Merci Paris 3ème

After all the venting about Merci on the blogosphere, I had to go take a stroll in the 3rd arrondissement to find out what all the fuss was about.

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Merci is actually more of a tourist shop, but a hip one. Hidden behind the big doors of an old building off the rue Beaumarchais,  it welcomes you in its famous courtyard where a little red car has now become the new monument of Paris in the background of people’s selfiestick selfies. The store is really big, and my typical kind of store: selling Parisian cliché books, stationary, bathroom or kitchen things and even clothes and jewellery. I would describe it as a modern Parisian version of Anthropologie. Except for the fact it’s filled with people who like me also read about it and came to visit it, rather than shop. Very little Parisians in sight. CNV00005

After having a little walk around, wanting to buy pretty notebooks and random things I probably don’t need, I sat down at their café which I must say is really lovely. So far it’s the one café in Paris that I sat out which wasn’t old style, cliché or noisy and had unfriendly staff. The funny thing about Paris is that anytime someone appears as friendly, it’s so surprising it feels you just bumped into an angel. IMG_6485 IMG_6475IMG_6483

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I really enjoyed sitting down by one of the big windows, in the sunlight, looking at the massive bookshelves and sipping some nice cold water slightly infused with fresh mint.

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It was so calm I was able to sit there for a couple of hours and read my book. Something I hadn’t really been able to do anywhere else in Paris up to that point as the city is so crowded it takes real effort to find a nice silent spot to read.

CNV00004 I grabbed a menu to order some breakfast. First thing that took me off guard was the prices… It is true when they say Parisian life is expensive: surely I’m not the only one who thins 2 soft boiled eggs for 9€ is ridiculous… I still ordered it, hoping those eggs and soldiers should be bloody delicious and asked for a cappuccino to come with that.

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I won’t lie to you, those soldiers (we call them “mouillettes in French) were the best soldiers I have ever dipped in my egg yolk. It came in a very generous amount, served by a very sweet waitress, and a really big serving of butter. The eggs were cooked really well, not too runny, just cooked to perfection. The cappuccino was quite disappointing and not worth €4.50 as whoever made it did not know how to properly steam milk. But I still feel like I had a great breakfast by myself. I love me time. I was worried I’d be really lonely, but actually it’s good to take some time to treat oneself: you have time to think, read, walk around free as a bird. You can also watch and listen to the strangers around you, be curious or judgemental when Americans show up at a french café like I witnessed at Merci and make silly requests for the food which a French café would obviously not serve. I feel like Merci café has the profile to be a really cool and hip modern Parisian café where people can come sip coffee, catch up, have business meetings or work on their laptop. The only issue is the crowd… Because Parisian cafés are usually so old style, and all look alike, a new trendy place like this one gets a lot of publicity, mostly read by non Parisians and the store as well as the café end up turning into a tourist attraction, which is quite a shame. However I went there early when it was still nice and quiet and can say it’s “safe” to go for breakfast before 11 and it’s definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in the Marais, one of my favourite Parisian neighbourhoods. And you know what? The magnificent Place des Vosges is 10 minutes away, and guess what? Victor Hugo used to live there! And you can visit his apartment! A must!

A bientôt!

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