Visitors to Paris love taking photos of the large carriage doors that guard the entrance to the city’s historic apartment buildings, but they rarely venture beyond. But not all of them are locked. If you see a plaque at the entrance, there are likely offices and a few shops in the courtyards of these buildings, open to the public during opening hours. Two of my favorite French boutiques are hidden inside these courtyards.
On the Left Bank, I’ve become a total addict of La Compagnie du Kraft (LCK), which produce refillable Kraft paper notebooks with cardboard or leather covers right outside Paris (working by hand, they are proudly “The least productive producer of notebooks in the western world”). They are at the back of the courtyard Cour de Saxe at 12 Rue Jacob, 6th. Drop on by, they all speak English and include embossing of initials on your leather-bound notebooks. UPDATE JULY 2015: The shop is moving! Stay tuned for the new address on their FB page.
On the Right Bank, Caroline De Marchi makes luxury leather goods, specifically purses, designed in Paris and handmade in Italy. Her boutique, at 217 rue Saint‐Honoré, 1st, is just a few steps from Colette, but once you step through the doors of the building and walk to the end of the second courtyard, you’ll feel miles from the crowds. My favorite bag this season is the adorable Cubo Zèbre & Jaune Citron, a bit out of my budget. No worries if the shop seems out of yours, the friendly staff at the boutique welcome anyone who is curious about the brand…word of mouth is always the best press!