A Store Is Born: Hermès

For the first time in its 173-year history, Hermès has ventured across the Seine to open a boutique on the Left Bank. But although the shop is the house’s second-largest (after the Right Bank flagship), it surpasses the “store” concept on several counts.

Originally the Lutetia swimming pool, the site is a 1935 Art Deco landmark—and clearly steps were taken to retain some of that old charm. Guests are greeted by a fragrant in-house florist, while a bookshop invites them in further. Downstairs on the mosaic floors sit the house’s celebrated scarves, ties, perfumes, jewelry, fashions, and accessories.

But the center of attention are the towering huts in braided wood that frame the tableware, home textiles, carpets, wallpaper, silver, objets and re-editions of 1930s-era furniture by Jean-Michel Frank and Pippa pieces upholstered in the same leather used for Birkin bags. Scattered throughout are items from the house’s latest line, Petit h, made entirely from leftover cuttings. For instance: a fishnet tote woven from the remains of printed silk squares, a lamp made of delicately painted coffee cups.

Speaking of, a small café serves 17 blends of Le Palais des Thés teas and light lunches—ideal for steeping oneself in the ambiance, and sure to become one of the hottest tables in town.

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