I owe a lot to Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. She was out visiting one day near the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) when her horses went mad and she was rescued by a certain M. Ruel. The empress rewarded her savior generously, and with the investment a store was born. More than 150 years later, the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville is still the place to go for your everyday household needs. From fashion to fragrance, from shower curtains to shutters, the BHV carries just about everything. Including the kitchen sink.
My favorite floor is the basement: an entire city block dedicated to the fine world of hardware. If there is anything you want to build, this is the place to head. You can get everything you need to construct and furnish your dream château, and a custom-made enamel plaque to hang by the door. You’ll even find lambskin and all the supplies you could possibly need to make your own pair of shoes or a chic new belt. Has your cow lost its bell? You’ll spot a new one to the right, just behind the bathroom ventilators. And because this is Paris, they have stylish leather tool cases in bubble gum pink, lemon yellow and sky blue.