On The Journal


Paris is a city that is very close to my heart. My brand, Merci Maison was born from an inspired and mutual love for both vintage and contemporary design. The brand is imbued with a unique, European-style sensibility. Every piece - whether it is designed, created or sourced (whether a Paris flea-market find or one-of-a-kind commission) - is intended to be both reflective and invigorating, able to exist in harmony with its surrounds. This is what Paris means to me, it is a city of warmth, it is modern with a classic twist that calls to me with its immense beauty and charm.

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Day 1

  I love staying at Chateau Voltaire – a chic small boutique hotel spanning three buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Immersed in the historic heart of the capital - poised between the Jardin des Tuileries, the Opera Garnier and the Louvre - it is the perfect starting point for a Parisian adventure. The decor reflects its deep history but with a modern twist, much like the city itself - it all creates an exciting contemporary atmosphere. Every room is different, but all share the same combination of luxurious furnishings and whimsical fixtures with a soft, soothing colour palette.

      Some of my other favourite stays; 

Hotel Hana is a newly completed boutique hotel in the bustling area nicknamed “Little Tokyo”, and pairs traditional Japanese design with French craftmanship. The interiors are inspired by Japanese Ryokan but have been blended with an artful application of print, texture and colour to create a juxtaposition of two worlds.

Pavillon De La Reine brings a charming country mansion feel to the middle of the Marais, another deep immersion into another world. It feels like you are transported instantly into another region, but still deeply feels French at heart. 

After flying I always like to reset with a steam and sauna. The wellness area at Chateau Voltaire is so special – the “Water basin” is underground, a beautiful white stone serene space with a sauna and traditional wooden buckets over the showers. The perfect place to relax and unwind after a long flight or a long day.

I like to ride an e-bike around the city and get myself a little bit lost exploring the city. I like to give myself the time and permission to just wander, and wonder. Paris is filled with hundreds of different museums, parks, art galleries, shops and wine bars each as interesting and filled with charm as the next.

Chez Nous is my go to Parisian wine bar. Perfect for a charcuterie board and natty wine after a long day, located by the Seine, across one of the city’s oldest and most recognisable bridges, the Pont Neuf. It is a great way to experience the Parisian wine culture. Just a warning, there is no wine list - but that is part of the fun. Simply describe what type of wine you like and you always end up with the perfect drop to match the moment and your mood.

Day 2

The magic hour for me is when I wake up early while the city is still asleep and I run through the Jardin Du Palais Royal and through to the Jardin Des Tuileries. There is something so tranquil about these public spaces so early in the morning when they are quiet, with no tourists.

Breakfast - When in Rome right!? Well in Paris you can’t have breakfast without having a croissant. The best of the best - you know the buttery, flaky, crispy yet somehow soft and chewy inside kind - are found at Du Pain et des Idèes next to Canal Saint Martin, which is also a picturesque stroll if you have time to spare afterwards.


Paris has an impressive catalogue of grand, tourist-filled museums and galleries and when I am in Paris I am a sponge for visual  inspiration. I love the Fred Gehry-designed Foundation of Louis Vuitton, which has exhibitions regularly changing enough for a visit each trip. However, I would also highly recommend trying a few of the more petite and lesser known ones as well, grabbing a baguette for lunch from one of the many cafe’s surrounding them as I take it all in. Some of my favourites are;

Galerie Patrick Seguin – (a favourite!) https://www.patrickseguin.com/en/

Almine Rech https://www.alminerech.com/

Galerie Perrotin https://www.perrotin.co

 Dinner - My little treat when I travel to Paris is going to Hotel Costes for dinner. The trick is to ask to be seated outside, you get to experience outdoor dining while taking in all of the beautiful architecture of the building. If you go, you must try the burger, the veal chop (best secret ever) and for dessert - please order the cheesecake. Linger a while after dinner and pop into the bar after for a drink, it has a retractable roof and beautiful ambiance to make the most of a summer Parisian evening sky. 

Day 3

I often travel to Paris specifically to visit the flea markets - Marche Aux Puces. This is the place I go to find inspiration for my own designs and to source unique, one off pieces for clients and projects. The best days to go are on the weekend, although it is also open on Mondays. The weekends are busy and Mondays are generally quieter but be mindful that not all stalls stay open on the Monday! I also made the mistake of heading there one year while it was the traditional holiday time in France. Over half the stalls were closed, although traders were a little more open to haggling and price bartering during this quieter period. 

I would allow yourself at least a day, if not two, to slowly wander these passageways. It can be a little daunting if you don’t know your way around - after all, it is the world's largest antique market. If you have the time, it would be even better to allow yourself two weekends to explore the markets. There are so many hidden alleyways, every time I visit I discover more and more! Marché Paul Bert Serpette showcases the finest furniture, art and decorative items with real avant-garde interior design aesthetic. It is my personal fav! Marché Vernaison is filled with bizarre and wonderful objects, while Marché Biron is the place to see asian art and furniture typically from the 18th to 20th centuries. And last but definitely not least, is Marché Dauphine - the largest of Saint-Ouen’s markets. Discover anything from furniture, antiques and artwork, vintage records, clothing and prints. But it is quite hard to recommend one or another, since they all have their own spirit and charm. 

A hot tip! Careful taking photos and touching items, it is best to ask each vendor as some are very strict on no photography. Also make sure you say “Bonjour” when entering each stall, even if your French isn’t polished it is good etiquette. What really warms my heart is strolling through the village-like alleys at lunchtime, watching the neighboring antique dealers share a bottle of red, saucisson sec, a baguette and play a hand of cards, gossip and so elegantly smoke a cigarette together.

There are several bistros on the backstreets you can easily stop into for lunch, the fun is in the discovery. I previously stumbled upon the perfect quintessential local French cafe Cafe Le Voltaire this way, nestled at the entrance of the marché. Its vintage, rugged olive green awning paired with simple little chic white umbrellas caught my eye. The menu is traditional French and the prices are very reasonable. It is the perfect spot to stop, refuel and recharge. But equally as fabulous to just sit and people watch. There is something so beautiful about watching the French come and go, chat and sip...

3 Packing Essentials

I never travel without headphones. Music is so important to me, it really helps me creatively and especially if I am traveling alone - it's the best companion. Even if you’re not traveling alone, it's just the best. Music is for the soul! 

A tailored suit is the ultimate travelling companion, dressed up or worn as separates, a beautifully tailored suit covers a multitude of situations and settings.  

Lavender oil - it is so relaxing and helps me sleep. Smell is so nostalgic too, so it’s a little comforting piece that also reminds me of home and the comfort of my own bed. I always like to take with me on the plane, in hotels, wherever I go.. 

Number one travel tip:

Plan but don’t over plan. It’s tempting to want to work your way down a huge list of things to do and see but then I find I don't feel I’ve enjoyed the moment. I plan one thing each day, and let myself discover and just experience what comes next.

The best souvenir from Paris to bring home

Wherever I travel in the world, especially new cities, I like to scope out the best bookstores and even spend a full day there pursuing, reading and working there. The bookstores that I am particularly drawn to are the ones that are designed to feel like a gallery space. It is such a calming and great environment to think creatively and design. I like to always buy one really great design book each trip as a souvenir to bring home with me. A little memory from that trip, a source of inspiration but also a great coffee table book to add to the collection at home. Everybody needs a great coffee table book in their home, you can never have too many! A great little book store in Paris is Librairie 7L. A chic little book store, owned and curated by Karl Lagerfield and recently acquired by Chanel. Books are dedicated to photography, architecture, modern and contemporary art, fashion, design and ceramics line the shelves.

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