Merci was created in March 2009, in the heart of the historic Haut-Marais district. The founders, Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, realised that Paris lacked a place which brought together the best in fashion, design, household goods, and friendly eating options.
First time I visited Merci to meet its owner Madam Marie France Cohen.
I heard about the new Concept Store, cooler than Colette and “more inventive” than L’Eclaireur. We met to discuss the charity I was running at the time The Sound World Australia – thesoundworld.org. We were helping deaf disadvantaged Armenian kids, now we are concentrating on the other countries.
Madame Marie France Cohen just sold her very successful children’s clothes business Bon Point. Her husband and herself started something absolutely different – a project, based on charity (all profits of Merci are going to charity) and most of the garments were produced in a ethical way. The lucky recipient country is Madagascar in most cases. Marie France and I had almost Sydney breakfast in Merci library (rarity in Paris), – soft poached eggs, sourdough bread, salted butter, endless cups of tea. No vegemite. No coffee in France. No good coffee in France. When we finished, Marie France paid (in her own shop!!!)
We exchanged our ideas, said our goodbyes and rushed – I was dying to see the shop. The library itself is a beautiful corner with lots of books, café and bottomless chairs and sofas where you can fall asleep and wake up and leaf through the books again.
The shop is very beautiful in its industrial presentation and I know now that from Isabel Marant they “progressed” to more luxurious YSL and Stella MacCartney. I felt I had to buy something and I bought Annik Goutal perfume not available in Sydney. I left it on the counter and forgot it there. In two days it was un-retrievable. I had to show my credit card statements, which I could not even print in my hotel. Well, I thought, it was my double charity and so be it.
Whenever I am in Paris, Merci is waiting for me, either for favourite breakfast, for little things which would not eliminate the Earth in 1000 years, even for the hope that my bottle of Annik Goutal is still waiting for me on the counter.