Cult Shop: a boutique window into Paris’s past
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I wanted to have a shop that makes you dream, that transports you to a bygone Paris,” says Toulouse-born illustrator and designer Marin Montagut of his namesake boutique, which he opened last June. Housed in a former tapestry workshop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a stone’s throw from the Jardin du Luxembourg, the lifestyle shop, with its pine-green façade and striped awning, is a love letter to the city.
The past is a perennial source of inspiration for Montagut, who grew up in a family of antique dealers and artists, and used to assist film-set decorator Christian Sapet in his antiques shop in the Saint-Ouen flea market. It was here he met style doyenne Inès de la Fressange, with whom he co-wrote the coffee-table book Maison: Parisian Chic at Home, a window into the homes of tastemakers including Sézane founder Morgane Sézalory and Isabel Marant CEO Sophie Duruflé. “I have a big passion for flea markets,” says Montagut, who sourced all of the shop’s decor from antique traders. “I go every weekend.”
Marin Montagut is divided into three rooms, each lined with antique shelving and apothecary-style cabinets. Paris itself is a recurrent motif: the artist’s illustrations of the Jardin du Luxembourg’s green metal chairs and the shop’s “Rue Madame” street sign feature on everything from recycled, mouth-blown glass vases (€125) and porcelain tableware (cups from €38), to cushions and silk scarves (€95). “Usually, there are a lot of tourists in the shop,” he says. “But I also see locals, because Parisians love their city.”
Scented candles (€68) evoke some of Montagut’s favourite aromas: Sicilian orange blossom, the fireplaces of Paris, and tomato leaves (inspired by the vegetable garden in his country house in Normandy). Hollowed-out secret storage books (€115) feature Montagut’s hand-painted, tarot card-inspired covers: “I was inspired by the 18th century, when people cut inside books to make a little box in which to keep their secret things – such as jewellery or private letters,” he says.
Clustered on the walls of the shop’s middle room, dubbed the “boudoir”, is a collection of decorative handpainted plates (€95), botanical wall hangings inspired by 18th-century engravings (€188) and porcelain ex-votos (€45) – small tokens hung in holy places as an offering of gratitude to a saint or divinity. These are one of the shop’s bestsellers, says Montagut.
Finally, hidden away in the back room is a small wooden desk – a recreation of Montagut’s workspace in his Montmartre studio, which is strewn with paintbrushes and watercolours. It’s a further immersion into his charmingly anachronistic world. “When you enter the store, it’s like you’re travelling to the past of Paris. The smell of the furniture, the creak of the floorboards – it’s a rare, real experience at a time when every shop is the same.”