This month we noticed two changes that starkly represent the evolving face and commercialization of the Marais. We're not complaining about it, as long as no one replaces any of our gay bars with The Body Shop or Zara. We mean it!
Say goodbye to grease monkeys in the Marais. The last remaining garage and gas station closed on rue des Archives. As much as this place wasn’t somewhere we frequented, it was a bit of a landmark. With its graffiti-ed walls and the occasional tunes of a garage band escaping from under the roller door it gave a local, community feel to the Marais.
In its place, a new multibrand boutique has opened, Jeanne & Martin. It is by the same team who opened Mademoiselle Jeanne in the 11e arrondissement, but this time with menswear as well. They stock Blackstone, American Vintage, Scotch & Soda, and Wrangler. Practical, but it's no gas station.
The other change is one tinged with joy and sadness. Joy because Bocage is one of our favorite shoe brands, it’s French, and they opened a men’s store in the Marais. Sadness because it replaced Free’P’Star, one of the most fun vintage/recycled/second-hand fashion stores to dig through where you could find the perfect addition to make a great Prince Eric (the hot one from The Little Mermaid) Halloween costume. Ask Craig about that one...
These changes are hot on the heels of the Monclear opening on rue des Archives. Small, independent, local business are being taken over by large retails and focusing on men. Is the Marais going to become just a high-end shopping destination? Or will it hit a saturation point soon? We'll keep our eyes on it.
JEANNE & MARTIN - 46 rue des Archives, 75004
BOCAGE - 8 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004