Fashionable and Functional - Parasolerie Heurtault
Drum roll, please. I have an important announcement to make - I was wrong! After writing a post a few weeks ago in which I incorrectly said that Pep's was the only umbrella repair store in France, several astute readers posted comments telling me that there is, in fact, another umbrella repair store in Paris. The posters' enthusiasm for the work done by artisan Michel Heurtault made me realize that visiting Parasolerie Hertault should be a priority, so I made a trip to his atelier on Wednesday.
Michel's boutique is located at the Viaduc des Arts, a thriving art center that houses the workshops of fifty-two skilled craftsmen. And while it is true that Michel is an umbrella repairman, it would be more accurate to say that the restoration of umbrellas and parasols is only a part of his business.
What was more exciting to me, since I don't own a parasol that is in need of repair, is that Michel designs parasols and umbrellas to suit the taste of each client. Are you going to a wedding in the South of France in July and need something stylish that will keep you from wilting in the sun, then talk to Michel. He may propose a made-to-measure parasol in cream colored silk trimmed with Chantilly lace, or one in embroidered silk that matches the color of your dress. If you have a different idea, Michel will work with you to create a parasol or an umbrella that meets your needs.
Michel, who was recently featured in the New York Times, is used to taking a wisp of an idea and seeing it through to fruition. Eliza Doolittle toted one of Michel's parasols in the recent theatrical production of My Fair Lady in Paris and Michel's parasols will adorn the arms of the actresses in the upcoming movie, Les Adieux à la Reine (Farewell, my Queen), which is about Marie Antoinette and the final days of the French Revolution.
Right about now you're probably thinking about the excesses of the French Court during the reign of King Louis XVI and wondering if you can afford to purchase one of Michel's exquisite creations. Like a handcrafted Swiss watch or a piece of art, a fashionable Heurtault umbrella or parasol will probably become a family heirloom, whereas there's a good chance that all of the inexpensive umbrellas purchased over the years will end up in the local landfill. Prices start at 300 €, although Michel is currently designing a high quality model that will sell for 150 €.
Many thanks to the readers who told me about Parasolerie Heurtault. I fully understand your enthusiasm for the quality of Michel's craftsmanship.
viaduc des Arts
85, avenue Daumesnil
Aurélie Cherell, Parisian Fashion Designer
I Need a Hat. My Visit to the Millner's Boutique
Pep's Umbrella Repair Store
Link for a TV5Monde video clip of Michel Heurtault
Michel is the ultimate umbrella/parasol maker and restorer/repairer. I have seen a lot of umbrellas/parasols, in 35 years of almost annual trips to Paris, however these are in a completely different class.ReplyDelete
I was in Michel's boutique last month discussing a custom-made parasol. I have owned French-made parasols, over the decades, but wanted something really special.
I first went into Michel's boutique, by appointment only, on a Monday when the boutique is closed. I was able to take my time and go through many of the ones that interested me. I then slept on it, and called the boutique on Wednesday to schedule time to come in on that day.
I discussed what I wanted and decided on the silk, fuchsia and mustard-tone fabric in the first photo above. The silk is treated and can withstand rain. I will treat it to withstand "intense" sunlight, as I'm from sunny California. I will also need to use the parasol when I'm away on trips to Bangkok, where there is intense sunlight and rain.
There are other fabrics that are tolerant of intense sunlight, and that the parasols are actually made in, but I wanted the vibrant silk fabric. If many years down the road, the silk begins to fade a bit, I will just go into Jim Thompson silk, in Bangkok, and buy some more fabric and when I get back to Paris, take in the old parasol, and have Michel restore it with new fabric.
My custom umbrella, or I should say, "parasol" as I use the term umbrella generically, will also have a bamboo, curved handle although traditionally parasols have straight handles. But, I would like to be able to hang it on my purse hook, that I take with me when I go out to cafes and restaurants, and attach to the table. That way I can keep track of it.
Michel agreed to mount a curved handle on my parasol which he commented was the first time he has done such. I will also have the two, little, decorative, attached pom-poms, featured in the above-pictured umbrella. And both the above umbrella and my parasol have no piece to wrap around it and hook to keep it closed. Instead, there is a bamboo ring that one just slides up either the umbrella or parasol to keep it shut. Ingenious.
For additional information on the boutique, you can go to www.parisbao.com/fashion-accessories/paris-umbrella-artisan-makes-showery-chic. However, the address in that article is incorrect as the boutique moved from #91, to #85 avenue Daumesnil, in December 2010. That article was written many months before the move.
Thanks for posting and for telling me about Parasolerie Heurtault. It's customers like you who are a real testimony to the high quality of Michel's craftsmanship. I bet that you can't wait until your parasol is finished!ReplyDelete