Guys guide to Paris, no I can’t write that. But I do want to throw a bone to the 30% of our readers who are men. I happened to be married to one, coincidentally, and this past week we discovered a new, shouldn’t be well-kept secret in the Marais, El Ganso. I confess it’s Spanish and it’s a tiny men’s store in Paris. The brand began in Madrid about 10 years ago and I had noticed it back in February.
Luckily I caught my guy in a mood to shop, this happens maybe once or twice during a year and not coincidentally in Paris. We were on an expedition to find some sweaters as it had turned cold in Paris in October. Not matter how many years I travel I continuously fail to pack correctly, I find myself wanting of something or the other and usually I dutifully do without, look a bit odd and just get on with it. But not having packed even one sweater for the entire month of October in France was just plain stupid, after a number of days shivering we decided to go on a trek.
Robert had at least packed one, but as lovely as that grey cashmere he was donning day after day way was, it seemed to make sense to go buy one sweater each. We fought our way through a very crowded Marais on a Saturday, which is not far from our apartment and walked by El Ganso on rue des Rosiers. Note to self: Never go to the Marais on the weekend unless it the dead of winter. Somehow I convinced him to enter. It’s a unique place, very small even by Paris standards. They specialize in the basics, trousers in cotton and wool in all colors, blazers in cotton and wool in all shades and textures but they provide a little bit of flash to keep the ladies looking. There are plaids and stripes under the collars of the blazers, colorful stitching on the pants and around the waist. Pockets run at a diagonal on the blazers and patches in colors that aren’t expected are found on the elbow portion of the blazers. Its like your college professor suddenly became dapper.
Unlike so many tiny Parisian boutiques, this place, perhaps because it is Spanish has excellent attentive service. I waited on the sole chair they had and proclaimed my judgements to mon mari and tried to be patient which is not my forte. But out we went into the dark of night with two blazers and two pairs of pants, something hubby was in sore need of. And no, we didn’t get a sweater there.
We had to fight the hords at COS for a sweater each battling the heat and lines for the three dressing rooms and then more lines to pay. El Ganso felt like a distant but extremely pleasant memory. The best thing about this men’s clothing hideaway is the price. Blazers whether wool or cotton are all under 200 euros and slacks are under 100 euros each. You can’t get a decent blazer in New York any where for much under $500 unless you are shopping at the GAP.
If you and your man need an update while you are in Paris, you can head to Hermes, Paul & Joe or French Trotters but if it’s a clean kind of preppy (but in a European kind of way) look that you are going for, head to El Ganso for style, great prices and excellent service.
El Ganso Online