Hermès Boutique (Paris, France)


hermes paris boutique storeMain entrance to the 'sellerie'. And yes, that woman is appropriately carrying a crocodile Birkin.

Let me start off by saying that I'm not the kind of girl who obsesses over Birkin/Kelly bags or who collects silk scarves and twillys like a crazy person. I've always been grateful for the fact that most Hermès items don't reflect my style - and my bank account thanks me for it. While Hermès might not be my favorite brand in terms of what it stocks, it's still the one I admire the most. It's been company-controlled for six generations, shuns mass production and the assembly line - therefore making it probably the only luxury retailer out there who still creates hand-made goods - and believes in using natural fibres and materials. It's the ultimate luxury label. And while many dream of owning one of their beautifully crafted bags; every time I come out of an Hermès store, I have the sudden urge to get a horse so I can buy one of their saddles, harnesses and any other equestrian gear I might need.

hermes advertising campaignVintage ads promoting the 'sellerie'/saddlery.

hermes advertising campaignEquestrian themed ads throughout the years.

What I love most about Hermès is the history behind the brand. Founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermès the company started out creating harnesses for horse carriages belonging to the wealthy and royal. Later on, his son Claude-Émile introduced saddles to the range, moving the headquarters to 24 rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré in 1878, where it still stands today. The building, which had formerly housed a fine grocery store, had a saddlery on the ground floor, with living quarters one floor higher. These days the entire building belongs to Hermès and you'll still find the 'sellerie' towards the back with its own entrance located on rue Boissy d'Anglas, which is the one I chose to photograph for this blog. Throughout the years, Hermès added scarves, bags, jewelry, homewares, perfume, other leather accessories and of course men's and women's clothing to the range.

hermes runwayhermes runway menWomen and men FW09 runway looks.

While they never strayed far from traditional and sophisticated luxury, the owners always made the effort to keep the brand contemporary, whether it was hiring Martin Margiela, followed by Jean-Paul Gaultier as Creative Director for women's RTW or taking on Pierre Hardy as an accessories designer. But if you had any doubt as to the roots of the brand, the equestrian theme is one that is often used in ad campaigns or integrated into a product design. What you'll also quickly realize once you enter the store, is that if you are a true Hermès fan, you can easily purchase every possible item to make the brand a part of your life, from tea cups and bath towels to playing cards and stuffed animals. The ultra-rich can even commission the company to decorate the interior of their helicopter, car (that is, if you don't already own the Hermès designed Bugatti Veyron), yacht or anything else you might desire, such as the crocodile skin guitar case created for Eric Clapton.

hermes paris boutique storeStore windows from earlier this Spring (above) and the current season (below).

As over-the-top luxurious as the brand may be though, the main flagship in Paris is actually less intimidating than you might imagine and a lot of fun to browse. The main attraction usually begins with the store windows, which are elaborately decorated and come with special sound effects (in the past this has mainly been a mix of birds chirping and jungle noises). If you go on a Saturday, the store will be incredibly crowded. And just in case you forgot that France is one of the few countries that isn't in a recession, seeing people buy bags, scarves and jewelry like there's no tomorrow will probably remind you of this fact, though the main clientele still tends to be wealthy tourists from the Middle East, Russia and Asia. The store has been redesigned several times, and despite the modern touches, I still feel like I'm experiencing a bit of fashion history every time I drop by. The tiled floors and old-fashioned main staircase give an indication of how the store could have looked like back in the day.

hermes parisLeft: The old-fashioned staircase. Right: Wall decorations near the stairs.

hermes bagsThe bag section.

The ground floor is usually the busiest part of the store, mainly because this is where the most coveted items - bags and scarves - can be found. Tables and chairs are scattered about, where clients can sit down to flip through a catalog and choose the leather, model and hardware of various leather bags or accessories. A long scarf counter tends to be the most crowded part of the store, with numerous staff members folding and unfolding the silk wares and customers trying them on in front of the mirrors.

hermes scarf / scarvesThe scarf counter.

