Places to Visit in Paris

Although Paris is known to be a city steeped in tradition, it is also a city generating an exciting list of shops and boutiques that sell the most gorgeous and unique selections of designers, furniture, food, flowers and pretty much anything you can imagine. Each arrondissment has its own distinct quirk and charm – so do the places that are situated all over them. Here are twelve places – some are new, some are already well-known – that I enjoyed and decided to write about in one big post. Of course, those aren’t the only ones – I’ve already mentioned some other fantastic places separately. To go back to them, just scroll a bit down on the homepage or click the “Paris” tab below this post. Now, follow me!

Ogata

Star designer-restaurateur Shinichiro Ogata, who has already been praised for his spots in Tokyo, has Paris abuzz at this hôtel particulier in the center of the Marais neighborhood. Ogata is an immense lifestyle temple meticulously styled with an insane atrium (walls whitewashed with shikkui plaster, doors decorated in copper), a boutique space (ceramics, pastries, infusions… everything’s on the right place!), a serene sabō on the ground floor (for tea ceremony – the place offers a diverse variety of tea rigorously selected according to the season: hōjicha, sencha, rare teas and seasonal infusions), a secret bar upstairs, plus a gourmet Japanese cuisine restaurant with plenty of wood and concrete details. This place is a must-visit.

16 rue Debelleyme

Comme Des Garçons & Trading Museum

Set off the Rue du Faubourg St-Honore, Comme Des Garçons’ design experience of the store begins in the courtyard through which it is reached, where glossy red panels line the windows, obscuring the view in and imposing red doors glide silently open as the customer approaches. Immediately facing is a long counter and opposite that a glossy red fibreglass skin flows the length of the shop, covering everything in its path – walls, ceiling, doors, lighting, horizontal and vertical planes – the alien wave. The fantastical red corridor leads to a brilliant white ante-chamber with a polished concrete floor where the retail is housed. Within this sanctuary-like space, garments by Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe and Kei Ninomiya hang from metal rails suspended from the ceiling and folded t-shirts sit on extruded rubber benches, presented to the customer like objects in a museum. On the other side of the courtyard you’ve got Trading Museum, CDG’s selection of labels like Simone Rocha or Molly Goddard.

54 Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré

R&Y Augousti

Ria and Youri Augousti’s flagship store in Paris was discovered by the designers back in 1997. Originally an old majestic bank, the couple fell in love with the space and iconic location. They decided that this would be the perfect space for their brand and their instincts were not wrong. Their artistic backgrounds brought them together as innovators in their field by reviving the artisanal techniques of shagreen and other exotic materials that were predominant in the Art Deco period of the 1930s. Through their mix of vintage and contemporary design, their furniture and home accessories brand were met with worldwide praise. From this they began to work closely with international interior designers, architects and celebrities to create custom pieces for their homes and projects all within keeping to the Augousti universe. Together with their designs, they as well present Patrick Coard and Kifu Paris’ works. Currently, the store carries Olivier Theyskens, the acclaimed fashion designer and recently appointed creative director at Azzaro. A longtime family friend of the Augousti House, their mutual love and appreciation for artisan craftmanship, textures, and innovative designs sparked a natural collaboration between the two brands.

103 Rue du Bac

The Broken Arm

Since Colette closed its doors a few years ago, The Broken Arm has the most unique and intriguing designer assortment in town. Here you will find S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA. by Sterling Ruby (the bag pictures above is still in my dreams!) as well as an off-beat selection of Maison Margiela, Jacquemus, Raf Simons and Prada. The staff is super friendly her and when you’re here, you feel it’s the cult fashion place of the Marais district. Next to the shop you’ve got The Broken Arm’s café that serves home-made sweets and quick lunches.

12 Rue Perrée

Lemaire

My kind of mecca. I visit Lemaire’s flagship store every single time when I’m in Paris and I’m always amazed by its heart-warming aura, great soundtrack playing and of course the designs by my favourite Christopher Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran. The store often carries exclusive pieces that you won’t find anywhere else!

