After leaving the Tuck Shop last week I decided to take a stroll through Canal St. Martin, as I had not been there in a long time. Always hunting for the new and interesting, I came across an intriguing new men's shop, La Comedie Humaine. I started looking through the sparsely stocked racks, the first one starting with crisp, finely detailed button down shirts. The shirts came with a removable collar and above the rack was a display with a selection of alternate collars you could attach to the same shirt.
I didn't think twice about the name of the shop until I struck up a conversation with Julien, the very handsome and tall owner of the shop (there are four owners). He told me the name of the shop came from the classic book La Comedie Humaine by Balzac. In fact, the whole concept of the shop is based on Balzac, who unbeknownst to most people, was fascinated with fashion and appearances. He was the first writer of that time to write about fashion and penned a series of articles for the periodical La Mode and the titles include Theory of Walking, Code de la Toilette (Code on grooming), The Art to Wear a Necktie, and Physiologie de la Toilette, (The Physiology of Grooming). Also, the symbol/logo of the shop is a well-dressed rooster, based on the drawing of J.J. Grandville, who contributed many illustrations for Balzac’s short stories. Coincidentally, the story about Balzac by David Burke was on my blog the same day I was in the shop.
La Comedie Humaine raison d'être is to uphold French craftsmanship and tailoring and reviving old traditions such as the shirts with the removable collars I mentioned above. All the merchandise is proudly made in France. As I started browsing again, I had a whole new appreciation for what was sold in the shop after I spoke with Julien. A selection of beautiful, short cashmere coats had detachable scarves connected to them. Supple man bags are hand-made in Loches, France using superior leather made of veal skin and the old guard 19th century glove house, Causse, makes the gloves. J.J. Grandville’s illustrations serve as the inspiration for the unusual T-shirts manufactured in the Dordogne region.
Julien was kind enough to give me a small journal with rooster logo on the cover and a booklet with the philosophy and full details of the shop. In the present world of fast and mass-market fashion, I applaud La Comedie Humaine for maintaining handcrafted, well-tailored clothes proudly made in France.
La Comedie Humaine
24 rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Metro: Republique or Jacques Bonsergent
Open Monday to Saturday 10AM to 8PM, Sunday 2PM to 8PM
New Eye Prefer Paris Photos for Sale
I am happy to announce the sale of a new set of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 20 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com