Hand-crafted jewelry in the Marais
Our visitor to Paris this week, Kate, (aside from being an environmental lawyer in Saipan) has discovered a knack for jewelry design. She’s getting to be well-known in Saipan. We wanted to check out some of the Paris jewelry boutiques, particularly in the Marais during her visit.
We were particularly impressed with Bijoux Blues (www.bijouxblues.com) located at 31, rue St. Paul, 4eme, Metro: St. Paul. Tel. 01 48 04 0064 or 06 79 60 7550.
Tatiana who welcomed us told us that her shop has only been open for two weeks, so we considered ourselves lucky to stumble into this shop which features her work as well as one other local designer. Tatiana and her colleague’s designs are quite different from one another – Tatiana’s style being whimsical and
spontaneous as opposed to her colleague’s more classical and understated style. We really liked this boutique, and, in particular, Tatiana’s warm welcome.
The Marais is not only a good neighborhood for jewelry window-shopping (and eventually buying), but we also found a bead shop called Matière Première, 12 Rue de Sévigné (Tel. 01 42 78 40 87) www.matierepremiere.fr
At Matière Première you can buy beads in bulk as well as clasps, metallic chokers and buttons.
Not all jewelry designers are eager to have visits from other jewelry makers. After making a few phone calls to designers who have been listed in one A Nous, Paris as ‘branchè new designers, the first two phone calls ended up being disconnected phone numbers. The designer I finally reached was horrified at the thought of having another designer visit her boutique. The whole attitude these days, especially in France, is outright paranoia about being copied and reproduced en masse. Certainly has been some cause for this paranoia, but on the other hand, for real jewelry artists, it would almost be an insult to suggest that they would even want to imitate another artist’s style. Needless to say, jewelry designers are also potential buyers too.
Aside from jewelry, St. Paul is a street you definitely don’t want to miss for other reasons. First of all, there’s the Red Wheelbarrow English-language Bookstore at #22 where Abigail and Penelope will give you a warm welcome. Being a Left Banker, it’s taken me a long time to get to the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore and I have to say that it’s definitely worth the detour. Although the bookstore isn’t big compared to the mammoth W.H. Smith or Brentanos, it is tidy and well-lit. Independent bookstores tend to reflect their owners’ personalities and this shop is bright and cheery.
In fact, if you’re feeling a little ‘culture shock’ which usually hits you about six months into your Paris stay – and you’re longing for hints of ‘home’, there’s Thanksgiving store and restaurant at #20 where you can find all the fixings for an American style Thanksgiving dinner in Paris.
Some of the products you’ll find at Thanksgiving include hard-to-come-by items such as molasses, graham cracker crumbs and Crisco vegetable shortening.
A block away from Rue St. Paul, you can still see some remnants of the old Paris city wall (dating from the early middle ages) which was demolished in the early 1600s.
Right across from the Metro stop: St. Paul, you can pop into the Church of Saint Paul-St. Louis which is described in its flyer as a beautiful building linking us to the age of Louis XIV (even though Louis XVIII started its construction).
Particular mention is made of the preacher Father Bourdeloue as being greatly appreciated by the ladies of the court who attended most of his sermons. What the brochure doesn’t mention is that he is also famous an ‘accoutrement’ called the bourdeloue which was a precursor to the modern day port-a-pottie. Apparently his sermons were so long that the ladies of the court brought along their own port a potties that still to this day are referred to as ‘bourdeloue’.