Mar 13th, 2018, 12:05 PM

Neon, Vinyl, and Pastel, Oh My!

By Henry Hardwick
Sentou, Le Marais, Floor -1. Image Credit: Henry Hardwick
Making a retro dorm room on a mid-century, modern budget.

It's that time of year again: Spring Semester. Until that one fine day where the sun shines and Parisians wear smiles instead of all black, it will be a long stretch of cloudy skies as far as the eye can see accompanied by that pitter-patter Seattle soundtrack. Then there's the moment when the lights go out at every coffee shop this side of the Seine (approx. 19h), and you're left all alone with nothing but your thoughts and that parapluie-covered walk of shame back home. You see, unlike Bleu Olive, your space is in a serious need of color, pillows, and novelty seating to make use of said colored pillows.

Winter is a rough time for us all. The joy of sweater weather and portable blankets gives way to Amazon searches for SAD lamps and spontaneous airline tickets to beaches continents away. Still, there's no reason to hide under your umbrella when you can hide under your own roof, and with this list of Paris' finest, you too can add a bright pop (art) of life that'll make you as happy as a 1950's housewife (wine optional). After one too many Mad Men marathons rendering IKEA too basic (even for your Starbucks-toting self), Mid-Century Modern comes in. It's a mixture of retro, simplicity, and plain old fun! I'll admit- money doesn't buy happiness, but it does buy cool light up message boards with dirty messages.

Bazartherapy, Saint-Martin, Floor -1. Image Credit: Henry Hardwick

There's no better place to begin than Bazartherapy, where kitsch meets class just off of Canal Saint-Martin. With toy robots and replica rockets lining the walls, it's like being a man in a kid's toy store - aka you can actually buy whatever you want, you silly man-child, you. With patches, candles, ceramic pugs, and everything in between encompassing the ground floor, there's no reason not check downstairs as well. With an array of discount merchandise and kitchen decor, this is where the soul of a man never dies (just his savings).

The self-proclaimed "Drugstore of Gifts", Bazartherapy is where you can finally stock up on all your faux bobo needs. Mason jar shaped like a cactus? Check. Vintage green miniature alarm clock? Check. Las Vegas showgirl plates? Check. When you're looking for that one-of-a-kind trinket you didn't know you needed, Bazartherapy is the place to go, because let's face it, where else are you going to find a treasure trove like this?

Address: 15 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010, Paris. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 11h - 19h30, Sunday: 14h - 19h00. 

La Chaise Longue, Rue de Rivoli, Floor 0. Image Credit: Henry Hardwick

If you're looking to color your world with sunshine yellow each day, La Chaise Longue is your one-stop-shop to decorate like a sock hop. From Bluetooth radios to collage Eiffel Towers, this is your newfound home for all things awesome. The devil is in the detail here, and from a mug that says "Championne de French Kiss" to bags with Route 66 patches on them, what details they are, indeed! With the cheesy (yet awesome) gadgets of Sharper Image and the color scheme of That '70s Show, this world of imagination is where every dream comes true - except graduating without accumulating debt.

Have you ever wanted to enjoy your midnight burger and coffee under the warmth of the fluorescent glow of a neon Coca-Cola clock in your own personal diner? What about a tricolor desk that's as patriotic as the person sitting at it? You see, the beauty of La Chaise Longue is that it doesn't have anything you need - just everything you want! It's the type of place you stumble upon, quite literally - there's one just to your left off the Hôtel de Ville metro.

Address: 68 Rue de Rivoli, 75004, Paris. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 9h30 - 20h00, and Sunday, 10h - 20h00.
Address: 22 Rue du Pont Neuf, 75001, Paris. Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 11h - 20h

Fleux', Le Marais, Floor 0. Image Credit: Henry Hardwick

With three storefronts along the same street, no visit to the Marais-or Île de la Cité for that matter- is complete without a stop by Fleux'. Just down the street from Centre Pompidou, the art of modernity has radiated itself right on over to this storefront. Whether you're looking to buy a stuffed animal head to hang on your wall like the proud non-hunter you are or a pair of cactus-shaped socks to go along with the variety of cacti also for sale, you're in luck.

