Paris is one of the world’s capitols and a city rip to Paris would therefore not be complete without visiting some of the iconic flagship stores of the legendary brands like Chanel, and Hermès who have become part of Parisian culture. Although Hermès is nowadays renowned for its iconic Birkin and Kelly bags, the house of Hermès originally rose to fame with saddles that were delivered to all the courts in Europe. The first shop opened its doors in 1882 in Rue du Faubourg in Paris, which you can still visit. However, I opted to go to their Rive Gauche (meaning: left river bank) store at 17 Rue de Sèvres in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood that opened in 2010. Why? Let’s dive into it!
Hermès Rive Gauche is located in a historic building with an architectural design that is as distinctive as the Hermès articles on display. The monumental building was once home to the Lutetia swimming pool. The interior designers and architects of RDAI left in many elements of the Art Deco style, but also brought in contemporary design with a reverence to yesteryear. Especially in the 1930s the swimming pool was a real elite hot spot and base of the oldest swimming club of Paris.
You can still see the original structure with its mosaic tiling on the floor and preserved ironwork. But the real eye catchers are three woven wood pods that stretch nine meters high and serve as walk-through departments. Curves, waves, roundness, and the skylight coming in from the glass roof are all elements of the space that pay homage to the Lutetia pool.
The store itself has a minimalist feel so that the designs can shine. Beautiful leather goods, silk shawls, and home accessories are luring you further into the store. There is a small bookshop, and a tea shop overlooking one of the balconies. In the wooden huts you can swoon over their new home collection of fabrics, furnishings and tableware. There is even a Hermès bicycle with leather details of which I will not repeat the price tag, but you better get an alarm and a dozen or so locks to go with it. Hermès Rive Gauche is definitely worth a visit, even if you don’t care much for fashion.
the photos are taken by me with my iPhone