Tue 10 Nov 2009
From the creators of Bonpoint comes Merci, a home decor concept store that caters to all your domestic needs. The entrance is through a small courtyard flanked by bamboo, ferns and other green things I’m unable to identify. The spacious, extremely minimalist layout spans three floors, including the basement. For anyone who detests battling the crowds in a department store’s home-furnishing section on a busy Saturday afternoon, this place is an oasis. I have the sneaking feeling that the marketing team would dearly love to hear me describe it as “an experience.” There’s enough space between the displays (I’m tempted to say “exhibits”) to let a hyperactive three-year-old loose with a trolley, though I don’t actually recommend this, as the prices are steep.
In addition to selling crockery, utensils, bedspreads, etc., Merci also dabbles in home fragrances, courtesy of très chic parisienne perfumer Annick Goutal. Goutal creates wonderful names for her concoctions, my personal all-time favorite being the sassy Ce Soir ou Jamais (tonight or never). Some designer concept jewelry is also available, as is a small selection of leather handbags.
A high point for me was the inclusion of vintage clothes, though, sadly, they are subject to a terrific markup. No real bargains to be found here. The quality, however, is top notch, and if you like the idea of vintage but dislike having to rummage, then you’re in luck. I did spot a stunning pair of 1960s checked wool hipsters, though not much hip could fit into these babies. Interspersed with the vintage are some new and rather cute pieces of lingerie and small accessories. The changing rooms are also spacious and well lit—no fluorescent “suicide lighting” here, thankfully! Men’s and children’s clothes are also on offer.
Also charming is the small, cozily lit café space with several shelves stuffed full of secondhand books. Most titles I noticed were in French, but I reckon if you look carefully it should be possible to spot a couple in English. This seems to be somewhat of a trend at present. I noticed the same thing—secondhand books as decor—at the superhip and funky Philippe Starck–designed hotel Mama Shelter (see our Hotels page). Finally, there is also a florist on hand to create custom dinner party centerpieces or impromptu arrangements.
Merci seems to be much more style than substance, but there are plenty of cute little pieces (with big price tags) available. Still, if home decor hits home with you, I’d say come take a look—it’s worth that. Merci.