Altogether different from the little boutiques and grand department stores of Paris, Merci is an artfully assembled trove of clothing, furniture, beauty products, and household items. The vast, warehouse-like space is a short walk from Place des Vosges, in the Haut Marais neighborhood in Paris' third arrondissement. I like to pop in at least once a week just to be surrounded by the store's bright, airy atmosphere.
I usually go in the afternoon when my toddler is asleep in her stroller. Sometimes I'll treat myself to one of Paris' healthiest lunches at Merci's street side cafe, but I mostly head straight in through the courtyard, past the vintage shiny red Fiat 500. I'll smell the roses at the flower shop on the left, and peek in at the pretty Parisians sipping coffee in the library/cafe on the right before stepping up into the store's main space. As you enter, you're greeted by a fantastic display that makes the store feel more like a contemporary art museum than a shop.
I usually head up to the furniture room, where I dream about my dream house as I drift among the different dining and living room arrangements. Then I'll take the elevator down to the basement where a more accessible array of items lures my eyes and my hands. I want to pick up everything — from the Duralex water glasses, to the My-Drap napkins, tiny enamel coffee mugs, and colorful and durable dishes made from bamboo. The only problem is trying to figure out whether to get a set of six bowls in one color, or one of each hue. They're only four euros each, and so pretty!
And all the store's profits go to a charity that helps women and children in Guatemala. Merci beaucoup, Merci!
(Images: Celeste Sunderland)