We met R at the library-like cafe and had a simple breakfast of oeufs à la coque with toast soldiers ready to dip into the soft-runny yolk. R also ordered one of the daily cakes – a buttery lemon cake which went well with our morning detox ginger tea. After breakfast R headed off home to the Marais, my mom sat and read some of the books and I explored the store for a bit then it was back to St. Germain to visit another famous store.
|The whimsical spring picnic window at the left bank’s new Hermes store|
We had passed by the new Hermes space right by the Hotel Lutetia, it’s first rive gauche(left bank) location, several times on our daily walks from the hotel to Saint-Germain-des-Pres but it wasn’t until our last day that we ventured inside to have a look and good thing we did. The store used to be a municipal swimming pool and the space has been lovingly restored, keeping some of the mosaics intact, into a large space to showcase everything Hermes. Near the entrance there is a fragrant and beautifully-presented flower shop with a window display of in-season peonies. There was a section just for scarves, another for books and even a little tearoom/cafe overlooking the rest of the store downstairs. Below, there were pod-like sections for furniture, equestrian kit, cutlery, china and of course, bags and leather items plus anything else that Hermes makes. Whereas their boutique in the rue Saint-Honore is classic and warren-like with smaller rooms leading off to other smaller rooms, this light-filled modern space is a way of making Hermes seem not so classic. With the creation of this one-of-a-kind Hermes emporium, their scarves and bags suddenly seem younger and much more accessible although the prices are still skyscraper high. It’s worth it to have a look, maybe stop for an overpriced drink and at least enjoy the Hermes lifestyle for a few hours.