Colorfully Decorative Storefronts Reveal the Story of Paris

By Jessica Stewart on October 13, 2016

Photographer Sebastian Erras is known for his striking images of colorfully patterned floors in Paris, Venice, Barcelona, and London. As part of a continued collaboration with Pixartprinting, he’s moved from shooting what’s beneath our feet to aiming him lens at the exquisitely decorated storefronts of Paris. While some may perceive a visit to the Louvre or Eiffel Tower as a key to understanding the city, Erras digs in to the bakers, barbers, chocolatiers, cobblers, and merchants who form the tapestry of Parisian society.

Erras shoots the owners in front of their shops as a way to highlight the delicate design that is a hallmark of traditional French storefronts. Colorful tilework, hand painted signage, and refined woodwork reveal the city’s unique aesthetic. The project, Paris Re-tale, isn’t the first time the online printing company has tackled this theme—photographer Marco Valmarana explored Milan’s shops earlier in the year.

Erras captures the pride each shop owner has in their business—some being fourth-generation owners. Instead others run businesses in transformed spaces, such as a boutique hotel in what was once Paris’s oldest bakery. By primarily framing his subjects frontally, Erras gives equal weight to architecture and portraiture, thus tying both shop and owner together as one unit. View all the images, see a map of the stores, and learn the stories behind the shops here.

Alexandre Boyer, surrounded by pictures and posters from the history of cinema
Luc Fracheboud and his father Patrick at the front door of their historic restaurant
Julia Charvin at the door of the only color factory for artists in Paris
Nathalie Felber stands in front of the dry cleaner’s created by her great grandfather
Alain, at the door of his barber shop, the most famous in Paris
Chef Christophe Duparay in front of his restaurant
Norbert proudly displays the collection of shoes he designs
Boris Lumé, standing proudly at the entrance of his picturesque bakery-confectionery
Bernard Poussin (left) and Diane Junique (right) in front of their two-centuries-old chocolaterie
Vanessa Jacquiot, sales and marketing manager of the boutique hotel that was once Paris’s oldest bakery
Maxime Hubert, at the entrance of the reference jazz music shop in Paris
Dorothée Hoffmann never takes off her apron when she is at her ceramics workshop
Stefan Perrier, in front of what looks like a hat shop, but is in fact a leading art bookshop
Gilles Berthommier and one of his puppets at the door of his workshop

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book ‘Street Art Stories Roma’ and most recently contributed to ‘Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini’. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Read all posts from Jessica Stewart

Published in My Modern Met

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