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TT Vol. 115
La Samaritaine, Bon Marché, Charlotte Chesnais & Marais
Clockwise from Top.
I was in Paris this week for work. While I was in and out of showrooms pretty much the entire time, I did have some time to sneak out for some comp shopping and see some new places and some old favorites! But three days there was perfect, it’s great to be back home with the family.
Our hotel was right around the corner from La Samaritane, the iconic restored department store that LVMH painstakingly refurbished and re-opened last year. The interior is absolutely beautiful - so beautiful that they almost wouldn’t let me in, as I came straight off the plane. But as soon as I started speaking English they rolled out the red carpet.
It was the most Christmas-y part of the entire trip. Le Bon Marché did not have much holiday spirit, but La Samaritaine was full of advent calendars, ornaments and sparking lights. And, it was quite full, contrary to what I had been hearing.
Bon Marché is one of the bigger department stores in Paris, located across the river from where we were staying. I decided to rent a Velib bicycle to get down there, which was perhaps a mistake. Not only did I have no idea where I was going, and had to constantly stop and look at a map, it was quite challenging to actually rent one in the first place.
Once I was actually there, their iconic escalators brought back memories of Raquel and my first visit. The Women’s shoe floor was impressive as always. We do have our own shop in shop there, which looked quite amazing. The Men’s floor, located in the basement, could use some freshening up. It’s aimed at an older suiting client, but I think they could change their buy to focus on someone younger and more adventurous, like the women’s client there.
Before leaving, I had to stop into Charlotte Chesnais’ shop in the First to buy Raquel a Hurly Burly ring. She has been eyeing this since we saw it at Opening Ceremony’s tiny Nomad shop probably 6 or 7 years ago. The exchange rate is absolutely amazing for Americans right now, and with our VAT refund, it’s almost half off.
And yet - I forgot to bring a ring of hers to help figure out what size to buy! With a little luck, an aggressive sales assistant and their digital size guide, I was able to make an educated guess. And confirmed that it does indeed fit perfectly!
Usually Raquel and I stay in the Marais, but since our hotel was in the First, I made sure to make a special trip to see what was going on our favorite neighborhood.
I was very sad to see that the excellent cafe at The Broken Arm had closed down, and turned into a home shop/gift shop/art store. Times are tough, and in speaking with the team there, it sounds like they were struggling during COVID. The shop itself seemed a little empty - perhaps because we are going into sale soon, or maybe it’s just a challenging time to be an independent concept store. But their window display was great as usual - they are featuring Raf Simons accessories right now, including his kissing skeleton jewelry brooch.
Dover Street Little Market, their new outpost on Rue des Francs Bourgeois, and right around the corner from the best duck in Paris at Camille, is a lot of retail space for not a lot of product. It looks mostly like an art gallery, and only has CDG-affiliated brands in it, unlike some of the larger DSM’s in New York, London or Los Angeles. I can’t imagine it’s doing that much business for them, but does provide a nice event space for them in Paris.
Chris & Raquel
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