Paris, France and online
Habitat was born in 1964, one of the successful concept shops launched by Terence Conran. Superior style with easy access at a fair price was the goal, one that worked then, and continues to work now. We just visited the large (2100sq meters over 3 floors) Parisian outpost of the British chain located right between the Seine and the Rue de Rivoli at Pont Neuf and it did not disappoint...The sales were on (as they are everywhere in Paris at this time) but honestly, the prices even before the markdowns seemed very reasonable. This is a perfect spot for interesting, just out of the ordinary basics. Why just go for a plain metal folding chair for extra seating when you could go hot pink or dark khaki green? But, if you want true basics, they have those too - for example, the folding chair also comes in silver, white and black.
The tabletop section is super strong, with a great selection of nicely designed daily use pieces - white dishware, chunky glasses, fun trays and dessert servers. They partner with designers to do lines too, making for some special fun and festive pieces that are affordable enough to bring home for use only on special occasions.
The other section that was especially memorable is the bed and bath department. Bedding is colorful and well-priced; I seriously pondered whether I could fit a duvet cover in my suitcase. In the bath department, the teak mats and shelving were lovely, as were the Muji-esqe basics for small storage. This could be a one stop shop for setting up a home - from storage to decorative hardware (I loved the clean-lined bathroom pieces shown above in the gallery) to lighting, cookware, tabletop and furniture.
Habitat is definitely worth a visit next time you are in Paris (and a good stop for small souvenirs), but be warned, you might wish for an extra bag to bring some goodies home!
8 rue de Pont Neuf
Images: 1. Aaron Able, 2-15. Janel Laban