every ten days – with high-quality individual ingredients sourced from small-scale producers being honored in each dish. Fixed-price dinner menus range between €55 and €99 and may feature dishes such as sea bream tartare with yuzu and daikon, or veal with truffle mashed potatoes, caramelised shallots and panfried chanterelle mushrooms, all beautifully presented and punctuated by amuses-bouches, palette cleansers and pre-desserts, and paired with wines from their superlative selection (the Pattes Loup Chablis, €48, goes down a treat). Weekday lunches are at the reasonable price of just €25 for starter+main or main+dessert, and, if you can’t get a table here (book a week or so in advance) there is also a wine bar and tapas annexe, La Rallonge, just a couple of doors up, if you’re looking for something more casual but still high-quality in the neighbourhood (and don’t perhaps fancy rubbing shoulders with Mr Hollande). 

La Table d’Eugène
18 rue Eugène Sue, 75018 Paris
01 42 55 61 64
www.latabledeugene.com

and for our little paparazzi moment….
François Hollande leaving La Table d’Eugène after dinner
all photos copyright Kim Laidlaw / Unlock Paris
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La Table d’Eugène

We’ve been harping on about how the Northern side of Paris’ 18th arrondissement is up-and-coming for a while now, singing the praises of Scandiwegian furniture shop Maison Nordik, Venezuelan areperia Bululu and hipster burger joint Le Ruisseau, to name just a few – and with the Unlock Paris HQ in this part of town, and most of our meetings held at the charming Cafe Lomi, it’s an area we very much know and love. So imagine our excitement last Friday evening when we saw none other than the President of the Republic, François Hollande himself, dining at the gastronomic jewel in the crown of this neighbourhood: La Table d’Eugène. Proof that not only is this part of the 18th becoming hipsterfied – it’s positively in the process of being gentrified.

Helmed by head chef Geoffrey Maillard and his sous-chef François Vaudeschamps – who have previously worked at Le Bristol, Le Plaza Athenée, Alain Senderens and Taillevent between them – the discreet Table d’Eugène has been drawing connoisseurs to rue Eugène Sue for the last five years since it opened (and is, as such, perhaps a trail-blazer for having set up in this part of town). Last September it unveiled its new decor – muted tones of beige, grey and oak – behind curtained windows cocooning patrons in its small, subtly luxurious dining room, where service is slick and the food takes centre stage. The menu is seasonal – changing every ten days – with high-quality individual ingredients sourced from small-scale producers being honored in each dish. Fixed-price dinner menus range between €55 and €99 and may feature dishes such as sea bream tartare with yuzu and daikon, or veal with truffle mashed potatoes, caramelised shallots and panfried chanterelle mushrooms, all beautifully presented and punctuated by amuses-bouches, palette cleansers and pre-desserts, and paired with wines from their superlative selection (the Pattes Loup Chablis, €48, goes down a treat). Weekday lunches are at the reasonable price of just €25 for starter+main or main+dessert, and, if you can’t get a table here (book a week or so in advance) there is also a wine bar and tapas annexe, La Rallonge, just a couple of doors up, if you’re looking for something more casual but still high-quality in the neighbourhood (and don’t perhaps fancy rubbing shoulders with Mr Hollande). 

La Table d’Eugène
18 rue Eugène Sue, 75018 Paris
01 42 55 61 64
www.latabledeugene.com

and for our little paparazzi moment….
François Hollande leaving La Table d’Eugène after dinner
all photos copyright Kim Laidlaw / Unlock Paris
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Bululu Arepera Montmartre

