Petit Paris: Concept Stores

You can't come to Paris without visiting a few of the city's concept stores. So here are my top five:

I think I visited Merci every time I came to Paris last year (which was a lot). Merci is a mecca for the style-conscious wanting to live in well-designed surroundings. I could spend hours in there browsing the clothes, flicking through the stationary and perusing the kitchenware, and then heading into one of the cafes for tea and cake. In fact I might ask if I can move in.

Image credit [here]
Wait is a vintage-style concept store from the founders of sunglasses brand, Waiting for the Sun, with a space that feels like you're walking into someone's living room. Complete with large sofa, rugs and wooden beams, it's actually their headquarters and office that they've fashioned into a shop, selling surfboards, bags, fragrances and vintage ware. The main thing that caught my eye was the vitage side-board and globe, which are very similar to the ones I have at home.

Image credit [here]
The Space was set up by two Brits - one of the girls inherited the shop from her grandmother, who was gifted the property by Elizabeth Taylor no less. It's a cosy store, with an old-world feel to it (see piano) and is perfect for magpies seeking out new treasures.

Image credit [here]

BABEL is Paris' newest concept store - it opened just after Christmas next to Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement - Paris' Bobo area (a bit like the capital's Dalston). With two large floor-to-ceiling windows, it's not unlike Merci Merci in style, but sports a slightly cosier feel with candles burning and armchairs dotted about. The owner, Vanessa Doger also teamed up with Taiwan-born Chen Costya, of 37m2 fame who is serving up Bubble Tea, a local Taiwanese drink made of tea mixed with fruit and milk, and pastries from Zen Zoo.

Image credit: Babel
I can't make a list of Parisian concept stores without mentioning the uber cool Colette that's a Paris Fashion Week favourite. The three-storey shop is Paris' most famous concept store and houses a cafe, small gallery space with a monthly rotation of exhibitions, books and music, and a cherry-picked selection of designs by brands such as Band of Outsiders, Carven, Maison Martin Margiela and Simone Rocha.

Image credit: Colette