My favorite part of the store is the back area where the saddlery is. One artisan was working away at a harness and for a while I perused the different saddles and accessories trying to figure out what I could get my imaginary horse. At the opposite end, I found a small selection of coffee table books, some related to equestrian sports, others referring to art or history.

hermes saddleshermes saddlesThe saddlery including a book section (below right).

Further towards the front of the store I took a quick look at the leather jewelry, the most popular items being the cuffs such as the collier de chien.

hermes jewelry cuffsThe costume jewelry area proved to be quite popular.

Fragrances had their own little section and this was probably the quietest part of the store.

hermes perfumeFragrances (left), silk ties & dress shirts in the men's section (right).

The second-largest area on this floor was dedicated to menswear, with a large selection of silk ties, dress shirts but also a good range of the current RTW collection.

hermes menswearMore menswear (left) and stairs leading to the women's wear.

There are three ways to get to the first floor. Either using the traditional-looking stairs towards the front, the modern glass version in the middle or the old-fashioned elevator near bag section. While the ground floor might not seem as airy and bright, the first floor makes more use of natural daylight, thanks mainly to the skylight in the women's wear section. This area is huge and this is also where you'll realize that bags and scarves are only a small part of what Hermès does. It took me quite a while to scan the different coats, jackets, evening gowns and casual clothes.

hermes ready-to-wearWomen's RTW collections.

The shoe section was slightly easier to take in and I was happy to see they had already started displaying boots and other footwear from the FW09 collection. The signature sandals were available in a wide array of colors along with some very overpriced flip flops (sorry, but I don't think I'd ever pay over EUR 250 for a pair).

hermes shoesThe shoe department.

Along a row of windows, I found more Hermès items you rarely get to see, ranging from limited edition notebooks and agendas to keychains, bookmarks and card holders.

hermes stationaryStationary and other leather goods, including special-print notebooks (right).

What fascinated me the most though, was a small section towards the center where you could purchase baby gifts. I took a peek to see if there was anything I could get my baby niece. Ummm... yeah, something tells me she won't fully appreciate stuffed toys made of real fur going for well over EUR 600. A few non-real-fur toy horses were also available, as well as baby blankets, gloves, hats, and rompers - you could even put together your own set which comes in a little suitcase. Very cute. Very pricey.

hermes children leisurePlaying cards (left) and children's toys made of real fur (right).

More Hermès items I spotted included playing cards, dominoes and other travel games in the 'leisure' area, beach towels and accessories, as well as anything you could possible need to decorate your home.

hermes gloves towelsLeft: The glove counter. Right: Towels, bathrobes and cosmetic cases.

Another very large section housed porcelain, linen and homewares. The entire first floor had a more modern touch with plush carpets and comfy chairs, making this area more reminiscent of a fine department store, than of a luxury flagship.

hermes homeware porcelainHome decor and beach accessories.

hermes linen beddingPorcelain and tableware (left). A very comfy looking bed featuring Hermès linen.

Finally, for those in need of some fine gold or silver jewelry, a separate jewelry area can be found close to the elevator. This is also where the client-service section is situated, where the more wealthy or regular clients can have a seat and talk about custom-orders, place special requests or simply order a ton of bags, as I witnessed one woman do.

hermes jewelryThe fine jewelry area (left) and the old-fashioned elevator (right).

This store might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's definitely an experience even if the brand is a bit too conservative or pricey for your taste. For Hermès fans, I'm guessing a pilgrimage to the main flagship is worth a trip to Paris alone. I would like to note that the staff gets friendlier the further away you stray from the main bag/scarf section (due to the large amount of visitors in this area) and if you want a chance at scoring a Birkin or Kelly without having to put your name on a waiting list (yes, it's possible) you should go early in the morning during a weekday.

hermes boutique storeOverview of the store from the first floor.

