Autumn kicks off in Paris with the infamous trade show Maison et Objet. It is essentially a trade only event but many Parisians take the opportunity to browse the show for inspiration and ideas. This exhibition takes trade stand design to a whole new level with companies constructing entire buildings to showcase their new collections. We always exhibit at the show, a snap shot of our trade stand is above.
With homewares and interiors on our minds we decided to take some time out from the exhibition to explore Paris and discover some of the more quirky and interesting homeware boutiques. We started with Les Tresorerie, located as you may have guessed in the old treasury of Paris, just up from the Place de Republic. This refreshingly stylish store sells a mix of beautiful brands including Nkuku, no less.
The Old Treasury building itself provides an elegant backdrop with high ceilings and a stunning glass atrium lying at its centre. Just next door is the Les Tresorerie café, offering a selection of delicious pastries and breads. The tall windows allow you to gaze out into the street, across to a typically elegant, Parisian building complete with ornate iron work and pretty floral pots.
Walking around Paris is definitely one of the best ways to explore, but you can also hop on one their Velib bicycles to get about. Unfortunately there were too many tempting products purchased for a bicycle to be a possible mode of transport, so we continued on our homewares trail on foot.
Our next destination was Summer Camp, a wonderful boutique store filled with interesting homewares and gifts, from beautiful pure linen bedding handmade exclusively for Summer Camp to ceramics and decorative pieces. The founders are a husband and wife team who have a passion for design. The manager is a great source for ideas and his passion for the company is contagious.Altermundi. This colourful shop has a strong sense of design and fair trade principles. The mix is gift as well as homewares, and their eclectic offering is exciting and refreshing.
Following this ethical trail we headed to Storie, an enchanting boutique store filled with unusual and eclectic items from all around the world. The rich colours, textures and its Aladdin’s cave feel makes this an exciting destination and provides you with the opportunity to pick up something unique.
A trip to Paris would not be complete without visiting the concept store Merci. This fantastic store includes beautiful homewares, fashion, a café and restaurant. It’s easy to while away the hours just ambling around, taking in the atmosphere. Merci was founded in 2009 by Bernard and Marie France Cohen, founders of the label Bonpoint. The store not only provides a platform for young designers to showcase their work, but there is also a strong ethical background with all proceeds funding an endowment to pay for educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar.
If you can tear yourself away Merci, the Rue De Temple is well worth exploring. This beautiful Parisian street is full of independent boutiques and exciting new brands. The atmosphere is in some ways reminiscent of Williamsburg, New York, with that magical feeling that you might be about to discover something amazing. Glances down side streets reveal narrow alleyways, elegant houses and cafes. In particular the Florists create exceptionally beautiful displays, the oasis of greenery has quite an impact in the city.
The final homewares destination had to be Fleux. This impressive store is located on both sides of the street and stretches back across to buildings. The store is filled with well-designed products from the most impractical to the most purposeful.
The store is celebrating its ten year anniversary this year and you can see that years have been put to good use, as the premises is buzzing with shoppers all looking for inspiration and homewares with a difference.
After 16 miles worth of walking (yes we did count!) we took our tired feet to our hotel, tucked in a side street and with a final climb of six flights of stairs, we reached our room overlooking the rooftops of Paris….. heaven.