Sunday, August 05, 2007

Le Bon Marché

The department store Le Bon Marché is a Left-Bank landmark and a point de repere when giving directions. It has a fascinating history. In some ways, you can see the story of its growth and change in the typeface used on its signage. Not in chronological order, but here's a little walking tour of the different lettering found on the exterior of the building.

This marquee-like sign atop the building shows the name in lights at night.

Some signage is more in the Art Deco style.

Many people refer to the store as Au Bon Marché, but it is my understanding that the correct store name is Le Bon Marché.

Hence the appellation "the stores of Le Bon Marché" becomes les Magasins du Bon Marché. End of grammar lesson for today.

Of course I heard one American wag brag, "Yeah, I hang out at The Bon a lot, " pronouncing it like bonne. Never heard that one before (or since).

In its heyday, the store branched out to a building across the street, which is now inhabited by Conran's.

And of course, today it has a chic, sleek look.

I'm just glad that they haven't eradicated the older signage. It's so evocative. This doorway mosaic says Toile (cloth) and Rideaux (curtains), with the date 1876 at the bottom.

There are laws that protect building signage in Paris. I wish someone would protect the mosaics on this gorgeous sign. Many have been picked off or fallen.

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