Artcurial – Shopping in Paris
Artcurial is the kind of bookshop you can loose yourself in for hours paging through glossy art and fashion books. Set in the most imperial of buildings, the neoclassical Hotel Dassault is gilded and iced like a wedding cake. Even walking through the lacy wrought iron gates makes you feel important, like a diplomat entering an embassy compound. And there are a lot of those palatial salutes to sister countries that also line the Champs Elysees, one of the most prestigious addresses in the world.
It shares boulevard with Louis Vuitton. I highly recommend a ride up the elevator into the “Women’s Universe” to fondle clothes that you’d only otherwise see in magazines and the ever-popular macaron mecca La Duree. Abercrombie & Fitch have recently taken up residence and air freshen the street with their cologne. Customers queue up to shop, roped off on red carpet as if waiting to enter an elitist nightclub.
I happened upon Artcurial one fashion week and made my way through a crowd of overly stylish 30-somethings outside smoking. I followed signs that led upstairs advertising a vente privee, or private sale. My attempt to finagle my way in after summoning all the self-importance I could muster was met with, “I’m sorry miss, this event is by invitation only.”
The downstairs, however, is open to the public and consists of a museum-worthy sampling of the items that will appear in the next auction hosted by Artcurial, the first French auction house. The last time I popped in a Basquiat painting and some beautiful Art deco furniture and light fixtures were on display.
Farther down the hall a café is situated on the right and the bookshop on the left. The shelves at the Artcurial are lined with colossal tributes to artists’ work that encapsulate so much creativity and beauty that each visit is a dose of bibliotherapy.
7 Rond-point des Champs Elysées, Paris
Here are some of the books I had trouble putting down:
beautiful black and white photographs of starlets and historical figures,
colourful quilts fashioned from metal, and
a glass chandelier universe of water droplets and jellyfish.
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