x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

House Doctor: Be open to the unexpected

Arm yourself with a shopping plan for your home redesign, but if you stumble upon a wonderful shop don't pass it by, especially in Paris.

After the Second World War, the Boulevard St Germain - a broad area in the 6th and 7th arrondisements that includes some of the oldest parts of Paris - became one of the most significant intellectual centres in Paris. The district now houses numerous art galleries, antique shops, bookstores, cafes and high-end designer shops. On narrow, winding streets, historic buildings provide refuge for shoppers looking for unique pieces for their home.

Carré Rive Gauche (Left Bank Square) is an established area that caters to those shopping for art, furniture, antiques and decorative items. It is a collection of about 110 member dealers and galleries, which offer everything from contemporary art to archaeological treasures and antiquities. The variety of finds seems limitless.

There also are many cafes, patisseries, brasseries and bistros scattered throughout the district, easily allowing for a relaxing one- or two-day tour of the area. Just be prepared for a lot of walkingcrowds of people.

The numerous bookshops are ideal for researching everything from interior design and architecture to art, fashion and photography. Many of these "libraries" stockbooksthat are impossible to find elsewhere. Just as in the antique stores and galleries, the clerks know their products very well and are helpful. A simple question (even in English) will lead you to what you are after. One of these not-to-miss stores is Librairie 7L, opened by Karl Lagerfeld in 1999.

On the Rue de Lille, I came across the RCM Galerie, Chahan Galerie, Galerie Danbon-Pokorny, ALB Antiquités and Mandalian-Palillard, a dealer that showcasesthe significant furniture designers of 20th-century modernism.

Adjacent to this micro-district are many others lining the Rue Bonaparte, including Céline & Fabien and Galerie Chastel-Maréchal, both of which represent important furniture designers from the 1930s. Noteworthy galleries in the surrounding area that proved helpful in my search include Galerie Camoin-Demachy and Les Coin des Arts Galerie.

Ultimately, my strategy for shopping and research in a city as big as Paris is to narrow down options and focus on making the best of the time that I have. Finding resources often occurs by trial and error. Although prior research provided general information on where to look for art and antiques, most resources are found by wandering up and down streets, then stumbling upon a wonderful shop.