Our radar is telling us that the “other” side of Montmartre – down the hill from the prime tourist photo-op territory of the Sacre Coeur –  is bubbling under as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Paris right now. We’ve already told you about burger bar Le Ruisseau, which is drawing local hipsters out of the woodwork, and trendy mid-century modern furniture shop Maison Nordik (check out our full round up in our piece The Other Side of Montmartre), and the area is continuing to build a solid empire of interesting, independent establishments, making this part of town a destination in and of itself. One of the area’s top draws is  charmingly ramshackle Venezuelan sandwich joint Bululu – the only Arepera in Paris. In the small space, with chipboard tables and recycled tin cans as cutlery holders , a team of pretty girls with flowery headscarves in their hair explain the Venzuelan sandwiches on offer: made from freshly baked, golden, gluten-free bread, arepas are a filled with various key ingredients such as avocado, tajada (plantain), black beans, cheese and beef. Also on offer are fried plantain chips, and deliciously simple Obleas for pudding – wafer sandwiches filled with sweet Dulce de Leche – and there are a range of juices, beers and lemonades to wash it all down with. Open for lunch and supper, and brunch on weekends. 


Bululu, 
20 rue de la Fontaine du But, 
75018 Paris
Open Weds-Fri: 12-2.30; 7.30-11pm
Sat-Sun: 12-11.30pm

all photos copyright Kim Laidlaw / Unlock Paris
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Bululu Arepera Montmartre

Our radar is telling us that the “other” side of Montmartre – down the hill from the prime tourist photo-op territory of the Sacre Coeur –  is bubbling under as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Paris right now. We’ve already told you about burger bar Le Ruisseau, which is drawing local hipsters out of the woodwork, and trendy mid-century modern furniture shop Maison Nordik (check out our full round up in our piece The Other Side of Montmartre), and the area is continuing to build a solid empire of interesting, independent establishments, making this part of town a destination in and of itself. One of the area’s top draws is  charmingly ramshackle Venezuelan sandwich joint Bululu – the only Arepera in Paris. In the small space, with chipboard tables and recycled tin cans as cutlery holders , a team of pretty girls with flowery headscarves in their hair explain the Venzuelan sandwiches on offer: made from freshly baked, golden, gluten-free bread, arepas are a filled with various key ingredients such as avocado, tajada (plantain), black beans, cheese and beef. Also on offer are fried plantain chips, and deliciously simple Obleas for pudding – wafer sandwiches filled with sweet Dulce de Leche – and there are a range of juices, beers and lemonades to wash it all down with. Open for lunch and supper, and brunch on weekends. 


Bululu, 
20 rue de la Fontaine du But, 
75018 Paris
Open Weds-Fri: 12-2.30; 7.30-11pm
Sat-Sun: 12-11.30pm

all photos copyright Kim Laidlaw / Unlock Paris
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Isakin

Freshly opened streetwear boutique Isakin, tucked away on a Montmartre street shared with the APC surplus store, is the brainchild of two superfly ex-record label execs, Alex and Thomas. Counting the likes of French rapstar Oxmo Puccino among their friends, the skateboarding, hip-hop-loving duo have drawn on their marketing and art direction expertise – as well as their solid network – to create this small gem of a shop, stocking a range of young labels mostly from France – many even from the 18th arrondissement itself. On the racks are cork-lined caps from up-and-coming brand CHMPGN – its name a vowel-less hommage to the fizzy wine region in which it was founded; threads from Paris label Poyz and Pirlz, set up by a collective of hip hop DJs; cheeky tees and caps from local label EyexCon (many of which are emblazoned with the word crapule, meaning scoundrel); and sweatshirts from neighbouring designers Paris Nord. Cult items have already emerged: Disney-style Sacre Coeur logo t-shirts, Belleville Hills sweatshirts and the shop’s own creation of tops with “Barbès parle Arabe” (meaning Barbès – the area around the corner from the boutique – speaks Arab). The shop exclusively stocks menswear but Alex explains that, following the success of many items with customers’ girlfriends, they are now putting an accent on how girls can style these male garments to look sharp, too. 
Isakin, 9 rue André del Sarte, Paris 75018

all photos © Kim Laidlaw
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Isakin