Address: rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
Opening Hrs: Mon: 10:00-13:00, 14:15-18:30, Tue-Sat 10:00-18:30
Hermès Homepage & Online Shop

51 comments:

  1. I thought this was one of the most interesting reviews I have read in a long time!I tremendously enjoyed it! I am not a Hermes girl as well. I never liked Birkin/Kelly bags and never felt a need to get one. I do, however, appreciate the fact that Hermes standing as the last of its kind when it comes to hand-made luxury items. In addition, I always thought that Hermes always managed to come up with the most beautiful ads. Most likely I will not be paying a visit to any Hermes store any time soon, but with this fantastic post I feel as if I just walked out of one.

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  2. Seriously wonderful post! It is full of all kinds of great facts. And, your photos are great. I feel like I'm right there with you.

    I have an award over at my blog for you!
    xo,
    Christina
    http://fabulousfindsandco.blogspot.com

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  3. Beautiful, beautiful review!!! It was so interesting and the images are stunning. I've always loved Hermes ad campaigns, they are so chic and tell a story.
    I am not a Hermes girl myself. I would have a scarf if somebody actually gave it to me as a present, but wouldn't buy it myself... And I'd never buy a bag because to me it's a waste of money. If I had THAT amount of money, then I'd rather get my dream Bottega instead, several of them and a few clothes, too. :)
    Still.... There is something so special about Hermes, I can't help loving it. I guess, because it does have a history and because it's so French.
    I've also used Hermes perfumes. I've been in love with Un jardin sur Le Nil for a long time because it smells of mango and rain and I also adore Un jardin apres la mousson.

    Again, THANK YOU for this review.

    xxx

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  4. i don't have the $$$ to buy a Birkin but i honestly can say it sure is something worth reaching for :) it's that one classic bag that'll last you a lifetime -- now if only Victoria Beckham knows this feeling... LOL

    iyam
    www.styleandbeyond.blogspot.com

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  5. So funny that's you describe it as being not as intimidating as one would think -- we avoided Hermes when we were in Paris for precisely that reason. Now I wish we didn't.

    And even though I am one of those people who collects scarves like a crazy person, I just can't bring myself to drop the dough on an Hermes one. Maybe one day.

    But oh my goodness, that equestrian lifestyle has me sold (even though I haven't been near a horse in 10 years). As does their signature orange. I'm tempted to paint my office that colour (or a version of it).

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  6. I visited this flagship on my last girls' trip to Paris-- just because I wanted to get my relatives scarves from the original boutique. I'm not a crazy Hermes person either, but you have to admire their commitment to workmanship and tenacity, in this world of "fast luxe." Also, when I'm older, I'd love to carry an Hermes Kelly. It's very dignified looking. But until then, I'll carry my trendy purses ;)

    Great, well-researched review, as always, dear!

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  7. Happy sunny monday to you!
    Guess what I love the most about the Hermes store?
    It´s directly across the Lanvin store ;)

    When I visited the store last time I recognized a wonderful big wood horse from an antique carrousel... it looked at me and said: Take me home ;)

    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!!!

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  8. Oh wow this is incredible...I have always wondered what the big deal is about Hermes (ahhh I hope the fashion gods don't strike me down), although I DO respect their commitment to craftmanship and never selling out! I just don't think I will ever have a Birkin! Maybe a vintage one...how cool would that be?
    Such a fabulous review...I definitely want to hit this store my next stop to Paris. Last time I was there I was B.R.O.K.E so going to the fabulous stores was pretty depressing! :)

    I hope you are having a great monday, you sweet ray of sunshine! XOXO

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  9. Oh and you made me smile, too ;)
    ... It was the big horse which had a sign in front "please don´t touch" ;)

    GOOD NIGHT TO YOU!!!

    (Oh yes... Benjamin Blümchen und Bibi Blocksberg... also Hui Buh das Schlossgespenst ;)... TKKG and Hanni & Nanni .... ;) So sweet you remember these, too!!!
    When I was ill and in bed I loved to hear all my "spoken books" again and again!

