Merci shop in Paris… a perfect answer to charity shop for luxury items!

Main courtyard entrance
I always enjoy visiting beautiful and quaint shops around the world.  In person, or just virtually online, the “trip” mentally is always exciting. Merci, in Paris has a perfect answer to the charity shop and it’s a wonderful find. 

Entrance to the flower shop
Merci isn't just your average tiny little charity shop in a backstreet. It's a luxury concept store, over 1500 m² (approx. 16 145 sq.ft) large that sells anything you could possibly need, whether it's a book or a roll of yarn. The founders Marie-France and Bernard Cohen (who also created, then sold the luxury children's wear label Bonpoint) have gotten in touch with designers, artists, musicians, actors, stylists, authors and famous friends who have kindly donated items from their own collections or crafted special pieces to be sold here exclusively.

Some pieces come from current collections or have been designed just for the store. The remarkable concept here is that designers who are offering their goods on sale here are foregoing their profits, so all the brand new items will cost you around 30% less than the normal sale price. In turn Merci will donate to a foundation benefiting impoverished children in Madagascar, one of the poorest regions in the world and a cause close to the heart of Madame Cohen, who has traveled there several times. Her goal is to give young children (especially girls) the chance of an education so that they can one day have a career.

Courtyard decorations included greenery with bird cages (left) and a red Fiat (right).

What's even more amazing is that during the sale season, slashed their prices even further. So in addition to receiving already cheaper items for an almost wholesale price, you got another 30-50% off. Regardless of how much the items cost, Merci is worth a visit, just for the store alone. Tucked away in a back yard, you won't immediately detect the main entrance, but instead see two different storefronts: one for the cafe and the other for the flower shop. Between these two, you'll find a gate that leads to an inner courtyard, where Merci has placed the first vintage item: a red Fiat Cinquecento, which is the main shop’s seasonal attraction. I'm pretty sure this item isn't for sale though.

Overview of the ground floor (left) and skylight (right).

Smaller home decor items (left) and eco-friendly plates (right).

Annick Goutal perfume section (top and lower left) and the neon lit room (right)

Cohen, who's late sister happened to be Annick Goutal, managed to get the company to donate several scents which are on offer. Instead of selling them in the usual fancy flasks, they are sold in simple glass bottles, though consumers are urged to bring their own containers which can be filled with their favorite perfume. The benefit is that you'll save 40% off the store price. Another great deal.

Jewelry housed in cabinets and glass domes (top image: farawaytrends.com).

I was also fascinated by the fine jewelry, which was housed in various glass cases, some of them resembling displays of art. There was also an area filled with purple neon light, currently shut off, but I was told this section usually displays clothing.
The vintage clothes section.

Heading towards the right side of this floor, you end up in another large room. The first thing I saw was a small collection of vintage pieces under a staircase, mainly formal wear including robes from Dior or YSL, though one rack also held some casual pieces such as vintage Levis or Adidas. Shoes were placed neatly on the ground, with bags and belts displayed on a rack nearby.

Interesting wall decorations along the stairwell

The main clothing area is where you'll find the majority of the (new) designer pieces, including Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, Barbara Bui, Azzaro, Acne, Jerome Dreyfuss and many more who are waiving their profits for a good cause. Some of these are exclusive store-only items, such as the famous YSL safari jackets, which have been reissued in khaki and white. There was also an impressive selection of menswear, and the old-school couches, vintage furniture and other memorabilia made it a fun place to browse.

Menswear (lower image: commeuncamion.com).
The upper level contained mainly furniture, as well as some stationery, a haberdashery corner and a room for children's wear.
Fell in love with this two-seater (left) and more furniture (right)

The children's section with a very cute elephant (left). View of the ground floor from above (right).

The first time I came here, I never realized there was a lower level as well. This is the place to come if you need household and kitchen items, whether it's a broom, a few light bulbs or a salad bowl. Towards the back you'll find the restaurant, with a wonderful view of the back garden.

The haberdashery section features a nice selection of colorful buttons.

The coziest place to sit and have a drink or snack is probably the library on the ground floor, which has been designed to resemble an old-fashioned literary cafe. Entire walls are covered in second-hand books, with prices ranging from 3-10 EUR. Tables and chairs can be found in the main area, surrounded by more books, a perfect place to dive into a novel and enjoy a hot cup of coffee.

The library (left) leading into the cafe (right).
Finally, if you feel the urge to recreate the look of Merci's interiors, but can't redecorate your entire apartment or house just yet, head over to the flower department, where you'll find everything from potted plants to impressive floral arrangements courtesy of the very talented florist.

Throughout the Merci store, you'll find 'merci' printed on the wall, under which several names or companies are listed, a way for the owners to thank those who have provided the goods on sale. If you haven't noticed by now, this is the ultimate place to do some guilt-free shopping.

My friend V. is currently in town for a visit and this is the first place I dragged her to.

I say: a brilliant idea and 'Merci Beaucoup!'

Address: 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
Opening Hrs: Mon-Sat: 10:00-19:00

Merci: Shopping for a Cause in Paris

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