The many faces of Merci
There’s a reason I kick off my Paris Design Tour at Merci. Every ~3 weeks the Parisian design/concept store store changes and takes on a whole new look and feel. Even for a regular, it’s always fun to see what installation they’ve cooked up next. The store is housed in a former textile factory, meaning it has more space than your average boutique. When Merci first moved in the 3rd arrondissement the area was not at all what it is today. But the risk paid off, and for the time being the area still is dominated by more independent shops than chain stores. The other fun twist is that Merci—which means “thank you”—has their own endowment fund where proceeds go towards the well being and education of children in Madagascar. It’s the side of the store that’s hardly mentioned, but I think it makes the creativity of what happens inside the store even more exciting!
You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see the signature red Fiat in the courtyard with the MERCI license plate. As you’ll see below, even the car knows how to have a little fun…
Step inside and you never quite know what you will uncover.
You know I loved when they transformed the shop into a swimming pool to celebrate the invention of the bikini!
The installations are a great way to discover new brands. The ‘So Wax’ installation is where I first discovered Maison Chateau Rouge.
The car got transformed for that one too!
The many sides of the red Fiat.
Simple yellow stripes set the stage for the tartan installation.
Floor to ceiling tartan!
While some installations lean more towards interiors, others take on a fashion twist. (There’s men’s and women’s clothing in the shop, as well as jewelry.)
When les Mauvaises Grains teamed up for the installation, there was a yellow farm truck in the courtyard (along with chickens) and a two story verdant structure full of plants inside.
Plants have been popular. In another installation, the main wall was transformed into a living wall.
The wall has transformed into the ocean, with a navy scene.
And that one time it was the beach!
Sometimes product lines dominate the theme. This was a wall of Ateliers Maximum chairs—a French brand using recycled plastic in creative ways. (I bought the one on the left after seeing them make them in the store.)
It’s also been transformed into a global hunt for explorers.
In August, when most Parisians leave town, Merci usually takes on a Paris theme. ‘Merci aime Paris’ (Merci loves Paris) integrated graphics by illustrator Vahram Muratyan a few years ago.
More recently, it became more like a Parisian market with Parisian themed trinkets for sale.
In many ways the store feels more like a curated museum. It’s quite fun! Even the tables the products are displayed on change. It’s not uncommon to have products from brooms, to headphones, to lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
Even big brands like Muji are known to team up with Merci for a one of a kind installation. (It’s the only shop location, after all.)
The rest of the store changes too, but not at the same frequency as the entry area. Often products from the main installation will be distributed throughout the store during future installations. Even place settings change, so you always get new ideas for styling combinations.
There are also three cafés on site. The soft boiled eggs in the Used Book Café is always a favorite of mine. In fact, I recommend clients have breakfast there before we kick off our tour.
Believe it or not, these are just a small handful of the various “looks” Merci has taken on. There’s always something fun to discover. You can visit the shop at 111 Blvd Beaumarchais 75003. Or if you’re looking for a guide to show you the inner workings of Paris from a local perspective, all my Paris tours are customizable according to your interests as we explore the city in creative ways.
You can find more information on my tours here.