A tiny red car with a number plate that reads Merci is what you will first encounter as you slip down the otherwise nondescript cobbled lane-way and enter the courtyard of a concept store that oozes style and ambiance.
Tucked away off Boulevard Beaumarchais in the high Marais district is Merci, the hip concept store.
Resisting seduction after entering this lofty former warehouse is pointless.
Vast raftered ceilings with skylights allowing the open space to be filled with natural light, the rustic charm of creaking timber floorboards, a choice of three cafés and then, there is the shopping.
Spread out over three floors and in every nook and cranny, there is plenty to discover.
The large first floor area includes home-wares, furniture, fashion, light fittings, linen, cushions and whatever the latest cool thing Merci has sourced, all presented with design and flair.
The basement is dedicated to all things outdoors. Here you will find picnic supplies, outdoor entertaining objects and gardening items.
In keeping with the theme, the casual ground floor café, Merci Canteen opens up onto a small garden and serves up crisp salads and healthy fruit juices.
The ground floor and main foyer is where you can feed that underlying stationery fetish and the bookworm within and get your life sorted with nifty storage solutions.
If you feel like lingering a little longer you might want to grab some breakfast, lunch or a coffee while you flick through one of the 10,000 second-hand books that line the entire wall of the cosy café also situated on this level.
There is more to Merci, than just a wonderful shopping experience.
The founders, Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, wanted to create a space combining good quality fashion, design and home wares, together with somewhere to have a break.
They not only wanted to give young, up and coming designers an outlet and an opportunity but also wanted to set up a philanthropic enterprise where they could donate profits to assist educational development in south-west Madagascar.
Their generosity is now paying off. They have since donated, through their Merci Endowment Fund, over 130,000 euros to build schools and educate 900 students in Ankilimivony, Ankilibory and Ambola.
So, if you are feeling a little guilty about splurging in Merci…
Remember that 900 children in Madagascar are saying Merci to you.
A few years back I couldn’t resist a dusty pink and deliciously soft, silk scarf from Merci, which at the time was a little more than my budget allowed but it is still as good as the day I bought it and now, each year, it not only returns with me to Paris but serves as a practical and warm souvenir of the City of Light, merci Merci.
If you have found this information useful, say Merci by leaving a comment or follow me on facebook for daily photos, tips and anecdotes – Thank you, or should I say … Merci!
Discover more shopping, cafés and restaurants in Paris :
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