Freshly opened streetwear boutique Isakin, tucked away on a Montmartre street shared with the APC surplus store, is the brainchild of two superfly ex-record label execs, Alex and Thomas. Counting the likes of French rapstar Oxmo Puccino among their friends, the skateboarding, hip-hop-loving duo have drawn on their marketing and art direction expertise – as well as their solid network – to create this small gem of a shop, stocking a range of young labels mostly from France – many even from the 18th arrondissement itself. On the racks are cork-lined caps from up-and-coming brand CHMPGN – its name a vowel-less hommage to the fizzy wine region in which it was founded; threads from Paris label Poyz and Pirlz, set up by a collective of hip hop DJs; cheeky tees and caps from local label EyexCon (many of which are emblazoned with the word crapule, meaning scoundrel); and sweatshirts from neighbouring designers Paris Nord. Cult items have already emerged: Disney-style Sacre Coeur logo t-shirts, Belleville Hills sweatshirts and the shop’s own creation of tops with “Barbès parle Arabe” (meaning Barbès – the area around the corner from the boutique – speaks Arab). The shop exclusively stocks menswear but Alex explains that, following the success of many items with customers’ girlfriends, they are now putting an accent on how girls can style these male garments to look sharp, too. 
Isakin, 9 rue André del Sarte, Paris 75018

all photos © Kim Laidlaw
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Restaurant Caillebotte

The team behind much lauded South Pigalle restaurant Le Pantruche has reinforced its 9th arrondissement foothold with the opening of neo-bistro Caillebotte, just off the trendy rue des Martyrs. The light and airy space – featuring marble table tops, blond wood and an open kitchen – serves as a suitably bright and breezy setting for the refreshing cuisine on the seasonal menu: featured are starters such as smoked tuna with  mustard broccoli, seaweed biscuit and siphoned piccalilli (€11), mains such as plaice in burnt breadcrumbs, with cauliflower mousseline and parmesan broth (€21) and desserts such as pink grapefruit with tarragon ice-cream and white chocolate crunch, or chocolate mousse with corn crumble and black olives (€9). These innovative and carefully composed dishes are also available on the fixed-price menu (€35 for starter, main and dessert), and the incredibly affordable lunchtime menu featuring the dish of the day comes in at €19 for starter/main or main/dessert. A dynamic addition to the buzzing SoPi neighbourhood. 
Caillebotte 
8 rue Hippolyte-Lebas
75009 Paris
+33 1 53 20 88 70 
Open Mon-Fri, lunch and dinner

all photos © Kim Laidlaw 
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Restaurant Caillebotte

The team behind much lauded South Pigalle restaurant Le Pantruche has reinforced its 9th arrondissement foothold with the opening of neo-bistro Caillebotte, just off the trendy rue des Martyrs. The light and airy space – featuring marble table tops, blond wood and an open kitchen – serves as a suitably bright and breezy setting for the refreshing cuisine on the seasonal menu: featured are starters such as smoked tuna with  mustard broccoli, seaweed biscuit and siphoned piccalilli (€11), mains such as plaice in burnt breadcrumbs, with cauliflower mousseline and parmesan broth (€21) and desserts such as pink grapefruit with tarragon ice-cream and white chocolate crunch, or chocolate mousse with corn crumble and black olives (€9). These innovative and carefully composed dishes are also available on the fixed-price menu (€35 for starter, main and dessert), and the incredibly affordable lunchtime menu featuring the dish of the day comes in at €19 for starter/main or main/dessert. A dynamic addition to the buzzing SoPi neighbourhood. 
Caillebotte 
8 rue Hippolyte-Lebas
75009 Paris
+33 1 53 20 88 70 
Open Mon-Fri, lunch and dinner

all photos © Kim Laidlaw 
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Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Centre Pompidou


Henri Cartier-Bresson, Crowd waiting outside a bank to purchase
gold during the last days of the Kuomintang,
Shanghai, China, December 1948© Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos,
courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson, First paid holidays, banks of the Seine, France
1936. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos,
courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Paris’ Centre Pompidou presents an extraordinarily thorough retrospective of French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s oeuvre, with more than 500 works spanning the artist’s 70 year career. The chronological exhibition starts with the period in which Cartier-Bresson fraternised with the Surrealists and began his work as a photographer, followed by the era marked by his political engagement and his work for the Communist press, and leads on to his photo-reportage work and the creation of the Magnum Photos cooperative. Bringing together this wealth of work – which includes photographs, films, drawings and documents – the retrospective aims to show the many facets of Cartier-Bresson which, united by his eye for composition and ability to capture a singular moment, made him one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson, 12th February – 9th June 2014

Every day except Tuesday, 11am – 9pm. 

