Ten hybrid shops in Paris
Carmen Ragosta has been running her quirky little boutique-restaurant on the popular Rue de la Grange aux Belles for over ten years. The clothing rails hang by the tables where shoppers can sample vegan Italian dishes (take note of the €20 brunch), and there's a workshop in the basement to complete the incongruous setup. Carmen trained in fashion design in Rome and worked in prêt-à-porter Paris boutiques before setting up on her own. She offers a full range across the seasons in wools, silks and cottons that are elegant yet sober, with occasional geometric structural flights of fancy.
Empreintes' massive, a 600 m2space is spread over four floors, housing a selection of cutlery and crockery, jewellery, furniture and general homeware. Founded by the ‘Ateliers d’art de France’, Empreintes has nearly 1000 pieces on display, ranging from €24 for porcelain salad spoons by Albedo ceramics to €9990 for Beatrice Loth’s iron and copper wire lobster sculpture. After you’ve given your bank manager a fright by buying that magnificent cloud-shaped lamp (essential), make your way to their café – Season – for a spot of Insta-perfect avocado toast.
A quirky and poetic universe awaits inside this boutique-gallery on Rue Deguerry. Sisters Emilie and Virginie Capman present a perfectly curated collection, including pieces from chic jewellery brand ‘C’est Bizarre Comme Toi’, pretty brushstroke illustrations by Léa Maupetit, and purses by Tapam Tapam, as well as décor pieces, accessories and stationery. The light-filled space is divided into two, one side dedicated to the boutique and the other to the gallery that displays the work of young artists (in February 2015, beaded canvases by Céline Bazin).
With a special focus on illustrated books – from comic books to graphic novels and children’s literature – La Regulière on the 18th arrondissement’s lively rue Myrha houses a plethora of treasures, mostly published independently. Their comprehensive, colourful selection includes French cartoonist Riad Sattouf, visual artist Catherine Meurisse and Liv Strömquists’s excellent comic – ‘L’Origine du monde’. Plus, prices are wallet-friendly, with cartoons from €3 and kids books from €4. Regulière also doubles up as a pretty cafe where you can munch biscuits, attend workshops, and admire the latest exhibitions.
The building is in fact a former public treasury (‘trésorerie’), and luckily this furniture and homeware store is also full of riches. The large space is bathed in light with a strong Scandinavian feel (there’s also an excellent Swedish café, Smörgås, attached), and is stuffed with everything from wooden spoons to lamps, from stoneware plates to linen and coffee tables. There’s a heavy emphasis on traditional craftsmanship and local, ecological production methods and materials. Between the calming space and the beautiful objects, it’s hard to walk away empty-handed.
Café-boutique Les Tatas Flingueuses, on the bustling and cosmopolitan Rue de Paris at Montreuil, was set up by Montreuil natives with a real and vested interest in diversifying their neighbourhood. Locals can stop in for a well-pulled ristretto, a fresh lunch (the daily menu is prepared with seasonal produce from the neighbourhood market) or to browse the shop’s vast array of goods, from jewellery and vintage clothing to stationary, home décor and other crafty knick-knacks.
Finally, somewhere your buggy won’t incite exasperated sighs. This lively, colourful boutique-cum-café tucked away in the 15th arrondissement is an oasis of joy – a definite must-visit whether you’re a parent, pregnant or far from it. In this beautiful 170 m2 space, find a cloud-shaped mobile for your little one, then treat yourself to carrot cake on the ground floor; or on the first floor , learn how to fashion your own baby-sling (€35 for two hours), give baby massages or even do yoga (€22 for an hour and a half).
Peonies gets serious points for originality: a florist meets Château d’Eau coffee shop concept store. Sip on your organic matcha green tea, eat 100% vegetarian food and leave with a bouquet of flowers when you’re done. The place is beautiful and airy, complete with emerald tiles, designer lamps, terrazzo-style tables, an Ines Longevil painting and blush-coloured walls. Have your Instagram at the ready for their avocado toast, homemade granola (with fresh fruit) and gluten-free cake – all very simple and tasty.
Seize – as in 16 rue de Crussol – is a hybrid space dedicated to creativity, where you can take an embroidery class and treat yourself to some AK studio home décor in one fell swoop. Around seven different ‘à la mode’ workshops take place here every week (between €35 and €70 each), from arm knitting (normal knitting, except your arms are the needles), to making your own natural cosmetic products. Shopping-wise, you’ll find a selection of handmade pieces, featuring a small selection of designers all handpicked by owner Claire Chicoine herself.
Designed in the style of an apartment with its own living room, bathroom and kitchen, this immense concept store hopes to be ‘an open and welcoming place, inviting you to discover and put into practice alternative initiatives, and bold projects for economic, cultural, social and environmental transition.’ Certain objects are made in France, while others are recycled and fair trade. But the cherry on top has to be Mama Petula - a proper shops within a shop - selling delicate flowering plants, a bevy of mini-succulents and several monster pots. Then, having browsed Etsy creations and €1 recycled Indian glasses, we recommend taking a break for a matcha latte or a glass of kefir with a beautiful slice of violet-carrot cake in the mini-café at the back of the shop.
More of Paris's concept stores
To continue on with your quirky Paris shopping experience, check out our list of the capital's most interesting concept stores.