I went back to Merci today. Merci is a big shop in a former factory in the 3rd. Merci is super chic. Merci was set up by the owners of Bonpoint children's clothes. Bonpoint are the absolute pinnacle of children's clothes in Paris. They are ridiculously expensive, beautifully made and set the fashion for the under 12s. I blame Bonpoint for the very sombre palette of French children's clothes. Everything is brown, grey, a shade or brown or it will tone with brown. There will be a whole generation of little girls who have been denied wearing pink or other bright colours. The exceptions are the muted, dusky pink which works well with brown or perhaps a dash of hot pink may be allowed with navy but only in winter.
The Parisian mother would never buy anything for her daughter at Gap. The Parisian mother does not allow her daughter to wear any logos except for Hello Kitty. A hat with Charlotte Fraise (Strawberry Shortcake) was found in the park when I was with a group of mothers from school. One mother turned her nose up at the logo and said "I'm sure this doesn't belong to any of your children". Luckily no-one in our family was wearing their Wiggles Dorothy the Dinosaur hat that day.
Back to Merci. All profits from Merci go to a children's charity in Madagascar. There are some big name labels (Stella McCartheny and I can't remember any others) who have sold their clothes to Merci at manufactures' cost. The designer clothes are cheaper than normal (but still expensive!) and Merci has higher profit margin to donate to the charity. Merci also has a furniture department, kitchen department, two cafes, a florist and a whole wall of second hand books. There is also a line of Annick Goutal perfumes (Annick Goutal was the sister of the founder of Bonpoint).
I lunched with an Australian friend in the downstairs cafe. Boring sore tooth again so I was restricted to the very delicious mushroom soup which of course justified the very delicious chocolate mousse.
It was my Australian friend who glanced over the clothes department and asked "Is grey the new black?". Actually, I think the French wear more grey than any other colour all year round. I have to admit that I just bought myself a new grey scarf and have been eying off a dark grey handbag.