Neighborhood shops

A La Mère de Famille

35 rue du Fbg-Montmartre, 9th,

The Draw: Quite simply the most beautiful candy store in the world.

The Scene: The eye candy is as good as the real at this family business that’s been around since 1761. Once you’ve unglued your nose from the windows filled with glass jars of goodies, you enter an 18th-century store that should, by rights, be in the Musée Carnavalet. Wooden islands display the flavored chocolate coins called palets de Montmartre, almond paste calissonsin 12 colors, and a selection of dried fruits, all arranged in drawers and trays like buttons in a haberdashery. Around the walls are shelves of loose candies, gift boxes, teas, and fine wines. Staff panders to customers’ whims, and payment is made at the wooden cashier’s cabin at the back. Most of the merchandise is made at the Mère de Famille’s own laboratories.

Hot Tip: Le Monarque is a seasonal gateau that combines almonds, rum, cane syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon in a 15th-century recipe from the Breton port of Nantes, where ships laden with these Caribbean treasures used to dock.


Base One

47 bis rue d’Orsel, 18th,

The Draw: On-the-pulse clubland merchandise and gifts with a truly original bent.

The Scene: DJ duo Princess Léa and Jean Love are well-known on the Paris club circuit, drawing crowds for their iconoclastic break-beat/electro mixes at such venues as the Batofar, La Scène Bastille, and Bar Ourcq. By day they run this mini concept shop in Montmartre, with a friendly and funky vibe. Though a lot is packed into the tiny space, it’s displayed to maximum effect. Fashion by local designers and small, and established brands (Fenchurch, Motel, Consortium), are joined by bags and small accessories that make great gifts. Léa’s Brighton roots can be seen in the tongue-in-cheek bling of ghetto-blaster weekend bags and huge gold piggybanks from the British brand Present Time.

Hot Tip: Keep this address handy for midsummer night’s Fête de la Musique, when Base One hosts a banging street party.



62 rue des Saints-Pères, 7th,

The Draw: Fabulous one-off vintage and créateur jewelry.

The Scene: Since she opened this small St. Germain boutique four years ago, Karine Berrebi has entered the address book of every fashion editor, film star, and socialite in Paris, who drop in as often as possible so as not to miss her latest finds. A jewelry designer who trained at the prestigious Studio Berçot, she combines her own ’60s- and ’70s-inspired conversation pieces with an ever-changing vintage jewelry and watch collection, often featuring her heroes, Yves St. Laurent, Paco Rabanne, and Pierre Cardin. The intimate pearl-grey boutique is designed like an apartment, with bronze sculptures and art by Diane Arbus and Robert Couturier in the glass cases of treasures.

Hot Tip: Visit in the afternoon to meet Karry herself, as talking through her collection is like a tutorial in fashion history.