We'll be visiting Paris shortly, our first trip, and I am
hoping that some of you more experienced travellers can point me in
the right direction to find jewelry shops, galleries, and any
museums that have particular focus on jewelry.
I hope you’ve got some time on your hands because Paris is a mecca
for jewelry related field trips.
It is also a city of “quartiers” in that shops of a particular
interest seem to clump together. So for good high-end shops and
galleries you’ll want to check out Place Vendome and the nearby
streets. Boucheron (www.boucheron.com) is somewhat typical of what
you’ll find in this area. Astronomically priced and often quite
stimulating from a craftsmanship point of view. Lots of
experimentation in exotic alloys --black gold, “chocolate” gold,
etc-- and gemstone cuts. Generally you’ll see a lot of contemporary
variations on “regal” designs: gem encrusted and heavy enough to
choke a rapper!
A little to the West along Rue St. Honor� you’ll find interesting,
innovative and antique collections of jewelry, predominantly in
gold. Great for seeing what is happening in the meld of ancient and
contemporary designs. The quality of some of the work here is
astounding! Much less gemstone oriented than what you’ll see in and
around Place Vendome.
And of course there is the Marais --hard to be specific, it’s an
all-day walkabout kind of place-- for contemporary work in silver.
Some of it is regular flea market fare but there are shops that have
very hip and edgy designs. (Note that the majority of the Marais
shops tend to offer a variety of goods, not just jewelry alone. So
what looks at first like a clothes shop may in fact have quite an
impressive collection of artisan jewelry. Like I said, it’s that
kind of place.)
The jewelry trade section of Paris is focused around Rue Temple and
Rue R�aumur and isn’t quite as interesting as one might expect.
As to the museums I highly recommend the Louvre’s Egyptian, Greek,
Roman, Etruscan and Mesopotamian sections if you’re into the
historical aspects of the art. I’ve spent hours photographing,
studying and learning from the pieces and representations of jewelry
scattered throughout the regular displays in these areas. I can’t
speak much of the other areas --terrible, I know-- but knowing the
Louvre I’d bet that no matter where you go you’ll find something of
I’ve also found the Mus�e d’Armie very rewarding for their fine
collections of gold, silver and even gemstone decorated arms and
armour, much of it Napoleonic. Admittedly that might be a bit far
afield for some but if your interests run into metalworking as much
as jewelrymaking then you might be pleasantly surprised.
Enjoy your trip! Paris is a gem in and of itself.