This is my last Paris Photo Diary! After getting behind last week, I contemplated leaving things at #3. However, I couldn’t leave out a few notes on shopping and miss posting some of my final favorite shots.
It’s wonderful to travel without making consumerism the focus of your trip. I definitely see the value in that. But it you don’t do some shopping while you are in Paris, you’re really missing out on what the city has to offer. Here are my three favorite shopping destinations from the trip:
I’m a sucker for a good concept store. I love any place that can equip every area of my life, under the umbrella of the same carefully considered aesthetic. Merci does this better than just about any store. If you are a design lover, it’s a must. There’s cool home goods galore, with enamel spatterware, a wall of mix-n-match industrial light fixtures, a whole spectrum of beautiful linen items, and a stationery alcove that will make you lose all sense of time. The clothing is great, but too expensive for my current budget, we stuck to some easily packed home items, notebooks and pens. You may have seen photos of the little car outside of Merci’s entrance. It’s a selfie magnet, but I don’t blame folks. It is the perfect photo-op.
Merci also has two places to sit and take a load off in between shopping, always a plus. We spent a good deal of time at the Used Books Cafe in the from the building.
Le BHV Marais
I did not expect that a department store would make my list. I generally find them too overwhelming and their inventory needlessly gargantuan. But of course, department stores are better in Paris. Le BHV Marais has just about everything, but it does feels more modern than most department stores. I’d say 70% of their merchandise does not appeal to me, but 30% is still plenty in a place that big. We completely lost track of time, but we came away with a set of Laguiole steak knives (which I have always wanted), a glass rack for the bar cart, an attaché from the Men’s store and a pair of ballerina flats for me (So cliche, I know. But my feet were killing me), and shoe polish. We were practically giddy exploring the basement level, which is basically a very nice Home Depot with everything you can possible need to get your life together; paint, fixtures, every color of shoe polish ever invented. I almost bought some Liberty print party favors, for some imaginary party I was having in my head. I hope I don’t regret passing up those Liberty print paper plates any time soon.
Marché aux Puces Saint-Ouen (Saint-Ouen Flea Market)
Who doesn’t love a flea market? Well, this is the huge flea market right outside of Paris. However, to call it a flea market seems a little misleading to me. I think it can more accurately be described as an open air antique market. The variety, ranging from nineteenth century French antiques to Mid-century modern furniture, is incredible. It’s one part: shopping, one part: an education in the decorative arts. You won’t find a steal here. The sellers know the value of their merchandise and things are priced accordingly, but there is a little room to haggle. Go early and make a day of it. We arrived in the afternoon and could have used a little more time to make decisions. I ended the day with a beautiful vintage West African indigo fabric, but we do regret not scoring a vintage lithograph before the stalls shut down.