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Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Centre Pompidou


Henri Cartier-Bresson, Crowd waiting outside a bank to purchase
gold during the last days of the Kuomintang,
Shanghai, China, December 1948© Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos,
courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson, First paid holidays, banks of the Seine, France
1936. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos,
courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Paris’ Centre Pompidou presents an extraordinarily thorough retrospective of French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s oeuvre, with more than 500 works spanning the artist’s 70 year career. The chronological exhibition starts with the period in which Cartier-Bresson fraternised with the Surrealists and began his work as a photographer, followed by the era marked by his political engagement and his work for the Communist press, and leads on to his photo-reportage work and the creation of the Magnum Photos cooperative. Bringing together this wealth of work – which includes photographs, films, drawings and documents – the retrospective aims to show the many facets of Cartier-Bresson which, united by his eye for composition and ability to capture a singular moment, made him one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson, 12th February – 9th June 2014

Every day except Tuesday, 11am – 9pm. 

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Léngué – Japanese Tapas in the Latin Quarter

There has been something of a small-plate trend over the last couple of years in Paris, but the concept is neither new nor uniquely European. Trying out (and loving) new South Pigalle Japanese tapas joint Ito led us to rediscovering established Left Bank restaurant Lengué, which is also an Izakaya – a Japanese drinking specialist serving small sharing plates – with ex-Robuchon chef Katsutoshi Kondi heading up the kitchen. The intimate space with wooden ceiling beams and bare stone walls is on a little hidden-away street – an alley of calm between the tourist traps of the Latin Quarter. On the extensive menu are bite-sized delights such as sweetly succulent Dengaku aubergine fried in miso, light and fluffy omelette, finger-licking good sesame chicken wings, and sautéed squid with ginger (prices range from €5-12 per dish), to be washed down with Japanese beer, Nikka Whiskey, sake or plum wine, and to be rounded off with refreshing mochi icecream or matcha tiramisu. Be prepared to re-order several times throughout your meal as the dishes are so delicious it’s hard to resist trying more and you’ll surely become intrigued by whatever your neighbours are eating… Book ahead and come with a big appetite.

Lengué
31 rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris
Open Tues-Sat, 12-3pm; 7-11pm.
Tel: 01 46 33 75 10

Photos copyright Kim Laidlaw. All rights reserved.
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Léngué – Japanese Tapas in the Latin Quarter

There has been something of a small-plate trend over the last couple of years in Paris, but the concept is neither new nor uniquely European. Trying out (and loving) new South Pigalle Japanese tapas joint Ito led us to rediscovering established Left Bank restaurant Lengué, which is also an Izakaya – a Japanese drinking specialist serving small sharing plates – with ex-Robuchon chef Katsutoshi Kondi heading up the kitchen. The intimate space with wooden ceiling beams and bare stone walls is on a little hidden-away street – an alley of calm between the tourist traps of the Latin Quarter. On the extensive menu are bite-sized delights such as sweetly succulent Dengaku aubergine fried in miso, light and fluffy omelette, finger-licking good sesame chicken wings, and sautéed squid with ginger (prices range from €5-12 per dish), to be washed down with Japanese beer, Nikka Whiskey, sake or plum wine, and to be rounded off with refreshing mochi icecream or matcha tiramisu. Be prepared to re-order several times throughout your meal as the dishes are so delicious it’s hard to resist trying more and you’ll surely become intrigued by whatever your neighbours are eating… Book ahead and come with a big appetite.

Lengué
31 rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris
Open Tues-Sat, 12-3pm; 7-11pm.
Tel: 01 46 33 75 10

Photos copyright Kim Laidlaw. All rights reserved.
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