28 Rue de Poitou

Aoyama Flower Market

Aoyama Flower Market is a florist brand established in 1989, in the Aoyama area of Tokyo. The brand has never ceased to offer a lifestyle that promotes well being, accompanied by flowers and greenery. In 2015 they opened their Paris location, which is in the heart of the Left Bank and just a few steps from Le Bon Marche. Haven’t seen such beautiful bouquet compositions for a while.

96 Rue du Bac

Byredo

Situated on Rue St.-Honoré, just a few doors away from Colette’s former location, Byredo’s boutique occupies the ground and second floors of a 1990s building. Here, creative director Ben Gorham has opted for a refreshingly different aesthetic for his French outpost. The backdrop is raw, thanks to the pairing of an exposed ceiling and walls with plentiful of wall scribblings created by M/M (Paris), a Paris-based design agency with which Gorham collaborates on all brand visuals. Further boosting the artsy vibe are the agency’s large-sized posters of Sarah Morris‘ films, wall-mounted in plexiglass frames. Here you will find the entire Byredo fragrance and beauty line, as well as a selection of their bags, leather accessories and blankets.

199 rue St.-Honoré

The Frankie Shop

To be honest, I’m a bit on fence with this place, but I guess it’s worth a mention. After having conquered New-York, it’s in Paris’ Marais district that The Frankie Shop has set down its globe-trotter luggage filled with brands from all over the world. The mantra of this boutique is spotting international, affordable and instantly Instagrammable designer brands: Rodebjer, Nanushka, By Far… there’s also an entire collection featuring the store’s name-sake brand, which is basically the wardrobe of every social media fashionista. Parisians seem to love it, as the place is also super crowdy.

14 Rue Saint Claude

Paco Rabanne

Paco Rabanne is growing under the wings of Julien Dossena, so it’s no surprise it’s opening first stores in Paris. The new location – opened just a month ago – is hidden in the same court yard as the above mentioned Comme Des Garçons. The 1960s-inspired interior perfectly matches Rabanne’s signature chain-mail dresses, floral skirts and metallic accessories.

54 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Kamel Mennour

Since 1999, Kamel Mennour presents in his three Parisian galleries (47 rue Saint-André des Arts, 6 rue du Pont de Lodi and 28 Avenue Matignon) the works of 40 contemporary artists who are internationally recognized. Through the publication of catalogues, exhibitions, biennales and fairs all over the world, Mennour presents, supports and defends the work of artists such as Mohamed Bourouissa, Daniel Buren, Petrit Halilaj, Camille Henrot, Huang Yong Ping, Anish Kapoor, Tadashi Kawamata, Bertrand Lavier, Lee Ufan, Claude Lévêque, François Morellet, Neïl Beloufa, Martial Raysse, Ugo Rondinone and Tatiana Trouvé. Always worth a visit, because you never know what you will discover. Martial Raysse’s “Les Statues!” exhibition that ended back in March was a beautiful experience.

Tom Greyhound

Tom Greyhound’s carefully curated selection of designers – think J.W. Anderson, Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander – blends in perfectly within its sophisticated and elegant décor. At their store, the client doesn’t simply go from rack to rack – they are called to discover refined themes of apparel and accessories, which all stand out. As the concept store describes itself, it is “entirely dedicated to a multicultural and contemporary approach to fashion.”

19 Rue de Saintonge

Caractère de Cochon

The shelves are lined with canned goods and condiments, while all kinds of cured meats fill the fridges, which you can take to go or have made into the best sandwich in Paris. Some of the cured hams include a Mangalitza from Hungary, Tuscan peppered ham, Iberico de Campo, and the baked ones include a parslied Bourgogne, a ham from the Vosges smoked over hay, one from Provence with rosemary, and one exception: la babilla, a center-cut of beef ham Other recommendations: the Catalan fuet and the liver terrine.

