Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Six Places Not To Miss In Paris

The Design Quartier centred around Place Furstemberg in the 6th (pictured below). Not only is this square one of the most charming in Paris (and the subject of countless tourist photographs), it's also the centre of a great little design neighbourhood. There's three of the best fabric and homewares companies in the world here – Flamant, Pierre Frey and Manuel Canovas – plus a great gardening bookstore on Rue Jacob and Assouline's bookstore on Rue Bonaparte (a company known for great design titles and great interior design). The lovely Delacroix Museum is also here. (Don't miss his studio and garden). And when you need refreshment from design overload you can stop in Ladurée's ornate tea salon and shop for some of their fabulous interior design. And, okay, their macarons.

The northern part of the Marais (pictured below). The main part of the Marais has suffered from over-exposure in the last few years and has lost much of its character. The northern part, however (which is technically the 3rd arrondissement), is still full of charm and loveliness. There's Cafe Charlot on Rue de Bretagne, one of the most atmospheric and liveliest cafes in Paris (Such sexy clientele! What DO they put in the coffee?), the great furniture and vintage stores of Rue Charlot, the gorgeous, whimsically decorated Lacroix-designed Hotel du Petit Moulin, which was created fro an old boulangerie (pictured directly below) and the fabulous taxidermied exhibitions of the Hunting and Nature Museum (Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature), which are more intriguing than you'd think. 

The Musée Carnavalet (pictured below). Perhaps my favourite place in Paris. If you haven't yet been here, put in on The List. It's a museum that chronicles the history of Paris through fascinating architecture models, maps, images and replica interiors. The interior exhibitions are truly fascinating if you're into interior design. And there's an idyllic parterre garden behind it, which is perfect to have your picnic lunch in. Oh – and the museum is also free: what more incentive do you need?

Au Petit Fer a Cheval While you're idling around the Marais, drop by here for a coffee and a peek at Parisians at play. It's loved by locals, and you couldn't get a more quintessential Parisian cafe. The absinthe green colour is a classic Parisian green. You can't help but love it.

The new design department of Le Bon Marché department store (pictured below). You may come here for the architecture, the incredible interior design, the extraordinary ceiling detail or just the sublime fashion and style. But there's one thing you shouldn't miss in this, the world's first department store, and that's the new La Maison d'Edition department. Inspired by books and publishing, this sleek new section features the best new architecture and design titles, plus gorgeous journals, pens and stationery, great furniture and accessories, and lots of lovely things to furnish your Parisian-style salon with.

Catherine B (pictured below). If you want discount Chanel, Hermés and other classic French labels, don't go to Didier Ludot, who is so expensive that only Hollywood actresses and Arabian royalty can afford him. Go to Catherine B instead. Loved by Left Bank stylistas, Catherine B is a beautiful little boutique near the St Sulpice cathedral that stocks top-quality Chanel, Hermés and other luxury labels for very little. Last time I was here I found an almost-new black Chanel suit for so cheap, I was tempted to buy it! (I will go back and buy another one day.) The owner is a delight to deal with, and the stock is superb.

{More Paris posts in coming weeks}


  1. Many thanks for these great tips. Some are also among my own personal faves, eg the Rue Napoleon/Place Furstenberg area with all the antique and textile shops, the Musee Delacroix (a couple of year ago bought a fabulous Lacroix brooch in their little shop), Assouline and Laduree. It was also once the site of Madeleine de Castaing's shop/studio. Most of the major textile houses like Canovas will only sell wholesale but if you find something you want to buy, ask them for all the details and then go to Besson on Rue Napoleon and they will order it in for you, generally takes only a day or so if you're lucky. Also love Laduree and Assouline. The wonderful Australian skincare company Aesop has a great shop on the Rue Napoleon as well (though Aussies will probably prefer to wait till they get home as it's cheaper in Oz). Another interesting feature about the Rue Bonaparte for book lovers is that Nancy Mitford for a short time lived just around the corner on the Quai Malaquais and her lover Gaston Palewski (on whom she modelled Fabrice de Sauveterre) lived a few doors away in the Rue Napoleon (marked by a plaque - though didn't see anything there for Nancy herself). Also love the Marais and its wonderful museums, the Musee Carnavalet and the Musee Picasso in particular.

    Think we must have similar tastes because also love Le Bon Marche and their book department. When we're in Paris in June will try some of your other favourites: Au petit Fer a Cheval and Catherine B. So agree about Didier Ludot, it's so disappointing. Think they must hide all their best things for their Hollywood clients. Even if I had the kind of money you would need to buy something there, at the times I've visited there was nothing that even remotely tempted me.

  2. WoW! I've just came back from Paris and a new post about it.. L'epiceris du Bon Marchè is my favourite place!
    Have a nice day


Thank you for stopping by. It's always lovely hearing from The Library's readers.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...