Shopping in Paris

December 13, 2012

A wee chat with Megan Morton

Megan Morton Things I Love via WeeBirdy.com

This is the book that I’ve been excited about for months. And it’s here – at last – and just in time for Christmas. Megan Morton in one of Australia’s leading stylists, but really she’s much more than that – she’s actually pretty amazing. She recently opened The School, offering a super-fresh take on craft workshops (you can learn to make pineapple piñatas, flower bombs and shibori, to name a few) as well as sharing her own creative talents through styling masterclasses.

The School via WeeBirdy.com

In her new book, Things I Love, Megan has curated a darn exciting and inspirational collection of homes, people and design she loves, as well as offering a raft of tips and advice. It’s the only book I know that injects warmth and genuine excitement into sharing practical tips such as how to clean a vintage painting, how to mimic the Kate Spade wall, and – my favourite – how to fold a fitted sheet. Naturally, it’s beautifully designed and it’s full of cute features like zip-out postcards and fold-out pages.

So I thought I’d have a wee chat with Megan about something we both love – SHOPS – and boy, does she spill the goods…

Megan Morton via WeeBirdy.com

You’re a such a creative bird, Megan Morton. If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be?

A Leila Jeffreys budgie! Have you seen her photographs of Aussie budgies?! Amazing! Standard budgie at first glance but not-so upon further inspection! Her budgies are showing at Tim Olsen gallery at the moment and are hilariously wonderful!

Leila Jeffreys' Suzi via WeeBirdy.com

I adore Leila’s birds, too! Especially the cheeky parrots. Congratulations on your fabulous new book, Things I Love. What about shops you love? Can you tell us which shops you love in Sydney?

La Croix in Kings Cross is a personal favourite because you can spend $6 or $6000 over a coffee. The grey leather banquette with pompoms is enough of a drawcard for me, let alone the glassware, candles, cups and marble kitchen bits all acquired from a medley of sources and countries [see images below].

La Croix Kings Cross via WeeBirdy.com

La Croix Kings Cross via WeeBirdy.com

I love Koskela for their commitment to Australian-made and furniture that is so well made and designed with wit [see image below].

Koskela via WeeBirdy.com

I Love You Beads Warehouse in Leichhardt. There are so many hysterical reasons to love this store. I have taken up a hobby making necklaces. They are actually super nice! I go to this shop as it tickles my sense of humour as well as services all my bead fantasies.

Flour and Stone in  Woolloomooloo for lamingtons and tea served in Beryl ware from classic Brown Betty tea pots [see image below].

Flour and Stone via WeeBirdy.com

Fairfax and Roberts
. Such a decadent and wonderful store experience. I adore jewellery and watching its almost theatrical presence at this store is a wonderful way to tyre-kick/window-shop for all budgets. Shopping for me is not just about nothings, it’s about observing and getting inspiration.

Dolly Up in Surry Hills is a dangerous place for me to go in the same way Belinda is. I love maxi dresses and Erin at Dolly Up has magnificent ones. I have bought many a vintage Valentino from her. With two daughters I feel like I am doing my bit to give us all some nice vintage options in a shared family closet!

Although I designed it, I do honestly love the Ecoya candle store on Queen Street [see images from the launch night below]. Moody and devastating, with hand-blown glass scent chambers down one wall and tarnished mirror down the other. A sensory experience in the truest sense of the word.

Ecoya via WeeBirdy.com

Ecoya Sydney via WeeBirdy.com

Ecoya Sydney via WeeBirdy.com

Plus, any suburban Priceline chemists – it’s like the JB Hi Fi of chemists! High volume, low decoration with lots of useful stuff!  I also like huge warehouse shops too! I love looking basically for things that aren’t expected and challenging myself to find things that are wonderful and not necessarily from predictable places or usual sources.

Which online shops do you love?
Rachel Castle for her sunshiny goodness [see images below]; Strawberrynet for cosmetics; Mecca Cosmetica; JCrew for the kids; and I can’t resist looking at the sale section of West Elm. Lu Lu Lucky for her hand-made block-coloured envelopes and other makeables.

Rachel Castle via WeeBirdy.com

Top five shops in the world?
I can’t contain it to five, unfortunately! I love shops and want to share them with as many people as possible so all these clever people can stay trading and thrive as they deserve to!
1. BHV in Paris – the French alternative to Bunnings although without compare.
2. Gravel and Gold in San Francisco [see image below]. Almost an anti-store. I love its jewellery, American camp blankets and the way they wrap plants in foil for unusual window displays. Everything here is so well-made and the store has little fanfare as its quality speaks volumes.