42 rue Charlot

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Wrote about many other places in Paris- 0fr., Astier De Villate, Galerie Perrotin, Saint Laurent Rive Droite – earlier. To re-see those posts, click here. For some restaurant recommendations, see this. Also, my page “Places” got heavily updated with all the addresses I love… and not only in Paris!

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Neo Future. Comme Des Garçons AW20

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Is it impossible to make something completely and utterly new, since we are all living in this world?”, Rei Kawakubo asked rhetorically in the press notes of her autumn-winter 2020 Comme Des Garçons collection. Looking at some “big” designers for a couple of seasons, this question is an actual punch with a fist. At this stage in her legendary career, what’s still driving Kawakubo is the tantalizing goal of being able to make work that relates to nothing else; that triggers no associations; is devoid of storytelling and free of history, politics, or satire; and is incapable of being interpreted as belonging to any culture or subconscious brew of any of the above. Among the 20 looks she sent out –  bubbles, ledged pieces apparently made for furniture, towering headpieces – it felt like she was aiming to design for some post-world state. There appeared to be echoes of Comme Des Garçons collections from the past – the Flat collection; the ones rotated around the idea of weddings and funerals; fragmented reminders of the Lumps and Bumps presentation. Kawakubo admitted it was true – she really let herself remix some of her past works. “Continuing my work as a perpetual futurist, I worked from within the CDG world.” But when you’re having such a well-formed, complex and distinct vocabulary – Miuccia Prada as well comes up to my mind as one of those designers – then there’s no wonder you want to recycle some of those concepts from time to time.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The 2010s / Comme Des Garçons AW12

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Rei Kawakubo‘s “flat” collection, Comme Des Garçons AW12.

Back in 2012, I was 13. And this collection was a complete fantasy for me. “The future’s in two dimensions” was its provocative premise. The cutout paper-dolliness of looks like the red and pink felted coat-dresses that opened the show, or the lilac jacket and pants that followed – all that was amazingly odd and phenomenal at the same time. In fact, this wasn’t just about fun dressing up – hello, it’s Rei Kawakubo’s work! – but rather a comment on the state of the industry (there was a sort of creativity crisis in the end of 2000s and the beginnings of 2010s, to be honest). If the fashion industry was happy with coverage that reduces its most elevated endeavors to two dimensions, then Rei was going to reduce the industry itself to an equally flat proposition. A handful of ultra-clichéd fashion patterns – camo, leopard, florals, polka dots – were used in the most literal of ways. The “eveningwear” was all about sequins, the ultimate evening cliché. How flat! Kawakubo mocked fashion and us, the viewers, but at the same she created wearable, geometric art-works that still make you sigh with delight. Here’s Iris Apfel photographed by Jeff Bark for Dazed & Confused wearing the most striking pieces from the collection. Naturally, the 13 year old me needed that issue. And the today me still cherishes it for this stunning editorial.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Dover Street Parfums Market

25 years after the launch of the first Comme des Garçons perfume, 15 years after opening the first Dover Street Market in London, Comme des Garçons opens Dover Street Parfums Market in Paris. It’s a place you never knew you needed so much. Located two minutes from Musée Picasso, this outpost of DSM is dedicated to beauty with a selection of perfumes, cosmetic and make-up brands from around the world. From avant-garde independent young labels (Kerosene, 19-69, Ormaie…) to the most established and classic references, it’s an explosion of scents, sounds and textures. Skincare, body and hair care products are also part of the proposal, with a majority of sustainable and organic brands aimed for all the human spectrum. It’s about authencity, diversity, originality and inclusivity. Special guests include Gucci with its Alchemist’s Garden line; Byredo’s unique corner; events by MAC cosmetics (and their Instagram-big Comme Des Garçons tattoo kit available only here); Julien D’Ys’ hair installations; and Thom Browne who is about to launch his very first perfume range entitled 09.27.65. Dover Street Parfums Market has no commercial visuals, logos or gifts with purchases. As for the interior, Rei Kawakubo designed a forest of pillars with egg shaped shelves carved within them. Mainstream beauty stores and department stores are becoming even more bleak and charmless in my eyes now.

