Housed in a sunny, airy architect's loft in the ultra-trendy Oberkampf neighborhood, Merci is one of the few concept shops in Paris to cultivate a genuinely cozy atmosphere: the back tearoom equipped with comfy couches and reading nook stocked with dozens of books attest to it.
But despite the laid-back atmosphere, Merci manages to retain its avant-garde stripes. Opened in 2009 in a refurbished wallpaper factory that had occupied the premises for 150 years, this shop is a relative newcomer to the fashion scene in Paris. Nonetheless, it's already generated plenty of buzzes for its eclectic and adventurous collections, and for its unusual dedication to social causes.
From classics like Yves Saint Laurent to creations from young local designers, the store offers a selection of clothing and design items that will sate both the religiously fashionable and the occasional dabbler. It's also all in a good cause: profits made by the store are donated to organizations fighting poverty among children, particularly in Madagascar.
Location and Contact Information
Whether you're in the market for an original new wardrobe or designer home items — the latter serve as excellent gifts to take home in your suitcase — I recommend spending a good hour perusing the various departments at Merci. It's not necessarily well-known for budget shopping, but coming during the annual summer and winter sales in Paris can help alleviate sticker-shock.
Men's and Women's Fashion: The shop offers a large selection of men and women's fashion, and the collection mixes new and vintage threads. Some of the pieces have been created especially for Merci by young, promising designers. You'll also find classics from designers like YSL and Stella McCartney.
Home Furnishings, Jewelry, and Fragrance: On the ground floor, hand-made home furnishings and trinkets dominate. There's also a selection of hand-crafted designer jewelry and an Annick Goutal fragrance shop-in-shop.
Florist: On the second floor, a florist offers a selection of gorgeous seasonal blooms.
The Tearoom and Library
One of the more alluring attributes of this concept shop is their cozy tearoom and reading area. A large back room furnished with tables and couches can be very inviting after shopping, and loungers can borrow from a large selection of books while they nurse their coffee or nibble on savory or sweet tartines.
For health-conscious visitors, the cantine at Merci, located on the basement level of the main store, is a true delight — and it's a great choice for vegetarians, too since the seasonal menu centers around fresh produce and veggies. The cantine looks out onto a pleasant garden terrace.
The Cinema Cafe
Cinephiles, rejoice: This retro-style cafe decorated with old movie posters and glamour headshots is situated just next to the main concept shop and is an excellent place to enjoy a simple lunch or light snack. Old films are often projected on the cafe walls, too. No reservations required.