I discovered a great vintage boutique just a stroll away from where I live in the summer, Catherine B – or really two boutiques in one at 1 and 3 rue Guisarde, in between the boulevard St. Germain and Place St. Sulpice. The boutiques specialize in Hermès and Chanel in impeccable vintage condition.
Les 3 marches de Catherine B (lay twa marsh duh cat-er-een bay), means “the three steps of Catherine B” and refers to the three steps in front of the little sliver of a boutique at No. 1 that specializes in jewelry, scarves, belts, and other accessories. The larger boutique next door has clothing, shoes and boots, and purses – Birkins and Kellys of every possible color and material.
You can buy here with confidence; every item is guaranteed authentic and Catherine wouldn’t have been in business since 1994 if she didn’t deliver the real goods. The boutiques are a pleasure to shop in – immaculately arranged with eye-catching vignettes and no funky odors. With about 1,500 items in stock at any given moment, you’re likely to find that special piece you’ve been looking for. My big splurge for my time in Paris was a lovely Hermès enamel bracelet in the Éventails (Fans) pattern in absolutely perfect condition at considerably less than the price of a new one. Those three steps are worth climbing.