When last in Paris, upon the suggestion of a friend, we strolled over to the Village St. Paul (in the Marais), to visit the absolutely addictive boutique, Au Petit Bonheur La Chance. It is one of those magical places where to walk out empty handed, you'd have to be missing a heart.
La Chance is filled to the rafters with the perfect French brocante goods of your dreams! It will tempt all the Euros out of your pocket with French striped kitchen linens, Art Deco latté cups, large antique enameled display letters, embroidered monogram ribbons, '60s teen postcards, and whimsical wind-up toys. Most of the inventory is deadstock vintage, and it's the best place to find arm-fulls of cheapy yet charming little items to bring back as souvenirs gifts for friends. We spent hours combing through wooden cabinets for inspirational paper ephemera, and blissfully acquired a bounty of Belle Epoque menus, 1930s patisserie bags (see below), school notebooks and wooden stencils.
Though if you're totally claustro like me, you'll want to wait until the shop is devoid of crowds, to avoid frantic tourists breathing down your neck (the "petit" in the the name isn't an understatement). So, to ensure good vibes, we would exit the shop when mobbed, and re-enter when the coast was clear.
This visit also made me realize that we have a total illness . . . I had planned to arrive home from France with new ballet slippers, perfumes, macarons and fancy face creams, but all we purchased was old paper. So much in fact, that we adopted another suitcase in which to bring it on the plane, in addition to the huge boxes we shipped home. I'm still kicking myself that I passed up perfect brown leather brogues at Le Bon Marché to save moolah for more obscure ol' typefaces, but c'est la vie, and vive la papier!
Au Petit Bonheur La Chance
13 Rue St. Paul (Marais)
01 42 74 36 38
Call for hours, as they are precarious.
Photos: J.B. + Nic Taylor