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  10. Posh. Pretty. Perfect. Between these photographs and your review, I'm convinced that I could happily live out the rest of my years in this shop! :)

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  11. before reading this post i have to admit that i did not know much about hermes, other than that it was a brand out of my price range!

    last year my co-worker and i bought our boss an hermes tie. it was gorgeous. and now i receive hermes catalogues. gulp. they have many beautiful items that i cannot afford. but if/when in paris, you have convinced me that i can and should enter their beautiful shop. i can always just buy some perfume, or possibly one of those killer leather cuffs.

    sorry to babble, but it is kind of weird about their website. it does not have much. at all. strange, but maybe they want more mystique, and want people to physically visit rather than buying on-line.

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  12. when i was there, i wanted to move right in. i love that store. my hotel was just around the corner and it was heavenly to visit everyday for a week. : )

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  13. Love those yellow pants! Another fab post, darling!

    xoxox,
    CC

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  14. Oh, im so jealous! I could spend hours looking just at scarves. I could spend DAYS in that store. Once again, thank you for bringing this to all of us!

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  15. WOW! I confess I would luv to own a Birkin bag, that is if someone gives me one! I can't believe I just enjoyed a fabulous tour of Hermes in my flannel PJ's! ( I have the air on and it's cold. ) Thanks for another fab post, I'm sure to have an amazing dream after this wonderful trip into a world of luxury!

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  16. Fantastic post, those equestrian themed ad's are beautiful!

    Also interesting to read the history of the label. I love the fact that the brand has undergone organic evolution from generation to generation gorwing and expanding the lines offered. All the while sticking to the old values of simplicity and luxury

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  17. Oh Hermes....I wish i could afford you! I think it's amazing that you do reviews for all these wonderful stores. I just wish I could fly to Paris right now and check them out for myself!
    clothedmuch.blogspot.com

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  18. That's what I love about your blog! you teach me something every single time I read it! thank you thank you thank you! I'm better versed in the history of Hermes than I ever was :-)
    xo!
    -Gisela
    www.heightsoffashion.typepad.com

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  19. Hook up tv+cable box, I'm moving in!!!
    Great post...I'm surprised the sales people look very friendly! haha...

    XO*

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  20. oh, what a great review! and that Birkin bag... gorgeous :)
    happy Tuesday, xoxo

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  21. i was just in paris, but not in the hermes shop..now I wish I had been there
    great pictures.. love to have a birkin <3

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  22. great insight into hermes, although like you, it is not really my style (and i'm pleased!!)

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  23. Hermès is wonderful and I can fully appreaciate their history and their designs, although it is not my style either

    xxx

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  24. This was a fascinating post. I enjoyed the photos. It was interesting to read the information about Hermes. I would love to walk around that store. Have a great day. Take care. Cheers!

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  25. the store is so much gorgeous! i wish i could be there.. :(

    xx

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  26. Hermes heaven - fabulous post. I love nothing more than to become more educated when I read a post or an interview. Many thanks, I am a huge fan of Hermes.

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  27. Wow, great post! You gave so much information, and it was all so interesting to read. I love the photos, too. I especially love your equestrian themed collage! Very creative and informative post, my dear!

    Sydnie
    www.takemeouttotherunway.blogspot.com

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  28. Great post!
    I love the equestrian ads. =)

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  29. seriously, I heard angels sing while I read the post. just HEAVENLY :-)

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  30. I read your post on my Blackberry while in Starbucks having a hot cocoa and lemon poppy side loaf yesterday morning :) Love it even more on a big computer screen :) I must admit that I would love a Birkin...but probably not going to happen till at least our mortgage is paid off, LOL.

    Thank you for your sweet comments. Why is it that I can always count on you? You're wonderful and I'm so glad to have *met* you. xx muah!!!

    Husbands are funny, I hope you wear them soon :) Did you have your Anniversary yet? I seem to remember it was coming up...

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  31. I'm not gonna lie. What I wouldn't do for a scarf. Ah ha. Maybe I can get a keychain.

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  32. Oh wow! I didn't realize the breadth of the Hermes brand! I feel like you. I can admire and drool over the quality and the history, but personally I would use the store as a museum rather than a shop (good thing I don't have money for a Birkin or Kelly- hahaha). Great review! I always feel I'm in all the locations you describe/shoot!

