Our apartment, although tiny, has just about everything we could need. Everything that is, except for a coffee maker! While there is a quaint little cafe on almost every block of Paris, going to one each day would certainly ad up quite quickly, and the ones near us, due to our proximity to the Eiffel Tower, are quite pricey.
So off we went to find a coffee maker, and what better a street to look on than Rue du Bac. This street has many great shops on it that sell modern designer furniture and kitchen ware. On our walk there, we ran into our second protest in two days. The first was one by the nurses who were on strike. We’re not sure what was being protested, but judging by the hundreds of police in riot gear, these weren’t medical staff complaining about low wages…
Our First stop was Le Bon Marche. Built in 1863 by Aristide Boucicaut, this was one of the first department stores in Paris. The building was designed so that as you entered, you felt like you were going into a palace. The first floor is menswear and jewellery, the second floor is solely for the ladies, and the third floor was modern furniture and kitchen ware. The kitchen ware section was truly incredible with tons of interesting gadgets and gizmos with great design elements. It’s hard to imagine this kind of selection in Canada! We saw some interesting coffee makers but none of them “floated our boat”, so after a quick look at some of their classic modern furniture (egg chair, Eames chair, and many others that we can’t afford), we grabbed a quick espresso at the in store cafe and then headed next door to The Conran Shop.
The Conran shop is sort of a high end Ikea. This shop, founded by Terrance Conran came to Paris in 1992 and took up the old building of Le Bon Marche which had been designed by Gustav Eiffel. The store has an incredible collection of classic modern designs as well as many new up and coming designs. We knew we’d find a coffee maker that would suit our style in here, but would it be affordable?
In the end we picked up an Alessi Pina stovetop espresso maker. It was more than the standard coffee maker, but it had a really great design. We were slightly disappointed that it was actually designed by Pierro Lisoni for Alessi, and not by the Senior himself… It does make great coffee though! Now all we needed was some fresh coffee, luckily we didn’t need to search very long…
Le Grand Epicerie is possibly the greatest grocery store in the world. Right across the street from Le Bon Marche, it has the greatest variety of products we have ever seen. They had an entire aisle of high end chocolate bars, another aisle solely for coffee, and on every turn you found new interesting products you had never seen before from all over the world. In the beer aisle they even had bottle of Fin Du Monde from Quebec! We found a nice can of Illy coffee and headed home to test out our new machine.
We’ll be heading out to Rue du Bac again soon I’m sure, there were many more shops that we simply didn’t have the time to go into!