I am not a big shopper but I do like discovering neat, funky places that are known for art, fashion, and lifestyle. Some call them concept stores and some might call what they carry toys or gadgets, but it’s much more than that. Consider the items in concept stores Colette and Merci more like trendy purchases where design is “King” (or “Queen”).
Concept Stores: Colette and Merci
When you are shopping in Paris, there are two stores that stand out as having really unique, beautifully designed items ranging from shoes to office supplies, Colette and Merci. News Flash: Sadly, it was just announced that after 20 years, the Colette boutique will be closing in December so be sure to get there before the “end”. It will be worth a visit. On Instagram, Colette wrote:
“Colette Roussaux arrive à l’âge où il est temps de prendre son temps ; or, Colette ne peut exister sans Colette.”
[Colette Rousseaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time; and Colette cannot exist without Colette.]
If it’s on the right bank, on rue Saint-Honoré, you know those who are fashionable and in-the-know are very familiar with this place! It’s forever crowded and uber-trendy. The Colette store was founded by Colette Rousseaux with her daughter, Sarah Andelman (current creative director). Look for two blue dots in front of the store. That’s part of their logo.
The Colette shop is fun to browse around and see the collection of electronics, coffee-table books, toys, clothes and gadgets. The first floor has most of the activity with customers looking at jewelry, smartphones, or playing with the newest watches. There are also t-shirts, shoes, hats (yes, the D. Trump-related sayings on them), and baby (and grown-up) toys. It is a cool store with cool items.
The second floor seems more like an haute couture department of a fashionable clothing store the way the mannequins and displays are arranged. The good news is that the prices are not out of this world.
Oliver Jeffers Exhibition
When I visited a number of months ago, there was the “Alphabet” exhibition within the store by Oliver Jeffers and some of the art and books were on display. Jeffers has paintings and drawings in the Brooklyn Museum and National Portrait Gallery of London.
His book, “Once Upon an Alphabet”, has been translated into 5 languages and was a New York Times bestseller. He’s also made art for the New York Times and TED Talks. [The owl, by the way was about 2 feet tall and was priced at 1400 Euros —-that’s about $2100 Canadian]. They were bright, cheery and fun….much like the store.
Colette: 213 rue Saint-Honoré
Metro: Tuileries or Pyramides
While I like the inside of Merci, I LOVE the outside of the store! Take a look at the courtyard and the cute red car in front! Then, when you walk in, you’re presented with a very high ceiling and tables displaying lamps, accessories, paper products such as notebooks, and toys.
There are many levels in the Merci store and it even has a used book store/cafe where I met a friend for coffee. We got there just before it got crowded…..and it can get very crowded quickly as the cafe serves lunch and snacks. My café au lait was nice and big and perfectly made.
It’s hard to say that particular floors are dedicated to certain types of items except for the basement, which has another café and kitchen supplies. Once again, the assortment is unique, colourful, and trendy.
The upstairs has clothing and shoes and the top level has home furnishings, linens, light fixtures, books and other knick-knacks. It’s fun just browsing and seeing items you might never see at home.
Merci: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais in the 3rd arr., Paris
Metro: Saint Sebastien Froissart
Can you recommend any “trendy” stores in Paris…or France that are like the concept stores Colette and Merci?