Gravel and Gold in San Francisco via WeeBirdy.com

3. Arts & Science in Toyko, Japan. Another store that renders me speechless.
4. Tsé & Tsé Associées in Paris. No words.
5. The Pirate Store in San Francisco – genius. Sheer genius. Again, no words! Retailing at its highest art form here [see images below].

The Pirate Store Emergency Burial Sand via WeeBirdy.com

6. Camargue in Brisbane for its Queensland edit of the European clothes I adore, but edited for summer-wearing and set in a classic, neutral and not overly-designed boutique setting. It lets the clothes do the talking.
7. First Dibs – the online interiors auction house. The real store is on Lexington in NYC. Totally incredible and it almost makes you woozy!
8. The Tinsel Trading Co. In New York it’s one of my first stops – I could go there every day for a year and find something in there that I had not seen the day before! Expect trinkets, ribbon, garlands – actually expect none of that – as it’s that kind of place [see images below]!

Tinsel Trading Co via WeeBirdy.com

9. March in San Francisco. I don’t have words for how perfect this kitchen/gift/lifestyle shop is. I hate the word “lifestyle” but in March’s case it really is a life I covet. Everything – and I mean everything here is beyond. Utterly beyond.

March San Francisco via WeeBirdy.com

It’s almost Christmas and I’m dying to know what you’re doing for a Christmas tree this year.

I do a year on and a year off – so this year I am blindfolding my family – seriously – and taking them away on a surprise out-of-town Christmas. Just us. No tree. We are packing the kids’ bags without them knowing and I can’t wait to see their faces when we get to our destination!

I’ve sent a small tree and their gifts up to said destination so it’s going to be a year of surprises. Last year I did a faux tree but highly doused in mercury and silver and pewter decorations and a lunch with all the trimmings, with a day-before-Christmas party!

Year on/year off works so well for me. It gives you the energy needed to deliver a great Christmas and a rest when you need it! I love all trees and decs – even the bad ones! There is nothing bad about this time of the year, I make no style judgements.

Megan Morton Christmas via WeeBirdy.com

This year at our studio we have erected a paper chandelier by Lu Lu Lucky and we are asking people to place wrapped gifts under it along with tins of food they can spare for The Salvation Army. Christmas for me only works when you can shine a kindness light.

Thank you Megan!

Click here for a Wee Birdy Sydney map, showing Megan’s favourite shops.

Things I love by Megan Morton is AU$49.95 and can be found in all nice shops and book stores right now. It would make an amazing Christmas present and you can also buy it online from Booktopia. You can find Megan Morton online right here.


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February 11, 2010

A wee trip to Paris, part 2

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Chocolat Debauve & Gallais
Sulpice Debauve was a pharmacist-turned-chocolate maker for France’s royal family, and he developed a range of chocolate coins for Marie Antoinette – which you can still buy today (Pistoles de Marie Antoinette).

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This beautiful old shop has been selling chocolates for 200 years, and features marble columns and wood-panelled walls.
Chocolat Debauve & Gallais
30 Rue des Saints-Peres
Paris
Métro: Saint-Germain des pres
Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 9.30am-7pm

A.P.C. Surplus
Bypass the tourists milling around the bottom of the hill leading up to the Sacre-Coer and walk around to Rue André Del Sarte , where you’ll find A.P.C’s outlet shop.

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Well worth a visit if you’re an A.P.C. fan, with 50 per cent discount off last season’s collections.
20 Rue André Del SartE
75018 Paris
Métro:Chateau Rouge

Creperie Josselin
Walk past all the other creperies jostling for attention on this street and head straight to Josselin, considered to be the best of its kind in Paris.

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It’s relatively cheap and the buckwheat galettes are very filling, but you could also go simple and sweet with the house chocolate crepe.
Creperie Josselin
67 Rue du Montparnasse
75014 Paris (14th Arr.)
Tel. 01 43 35 26 68

Cafe de Flore
Another Sarte and de Beauvoir haunt, another way to watch the world go by from plush red leather seating and splendid Art Deco surroundings.

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Yes, it’s a wee bit touristy, but the Club Sandwich is really good (although not particularly existential).
Cafe de Flore

172 bd. Saint-Germain,
Paris (6th Arr.)

Métro: St-Germain-des-Prés

Shakespeare & Company
I hadn’t visited this wee gem of a bookshop for many years, so it was lovely to rediscover it and enjoy its rather authentic bohemian atmosphere.

