It’s often said and it’s true Paris is a city that is best discovered on foot. Yes, you do need to watch where you place your foot so sometimes you miss the wonderful architecture as you are worried about, rightly so, la merde everywhere. That aside one of my favourite places to get lost in is le Haut Marais where there are the most incredible showrooms, designers, my favourite shop L’habilleur and great restaurants. On one of my many adventures in this part of town I stumbled across Merci Merci although the frontage just says Merci – a concept store that also houses three different eating venues – this is someone who knows from experience that shopping is a hunger inducing activity!
Merci Merci is a high end concept store with the USP that all their profits are given to charity note that I did not say charity shop. I sometimes wonder if I am not very clear when speaking French as I explained the USP to a friend and the following week she said she visited that shop and that clearly I did’t understand the concept of a charity shop. Of course it’s not a charity shop everything in it is brand new and every single piece expertly chosen but then you wouldn’t expect anything less from the woman who created the children’s brand ‘Bonpoint’ with children’s clothes that cost the same price a return Eurostar ticket! After grazing for a while in Merci Merci and in need of a pit stop I spied their wonderful Used Books Café with empty chairs – a rarity!
Laid back cool is the order of the day, this is where you can come and take out your laptop or wait for your better half as they shop. The sun streams in and there are of course used books lining the shelfs so why not take one down and read it. I was greeted with a big smile and left to peruse the menu. I just settled on having a latté and nothing else. The else might have been a slice of toast with jam, cake etc or in other words light bites and for something more consistent you need to head to the restaurant in the basement.
Le Café/ Coffee
The coffee delivered in a satisfyingly big mug and a a carafe of water with fresh mint leaves. The coffee was good and fresh although a little too much milk for me but I did order a latté. I’ve found the French don’t really get the concept of a large coffee with a splash of milk. However it wouldn’t have mattered what I was served as the ambiance of the place had me in a trance – I just didn’t want to leave. I will definitely be heading back just to sit and be for a while in the café forget the actual shopping.
Where? 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
Open when? Monday to Saturday 10 to 18.30
How? Line 8 (stop Filles du Calvaire) or a 15 minute leisurely stroll from Bastille.