Ashley Louise James – Christmas Shopping in BHV Marais
I adore Paris, I was lucky enough to call it my home for 8 months whilst I was studying French at University and I fell in love with its culture, architecture, and fashion. So when a French department store located in the heart of Paris got in touch to ask if I’d like to come along and check out their very British Christmas theme, I jumped at the chance. The store is called BHV Marais and is opposite the Hotel de Ville.
I arrived early yesterday morning by the quick and seamless Eurostar – I even indulged in a croissant on the train to get into the French spirit. The sun was shining and all seemed calm in Paris so I walked the half hour from the Gare du Nord to my very sweet hotel, a boutique hotel called Jules et Jim found in the heart of the Marais. I dropped my bags and headed out for a delicious lunch of steak tatare and red wine before heading over to see what festive surprises awaited at the BHV Marais.
The building itself is very impressive with beautiful French architecture, and the outside of the building has been covered with giant Union Jack flags, christmas trees and presents, and Ho Ho Ho signs. The Christmas windows aren’t being opened officially until Wednesday but I was lucky enough to be given a sneak peek of each window by the department store’s head designer, which was very exciting. Each window follows a British theme meticulously with underground signs, red phone boxes, and these mouse dolls dressed as royal guards whilst showcasing some of the store’s Christmas offerings. It’s really beautiful, it’s a shame that I couldn’t get better photos but the reflections were pretty strong – so you’ll have to come and check it out for yourself. My favourite window is the Liberty’s window as the ceiling has been decorated the most beautiful snow covered roses. BHV Marais have a Liberty’s pop-up running until Christmas and it’s the only place you can buy their things in Paris (well, actually the whole of France).
I asked why they decided to go with a British theme, and they said that for the French London and New York are synonymous with the spirit of Christmas. The design team travelled all the way to Germany to find their Christmas decorations and worked with an illustrator to create these beautiful British illustrations throughout the store, including our good old queen.
Inside the store I noticed that the theme ran consistently throughout the entire 6 floors, and every single detail had been thought of from the mannequins to the cash registers. In the Christmas paper room there were Union Jack umbrellas decorating the ceiling, the thousands of Christmas trees were full of lots of iconically British decorations, and there we’re royal guard toys throughout.
Every single detail has been thought of, and not just in terms of their decorations but also in terms of what they have on offer to buy. There are stands dotted around each floor each with unique Christmas gift ideas from homeware to fashion – they genuinely made it easy to envisage presents for people. They have worked with different brands to create pop up stores – Liberty’s, Anthropologie, InstantLuxe – a brand usually just online that allows you to buy genuine vintage handbags, a vintage pop-up, a homeware brand called Made in Design. I had my eye on so many things – from the clothes (there’s even a Topshop), to the huge offering of shoes, to an amazing Alice and Wonderland book.
On top of the huge selection of things to buy there’s also a table for cooking demonstrations, a Starbucks, a sushi restaurant, an outdoor garden, and probably my favourite part, a rooftop bar that has killer views over Paris and has been decorated into a chalet.
Next we headed to have a look at the luxury stores, that are part of the shopping centre but individual designer boutiques for men including Moncler, Valentino, Gucci and Givenchy. I was shown around the Givenchy store which was just incredible as they’d kept a lot of features typical of a Parisian apartment. The carpet was even the inspiration behind a jumper design. It was beautiful.
Today I get to go and pick some outfits, which I’m so excited about. I already have my eye on some Camper shoes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Does it make you want to come to Paris?
Until next time… x