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It’s always very busy, but there are lots of little nooks for reading (or, uh, napping), as well as a great view of Notre Dame from the upstairs windows.
Shakespeare & Co

37 rue de la Bûcherie
75005 Paris
Tel. 01 43 25 40 93
Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 10am-11pm

Sunday 11am-11pm

Left Bank booksellers
I usually don’t pay much attention to the booksellers and their distinctive dark green boxes lining the Left Bank of the Seine, but I couldn’t help lingering on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

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Sitting alongside crappy print reproductions were some really incredible vintage magazines, although they are priced for tourists. Good for browsing, perhaps, rather than buying.


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February 10, 2010

A wee trip to Paris, part 1

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I spent a glorious weekend in Paris towards the end of last year. In the past I've tended to gravitate towards Le Marais, but this time around I explored more of Saint Germain and the Left Bank. It was by no means a comprehensive tour (I preferred lingering in cafes and strolling down sun-dappled boulevards) but I thought you might be interested in some of these wee gems…

Deyrolle
Admittedly Deyrolle may not be everyone's cup of tea (in fact, you may find dead animals dead creepy), but I spent a good couple of hours completely submerged in the sheer beauty of this historic shop. Downstairs looks like any other bourgeois gardening/interiors store, with a rather lovely collection of enamel pots and handsome tools. In fact, the only hint of the spectacle that awaits upstairs is the odd taxidermied animal in the window, or the deer wearing an apron.

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I had heard a little bit about Deyrolle's impressive collection of taxidermied animals, mounted insects, shells and minerals, but I was still completely gobsmacked as I discovered what can be best described as a Darwinian collection of natural history at the top of the stairs.

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Row upon row of brightly coloured birds fill the dark-wooded Victorian cabinets, and the most beautiful butterflies are laid out in 19th century display cases. It's like walking into a natural history museum – except every bug, bear and butterfly is for sale.

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I was fascinated by the humungous black rhinoceros beetles, stick insects and scorpions, but couldn't draw myself away from the glass trays of butterflies in astonishingly vivid hues of irridescent turquoise.

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Choosing your bugs to mount is an exciting (and extremely satisfying) experience, akin to a child in a sweet shop, except you're pointing to exotic insects, not sherbet fountains. Your choice of butterflies and insects are mounted on a special display case, and prices for individual insects start at a few Euros. It's a wondrous place to browse, and kids will be equally fascinated.
Deyrolle

46 rue du Bac
75007 Paris
Tel. 01 42 22 30 07

Métro: Rue du Bac

Les Deux Magots

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I know, it's a bit touristy these days but I couldn't pass up the
chance to have a latte in Sartre, de Beauvoir and Wilde's old hang-out.
Except I didn't have coffee, I went for the hot chocolate instead. And it was rich, luscious and quite simply The Best Hot Chocolate Ever. Nice old tiles, too.
Les Deux Magots

6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés
75006 Paris
Tel. 01 45 48 55 25

Métro:
St-Germain-des-Prés

Pierre Herme

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Pierre Herme is everything that Laduree is not: modern, minimalist and a wee bit sexy. With not a hint of gilt in sight. But we're still talking about macaroons here, and Monsieur Herme's are very lovely indeed with big bold colours and delicate flavours. A perfect take-away treat to enjoy in the nearby Jardin du Luxembourg.
Pierre Herme

72 rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris
Tel. 01 43 54 47 77
Métro: Saint-Sulpice
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 10am-7pm
Saturday 10am-7:30pm

Sunday 10am-7pm

Part 2 coming tomorrow.


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April 30, 2009

Wee finds: Boulangerie shopper

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I was in Paris for the day last week (in fact, you can read all about my thrifty, budget adventures over at Oolamoola.co.uk) and spotted this gorgeous tote bag in the window of Tumbleweed, a children's toy shop in the Marais. The shop wasn't open when I visited, but I'm pretty sure the price tag said €45. There's also an uber-chic kids' fashion boutique next door. For very pretty petit bebes.
 
Tumbleweed
19 rue de Turenne
Paris 75004, France


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August 9, 2008

French label Bon-Ton loves Liberty for Little Girls…

BonTon Liberty print top, US$55, from Estella NYC.

BonTon Liberty print top, US$55, from Estella NYC.

BonTon Liberty print top, US$55, from Estella NYC.


Read about my visit to BonTon in Paris.

BonTon is also stocked at Petit Aime in Notting Hill…

Petit Aime
34 Ledbury Road
London W11 2AB
Tel. 020 7221 3123

Click here for a Wee Birdy map.


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August 5, 2008

Shopping online: Atelier WM candles at Colette

I'm currently crushing on these surreal hand candles from young Parisian collective Atelier WM, which are based on prints of real hands and are available in three different signs: West Coast, Hard Rock and Star Trek. They're now available instore and online at French store Colette. (My vote? Vulcan, all the way.)


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