Born in London and lightly marinaded in Europe, Imogen Roy works as a PR for a luxury French fashion label in Paris. Join us as we step off the tourist trail and peruse the quirkiest boutiques in Paris…
Design et Nature
4, rue d’Aboukir, 75002 Paris (+33 (0)1 43 06 86 98 design-nature-paris.fr)
If you happen to skirt along the bottom of the Faubourg Saint-Denis district on your next visit to Paris, I implore you to at least window-shop (faire du lèche-vitrine) at this most unusual of retail spots. The Design et Nature showroom houses an extensive collection of exotic taxidermy for rent and sale, from the modest shrew to an ostrich, and many a cheetah, bushbuck and alligator in between.
64, Rue Tiquetonne 75002 Paris (+33 (0)1 42 21 17 37 espacekiliwatch.fr)
Vintage stores in Paris seem to exist between two extremes: the €1–€3 fripes (thrift store), where you sift through a waist-high tide of unwashed muck, and the overpriced designer store where €500 tags are slapped on reject YSL mustard skirt suits from the 1980s. Kiliwatch is a happy medium, providing a vast but expertly curated selection of garments from the 1950s to the 1990s. You won’t pay fripes prices, with dresses from €25 to €65, but every piece is cleaned, mended and charmingly unique.
21 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris ( +33 (0)1 42 71 08 00 dom-ck.com)
I discovered this mildly bizarre design store while Christmas shopping, and as a result my brother ended up with a steel revolver hipflask in a leather holster, and my colleague a crying Virgin Mary statue with a secret tap for dispensing vodka. Other delights include Swarovski-crystal-encrusted telephones in the shape of human skulls, silver incense chandeliers and, oh, a stock manager who traverses the shop naked to the waist except for his leather harness and sailor’s cap. You can buy multicoloured neon strip lighting for your recently renovated ex-brothel studio apartment here.
75 rue vielle du Temple, 75003 Paris (+33 (0)1 44 54 54 59 manoush.com)
Every time I walk past Manoush, I imagine what the disco movement would have been like had it kicked off in Peru as opposed to New York. Manoush’s collections take all the most exciting heritage embroideries, colour and textiles, from India to Catalonia, and meld them together to create gloriously global explosions. Here, tassles bindis and gold crochet come together to create a maximalist’s paradise in the heart of Paris.
10, rue du Pont Louis Philippe 75004 Paris (+33 (0)1 42 74 57 68)
Just the most beautiful, charming little old-fashioned stationery shop, a find for those who still indulge in expensive sealing wax or indian ink habits, or for picking up beautiful handmade gifts. Mélodies Graphiques is a nostalgic’s paradise, supplying monogrammed seal and wax, hand-printed notecards, scratchy fountain pens and ornate ink wells. Eric de Tugny opened the store to indulge the passions of ‘those who love to write’, and upon the walls are painstakingly pinned calligraphed envelopes and letters from fans all over the world.