11 bis rue Elzevir / Paris

Orlando. Comme Des Garçons SS20

Rei Kawakubo presented a collection of unbridled opulence and transporting fantasy in the second of three shows themed on Virgina Woolf’s ever-inspiring novel, “Orlando“. The men’s show back in June was Act I, this is Act II. Act III is coming up in Vienna in December, at the premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s opera adaptation of the mentioned literary masterpiece. The narrative of the Comme des Garçons show ran in tandem with Woolf’s time travelling protagonist, jumping from Elizabethan times through the 18th and 19th century to the present. And, Kawakubo also added her own chapter: the future. The first part of the show, the Elizabethan period, was overfilled and stuffed with ornaments and details, and the garments seemed to be decaying with their splendour the same moment they appeared on the runway. With every look, the amount of decorations seemed to decrease. The last silhouettes – would never call them clothes – were all-black, minimal in cut and big. The future is unknown and uncertain. Or maybe black is the symbol of transformation, Orlando-wise? As always, Kawakubo raises many questions for you to answer yourself.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Gathering of the shadows. Comme Des Garçons AW19

Rei Kawakubo’s autumn-winter 2019 is the second season when the Comme des Garçons designer no longer does abstract bodies. In the collection she entitled as a Gathering of the shadows, you could sense danger: nearly all-black looks, executioner hoods, armor-like shapes, a soundtrack that definitely caused goose-bumps (think heavy, militaristic machinery, helicopters and English Victorian hymn in children voice). Some thought the show was all about defensive aggression and the terror of today’s world. Kawakubo knows what’s going on, with nationalism intensifying across the world. But maybe this wasn’t a line-up that was solely about the occurring circumstances? Rei’s shows are here for your free interpretation. I saw something very sublime about this one. A coat made from slices of leather; a black taffeta dress worn under a shell-like jacket; fishnet body-suits worn under every garment. It was avant-garde, as shocking in 2019 as back in the 80s, when Japanese designers – lead by Kawakubo – arrived to Paris with their Hiroshima chic.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Moving. Comme Des Garçons SS19

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Rei Kawakubo’s spring-summer 2019 seemed to be opening a new chapter, but then it appeared to be much more intimate and internal than one might have thought. The Comme Des Garçons designer stopped her short (but one of the most memorable during Paris fashion week), abstract, ‘no clothes’ shows after ten seasons, and returned to bigger line-ups that consist of ready-to-wear (or rather hints of ready-to-wear). But as usual with Kawakubo, nothing is that simple. “I felt this approach was no longer new, and I looked for what is new, what is new. But I could not find it,” went the pre-show statement. “What I thought of in the end was a profoundly internal approach… about what’s deep inside.” This was the season’s most deep and profound collection. It was about a woman, and women in general. Especially, about women today, about all the limitations, pains and struggles. Few models had heavy chains strapped beneath their tattoo-like, second-skin dresses. Others wore tailored jackets with ‘cut out’ shoulders, as if somehow violently dissected their bodies.

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Comme Des Garçons, ‘Lumps and Bumbs’, autumn-winter 1997.

Remember the ‘Lumps and Bumps’ collection?  Kawakubo seemed to refer to it. But this time, the shapes were more gentle, natural. Pregnancy bellies-like protrusions stack out from tweedy blazers and fluffy, black dresses. Some were printed with Comme Des Garçons logo, suggesting Kawakubo’s perception of her huge brand, which consists of a number of divisions and all the Dover Street Market Store, as of her child she has to nurture and protect. The grey hair, supplied by Julien d’Ys, spark conversations on age and self-acceptance. To create, and then publicly present, something so personal, disturbing, yet darkly beautiful, requires true power from the inside. It’s more than impressive to see how Kawakubo pushes her limits every season and sends out so many emotions through the medium of fashion (I mean her multi-faceted idea of fashion, not fashion that’s repeated by the rest). Truly moving.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.