I had the amazing opportunity to go to Paris for a week and spent the whole time walking, looking, ooing, ahhing and most of all eating! But that’s for another type of blog. Here, I want to show you a few of my favorite moments that have an element of design. As you can imagine, it’s very hard to narrow down the images but I will do my best. As infamous street fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham says, “you go to Paris to re-educate the eye”, and that is really what it’s all about. While some shopping is a fun thing, I think that the most valuable gift I get from travel is a shift in perspective. I need to visit other places to see what other people are doing and wearing, to soak up art that I can’t see anywhere else, to find treasures big or small and to let myself open-up. While I love Toronto, too much of the same thing can feel like a tight little box sometimes. So! Escape is essential and escape I did.
Word to the wise about traveling to Paris in August: the weather is sublime, the people are happy and there is an atmosphere of summertime fun everywhere BUT there are also lots of tourists and many (many, many) of the home-design shops are closed. With September comes slightly cooler temps and the big Maison and Object design fair, so if I did it again I would opt for after labour day.
I’ll start with the first thing that I saw in Paris: the adorable flat that my friend and I rented in Montmartre. It was a fifth floor walk-up (fun on the first day- not so much after day five) with a gorgeous view over the Parisian rooftops and a rustic/chic Parisian decor. Things to note: herringbone floors, huge mirror above the mantle, industrial mixed with antiques and art everywhere. Oh and the view of course!! The next noteworthy place would surely be my favorite fashion/design store, Merci. This multi-story boutique is a MUST for anyone interested in home decor trends and fresh ideas. The style is laid-back and unpretentious and looks as though it has been thrown together over time. There are mismatched chairs, signs of wear and tear and inventive chandeliers or pendants with everything. While they certainly aren’t re-inventing the wheel, I was impressed by a varitety of chic finds like great table and chair options, big lush linen sofas (wrinkles be damned!), great table top and lots of hip lighting. Here are a few faves:
Next I will take you to one of Paris’ most famous flea markets, Clignancourt, where you can find everything from 1920s fashion magazines to oil paintings to antique daybeds to buttons and ribbon. It’s a decorator’s dream come true and I found myself overflowing with joy many times. While some vendors yelled “no photos!” and chased me away, I did manage to get a few shots. There are things there that I have never, ever seen anywhere else and I couldn’t help but wish I could work in Paris! Oh the things I could do….
The other super inspiring store that I found was (gasp) one of the big department stores of Paris called Bon Marche. What a well curated space! The home floor was elegant with an incredible flow of movement from department to department and a large selection of the most important things like table linens, lighting and furniture. I was very, very impressed with the quality being offered here and bolstered by the sophisticated tastes of the Parisian shopper!
I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least a few of the gorgeous ornamental details that I found at Versailles. As much as I love the laid-back chic of the contemporary stores, and the slightly worn antiques from the flea market, I also adore gold gilt and rococco details. Who wouldn’t? Any well-rounded look at Paris includes both so feast your eyes!
That’s all for my little tour. There is just so much to see and do in Paris that I barely sat down for five minutes- unless it was to eat several croissants at a time over coffee in the morning or sip a glass of rose while admiring the view in the afternoon. I’ll miss it and look forward to next time. Thanks for joining me!