Whether your walls are barren or you just feel the need to plaster them in posters like the middle schooler you were/are, this is the place to go. From minimalist hangings of capital cities (i.e. Paris, London, Jerusalem, etc.) to covers of The New Yorker (and The Parisianer), there's no going wrong right here. Don't forget the animal-shaped wall hooks and the hanging plant pots, because Fleux' goes the whole hog.

Address: 39 Rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004, Paris. Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 11h - 20h, Saturday: 10h30 - 20h, Sunday: 13h - 20h.

Habitat, Pont-Neuf, Floor 0. Image Credit: Henry Hardwick

When it comes to this Habitat, it's more like a museum of modern art and decor. Stepping onto the grand staircase in the middle of the store, you're met with luminescence above and tee-pees below. Sure it's a great store when you're starting a family, but sometimes you can't help but browse the kids' section. The moment I'm too old to buy a miniature croquet set is the moment I no longer want to be an adult.

From colored bunnies to velvet armchairs, this is where the big boys (and girls) come in. It's furniture at its finest - the Sear's catalog of the real world. It doesn't matter if you're in need of a catering set or a woven basket, this place has it all. What it lacks in novelty, it makes up for in practicality, and Habitat actually fits pretty well in-between both.

Address: 8, Rue du Pont Neuf, 75001, Paris. Hours: Monday - Saturday: 10h00 - 19h30
Address: 42/44, Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, 75012, Paris. Hours: Monday - Saturday: 10h00 - 19h30
Address: 35 Avenue de Wagram, 75017, Paris. Hours: Monday - Friday: 10h30 - 19h30. Saturday: 10h00 - 20h00
Address: 11, Rue de l'Arrivée, 75015, Paris. Hours: Monday - Saturday: 11h00 - 19h00.
Address: 10, Place de la République, 75011, Paris. Hours: Monday - Saturday: 11h00 - 20h00.

Sentou, Le Marais, Floor 0. Image Credit: Henry Hardwick

At Sentou, the very roots of modern design are explored. Whether you like your interior design Mid-Century Modern, Scandinavian, or just good old Bauhaus, you'll find just what you weren't necessarily looking for in all shapes and sizes. It's a matter of bamboo beds and paper lamps, with geometric elephant tables and simple shelves on every wall. If what you think you're missing from life is fun furniture in pastel colors,  you've come to the right place,

Maybe you're an intellectual and pretty colors don't entice you - that's what the comfy bedding is for. With both style and quality, who could've guessed that cozy and comfy could go hand-in-hand with luxury at an affordable price? Whether you want a space that says "pretty pretty, shiny shiny" or a mod-inspired place like Leonardo DiCaprio's Riverbend Apartment in Catch Me if You Can (2002), you can't skip out on Sentou.

Address: 29. rue Francois Miron, 75004, Paris. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 11h00 -19h00.
Address: 26, boulevard Raspail, 75007, Paris. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 11h00 - 19h00.
Address: 14, rue Moreau, 75012, Paris. Hours: Monday - Friday: 9h30 - 17h30.

Conforama, Pont-Neuf, Exterior. Image Credit: Henry Hardwick

Furthermore, if you still haven't found your picture-perfect inspiration, there are still a plethora of stores where you can find both fun and furniture to fit your vintage-esque needs. If you're looking for the perfect gift (even for your child at heart), there's Bibi Idea Shop in the Marais and Pop Market along Canal Saint-Martin. Also, don't forget about the artsy chain shops Flying Tiger Copenhagen and Pylones. And if you're looking for something a little meatier, maybe Conran Shop or Conforama will fit your needs. With multiple locations throughout Paris, they're sure to provide you with the perfect piece you didn't even know you were looking for.

As you can see, there's no reason to neglect Americana in Paris. Whether you want to turn your apartment into a Wes Anderson set or still haven't found a remote control that'll transport you into Pleasantville (1998), all it takes is the almighty dollar (converted into euros). Now don't forget, kids, nothing says "American" like Mid-Century Modern and capitalism, so go out and spend, you little productive members of society, you!