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  33. I dream of owning one someday but just like you, my budget will not afford it. Great review and even better pictures to show for it!

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  34. I had no idea about the whole history behind the brand...thanks for sharing!
    Like you, i have never really been crazy about the Birkin bag (i think Victoria Beckham might be one of their biggest customer ;0) or the scarves but i still admire the quality of their things.

    Yes, i can't wait to visit Paris for my birthday shopping spree :)

    Have a great week!
    Annax

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  35. thank you sooo much for allowing us to take the tour thru one of the most luxuriuos brand store!!! Great photos....also love love your blog as always!
    love,
    fashionista

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  36. This is a fantastic review on Hermes! I did not know all the history behind the brand until now. I love all the pictures you included in the article as well. It's refreshing to know there are still some brands out there that take some serious pride in their work and don't mass produce everything. I don't know when I'd ever be able to afford Hermes, but it might happen someday! : )

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  37. They are so fancy! For sure, but like you, I would never buy something that expensive! Otherwise, as I love scarfs, they really are the Meca for me! hehehe

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  38. I used to be really into horse riding and always dreamed of owning a beautifully crafted saddle! Now I'd rather have shoes but they were just so beautiful. Great blog - I love this post, you write really well. Thanks for your comment :) I'm gonna follow.

    http://flowergirlfashion.blogspot.com/

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  39. The store looks huge but it's so organized! I never really visit luxury stores (usually just admire them from outside) and it's so interesting to read and see how they look from the inside! I didn't know Hermes sell so many products and I really enjoy getting to more about their brand! xxoxoxoxo

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  40. I'm moving to Paris in a couple of weeks and I am so going to use your blog to help me accommodating:)

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  41. France isn't in recession? Interesting! I figured that they'd be since they're all about luxury products and in recession that's the first thing people cut. But then again the rich will always be rich it's the middle class people that suffer the most from recessions...

    I would love to be on your blog roll! And you're on mine now too! Thanks a lot for adding me :)

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  42. I totally agree with you about not being a huge fan of hermes however my friends seems to be craving the bracelets like it's nobodies business.

    great info...the store looking beautiful....I wish i lived in paris..dayum

    and would u like to exchange links?!

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  43. i would so love to go to france!
    xx

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  44. me too! i've always felt like i want to buy a horse after i visit hermes. at the very least breeches :) great pictures and article!

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  45. how amazing that it's been around for so long! i'm the same with a lot of designer labels. i admire the range they have and their history, but i wouldn't go out and max out my credit card for it.

    hope you're having a lovely week!!! did i tell you my tooth is better? =D

    and thanks for your lovely comments. they make my day!!

    xxx

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  46. Thank you for the nice comment and leading me to your wonderful blog. I miss Paris so much. I've been living there for the last year and just returned to Munich ;(

    Tell Paris I said hi and I'll be back soon <3

    This is a wonderful blog!!!

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  47. great review..and Hermes..gosh i wish i had a money tree. you know i once read that victoria beckham has a collection of birkin bags that are worth over $1 million. can you imagine? i mean i bet they're great and all, but who needs that many hermes bags? kind of loses its exclusivity!

    xx

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  48. I affirm your gift of editorial!! Have you ever considered writing as a career? ;) You rock! I love Hermes but not enough to own an entire collection of them. I just want to own 'key' pieces of the collection like I have an etoupe birkin which I rarely use but I know as I grow older, it'd be something I'd be toting around quite frequently. I am also dreaming of a kelly because I think it suits my personality very much? But that's about it. 1 birkin, 1 kelly, 1 collier de chien and enamel bangles = key pieces. I don't believe in collecting birkins in all colors, same goes with Balenciaga and the likes but I really love bags that suit my various 'persona' which I display differently everyday! They add an accent to my outfit but of course, undesirable if I'd to break the bank for it! LOL ;)))

    Wishing you all the best...
    xx Adeliet

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  49. ::SIGH:: I can't wait to visit Paris one day...I love visiting your blog, I always feel like I'm there

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  50. NY Hermes >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Paris Hermes and this is rather surprising to me.

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