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 this shop is the house’s second-largest (after the Right Bank flagship) it surpasses the "store" concept on several counts.
A 1935 Art Deco landmark, this site was originally the Lutetia swimming pool—although in more recent decades it has also been a Dorothée Bis boutique, a mattress store, and a designer outlet. In its new configuration, it makes a contemporary counterpoint to the mothership: where tradition prevails in a warren of departments there, here it is all open space, freestanding counters and skylights.
As the first visitors arrived, president Patrick Thomas said, "We don’t consider this a new store—we feel more like saying welcome to our maison."
Guests are greeted by an in-house florist, Baptiste Pitou; a bookshop invites them to browse. Downstairs on the landmark mosaic floors, the celebrated scarves, ties, perfumes, jewelry, fashions, and accessories are arranged in freestanding displays while towering huts in braided ash wood frame the location’s main events: lifestyle collections including tableware, home textiles, carpets, wallpaper, silver, objets and re-editions of 1930s-era furniture by Jean-Michel Frank and Pippa nomadic pieces upholstered in the same leather used for those Birkin bags. Scattered throughout are items from the house’s latest line "Petit h," made entirely from leftover cuttings. For instance: a fishnet tote wrought from the remains of printed silk squares, a bar-shaped lamp made of delicately painted coffee cups.
Speaking of which, a small café/tea bar called Le Plongeoir serves 17 blends of Le Palais des Thés teas and light lunches—ideal for soaking up the ambiance, and sure to become one of the hottest tables in town.
17 rue de Sevrès, 6th.
Tel 01 42 22 80 83
Open Monday-Saturday 10:30am-7pm
Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent.