Haussmann facades, parquet flooring, crown molding, big windows, old fireplaces, heavy front doors with unique keys. The signature features of the Parisian apartment possess a certain otherworldly, luxurious beauty. It would require an immense amount of money to redo the structure of one’s home to mimic this architectural style, but only a little bit of creativity is needed to decorate like a resident of La Ville des Lumières.
Published by the insider resource on the French capital My Little Paris, “Creative Paris: Urban Interiors Inspiring Innovators” (Flammarion 2019) presents the homes of over 30 different Parisians of the creative class in close to 700 color photographs. It is an insight into the minds of creators, a decor inspiration and a home lifestyle guide that will have you itching to reorganize your bookshelves and plan a trip to the nearest flea market.
It’s these feelings of creativity and inspiration that My Little Paris hopes to inspire with “Creative Paris.” Paris is the perfect case study for a book about decor; the apartments are notoriously small and many contain only the most basic amenities. “The space around us has a direct impact on our behavior, our attitude, and our energy,” explains the book’s introduction. “Regardless of how many square feet they occupy, these places attest to the creativity that Parisians bring to their way of life.”
Like many of today’s home decor-inspiration coffee table books published in the era of visual stimulation — when most of our plans come from photos seen on Instagram and Pinterest, instructions not necessary — the book is primarily made up of photos, wide shots and close-ups, occasionally with captions explaining the sentimental value of a certain piece or the reasoning behind a choice.
Each home is introduced first by its resident in a paragraph that describes their job, neighborhood and things that inspire them. Many are alumnae of My Little Paris, with a few other of the city’s creatives mixed in. Though their names may not be recognizable, job titles, the places they work for — Merci Alfred, Vogue, GoodMood — and references to the city will make you feel like you could know this person.
And once you see their home, you feel like you do. The photos depict Parisian apartments exactly how you imagine them to be, as they are in movies, books, on Instagram and Pinterest. There are photos of a dream kitchen shelf layout, many different stacks of books and flea market finds piled high on floors, and plenty of wooden boxes (somehow) elegantly hung on the walls to serve as shelves. That seemingly effortless way that French homes feature mismatched items perfectly — windowsills of empty wine bottles and lush plants, tiny figurines next to vintage photos, painted kimonos hung on the wall next to exquisite art — is evident throughout. “I like the idea that your house is like a market filled with a thousand little treasures, some of them unexpected,” confirms one woman whose home was featured. The large white margins around the photos beg to be written in or tabbed with sticky notes so you can come back to the matte photos later for reference.
Toward the end of the book there’s a section about creative work spaces and offices, specifically those of the My Little Paris teams in Paris and Tokyo, but it feels less relevant to the rest of the book which is focused on homes. There are also a few pages listing the favorite creativity-inspiring locations of those featured in “Creative Paris.”
Francophiles and amateur decorators will love the gorgeous interiors and vignettes of daily Parisian life featured in “Creative Paris.” The book is undeniably rich in inspiration for how to embrace and modify your own space, no matter how little square footage you have. With this on your coffee table, you’ll soon have the creative juices flowing and the parisien style blossoming in your home.