The Marais, on the Right Bank of Paris, basically encompasses the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, and is not only a walk-around history lesson but is an artsy modern-day creative style masterpiece. Here is a more comprehensive blog post on the Marais district from Paris Perfect: https://www.parisperfect.com/marais.php
I’m going to focus on one of my go-to shops in the Marais. The photographs here were taken at two different seasonal visits–Spring and Summer. Merci ( 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris) is one-stop shopping for current day items, not always needing to be purchased in order to be appreciated. Just as I have numerous shops in the 6th arrondissement that are my ‘musts’ that speak to ‘current’, so does Merci reflect the same in the Marais. Maybe not sophisticated enough for some–too youthful for others–not brocante enough for yet another group of lifestyle enthusiasts–for instance–but rather Merci exudes a casual, uncomplicated style that speaks to one level of ‘living French’.
What is also needing to be appreciated is the story behind why the owners opened Merci. First, they are a couple and owners of Bonpoint, a high-end children’s clothing shop with several locations in Paris but also now in other cities in France. If you have been following my blog, Bonpoint’s windows are one of my favorites to view. Again, always blossoming with creativity and style, entertaining me without any money coming out of my pocketbook. Here is the owners’ Merci story I found on their website (https://www.merci-merci.com/en/fond-dotation) You can also read more about the store and its products, as well as the endowment fund on their website:
“Merci is a place created in March 2009 in the heart of the historic district of Haut-Marais. Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, founders of BONPOINT the children’s fashion label, realized that Paris lacked a place which would bring together the best of the world of fashion, of design, of household goods with welcome refreshment areas.
A business established in the heart of its region and of its country, Merci has already created more than 70 permanent jobs. Merci is, moreover, very pleased to act as a developer or launch-pad to the young designers who, thanks to this sounding-board, can make themselves known to the many customers and international personalities who visit Merci.
Merci is a commercial enterprise “like any other company” founded by shareholders “unlike any other shareholders”. The founders decided that the proceeds of this investment would serve to fund an endowment paying for educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar.
Bernard and Marie France Cohen wanted to say MERCI to life, MERCI to the talents and to the designers who made this success possible. It is this success which makes their generosity possible.
In 2013, Marie-France Cohen passed on the torch
The current Merci team has kept up the commitment and the founders’ original dream by contributing year on year to the foundation.
Thanks to our clients who make this project possible.”
As I stroll up to the front door, through their garden-filled courtyard, the uplift of my spirits shines through the smile on my face, as I know I am entering ‘SPECIAL’.
Now I am a very visual person and have such a strong respect for aesthetics, color, proportion, style, not only in the old but also the new. So, in the Spring, my smile got even wider when I saw the high-ceiled ‘industrial warehouse’ grand room was all about camping!
My USA home landing for the last couple of years is Bend, Oregon. I admit I don’t know a whole lot about Oregon, having spent my past decades as a Californian. But what I have come to recognize is the value the Oregonians place upon nature and being a part of it. My home in Bend came with 3 garages…two for cars (one of which is large enough for a vehicle that can pull a camper and a third for the outdoor ‘toys’ that are well-known to Bendites!) It is not even uncommon these days, with new home builds, to have one garage that can store a camper! So, walking into Merci on that Spring day, I felt right at ‘home’! And, of course, plaids, including some with bright colors, as well as basic camp colors, on pillow cushion covers adding authentic camp play into the mix of products offered.
But the color play doesn’t end here nor just for the Spring season. Look what happens when the linens continue upstairs.
Or in the home goods for the table.
Or in the various home collection products from soaps to stationery to artwork to….
And, yes, there’s natural looking furniture and lighting to purchase as the base for these bright accessories.
Just a peek into the clothing sections, although there is really an extensive selection of men’s and women’s clothing too.
Now, are you ready for a break? They thought of that too. A library-looking cafe–cozy, especially for the fall and winter months, yet it seems to get good use all year long…
I’ve saved the best for last. I didn’t see a price tag on this item, but as we all know, the message it portrays is ‘priceless’. LOVE! I say, ‘MERCI TO Merci!”
6 thoughts on “Step #1 into the Marais”
I love this area of Paris! When I was working in corporate life my European PR agency was headquartered in Paris and the owner lived in the Marais. I had several opportunities to wonder in that section and loved it.
Are you going to be in Paris next year? I’d love to go to Paris for a leisurely visit and if you’re going to be there I could coordinate my trip with you.
Are you returning to the states soon?
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Mariann–I would love to join up with you in Paris next year. We will keep in touch! What did you think of Budapest?
Loved this piece. So detailed and informative! When I go to Paris, I want to shop here!! Hope you are well and enjoying life!! Many thoughts coming to you!
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Thank you, EvaLee. Of course, you know I would love to see you in Paris again! All best to you and your family…
Hi J. wonderful blog! Merci sounds and looks a great place to shop. Hope all is going well. When do you return to Bend? We are in Santa Fe, NM now. All is good.
Keep on having fun.
Fun is your middle name and I have had a great mentor in you! Wedding bells in Santa Fe with Austin daughter..please do tell. Content with new home and life in Santa Fe…? We could use a chat…I’ll try and call…