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05-26-10 | Posted by

By Guest Contributor Candice Sabatini

When I visualize shopping in Paris, the images that pop into my head are elegant boutiques, often jammed and crammed, but oozing with elegance. Nothing could be further from that picture than the new Paris concept shop named Merci. With over 16,000 sq. ft of soaring industrial like space on three floors, this recently opened concept shop near the Marais is on a mission to help the children of Madagascar. The owners, Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, who created the luxury children’s brand, Bonpoint, felt that this was the perfect time to create an emporium of luxury items, but also give back and help others less fortunate.

Enter through the courtyard and view the red vintage Fiat which might be adorned with flowers one day, or strangely wrapped items the next. Wander around the first floor, which sells items such as coffee mugs, umbrellas, garden chairs, and expensive fine jewelry. What intrigued me most was the unusual Annick Goutal perfume bar. Cohen, the sister of the late Annick Goutal, has created a most unique emporium de parfum. Instead of the usual pretty little bottles, these especially created fragrances are poured to order in plain bottles. Savvy shopping tip:  bring your own bottle and get a discount!  The other wonderful attraction on this floor is the combination used book store and café. Thousands of books arranged by language and subcategories line the walls from floor to ceiling and are the biggest bargain in the store; most sell for less than 5 Euros. Simple offerings like sandwiches and salads along with coffees and teas make for leisurely lunching and reading.

Head upstairs for fashion and funk. From vintage designer to today’s hip and trendy, you’ll recognize labels like YSL, Mugler and Dior, to Stella McCartney, Barbara Bui and my personal favorite, Vanessa Bruno. And of course the stylish mix wouldn’t be complete without adorable kids wear from Bonpoint….especially attractive at 30% off regular retail!  The dressing rooms were cleverly crafted from shipping crates to add to the recycled, industrial sensibility.

The top floor is bathed in sunlight and the focus is on furniture and house wares. Honestly, I personally found many to be over the top price-wise. The above chair is priced at 2300 Euros, ($3050.00) and pieces of cut up plumbing pipes used as candlesticks are 49 Euros ($65.00) each! But hey, it’s for a good cause. Other items such as stationary, pens/pencils, lighting fixtures, buttons and an eclectic assortment of items you didn’t realize you needed, but are so adorable who can resist, are more gently priced.

Merci is a “don’t miss” if you’re headed to Paris. Plan on spending a good amount of time here; it’s so fun, you won’t want to leave….and you’ll certainly find something to take home with you!

111 Boulevard Beaumarchais (3rd Arrondisement)

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