It's full of artistic talent
Just walking around you feel an atmosphere!
Michael - A TREASURE TROVE
Michael's shop is slightly off the beaten track in Montreuil. Tucked in between brand spanking new high rises on all sides, his little vintage boutique stands out against the rather soulless business environment.
Because here at "La Bonne Occaze", there's nothing new or austere about it, only antique, vintage and classic items fill the cosy space, with some playfulness thrown in for fun.
It's a real treat for those who love to hunt for antique bargains and rare pieces, and here there's something to suit all budgets.
Michael opened his store in Montreuil in 2013. He decided to set up shop in this former restaurant because he thought the residents here were curious and cosmopolitan, and with the town expanding rapidly he believed people would be looking for that special piece to really embellish their home.
And he was not wrong. When coming to interview Michael, a young man was leaving on his scooter carrying a full-sized cut out of the Emperor from Star Wars, he told me it would look "wicked" in his son's bedroom.
But as well as satisfying Star Wars fans, Michael has a large range of classy pieces. He is passionate about his job and his store is overflowing with novel finds, whether it be glassware, posters, jewellery, fine china or furniture.
"In Montreuil there are artists and film makers, the atmosphere is creative. I thought it would have
great potential for me, I could build a good clientele here."
A 1930s decanter
Fine China from China
Once he had the place it didn't take very long for him to fill it up because Michael already had a huge stock.
For years he'd travelled all around France buying items, almost compulsively and it's still the case.
"I'm constantly buying, it's addictive. If I see something I want,
it keeps me up at night. I have to have it!"
Thanks to his passion, we can be sure that there's always something new at Michael's. He doesn't think twice about getting out there and searching the four corners of France.
He buys from both professional traders and private individuals
"The object must speak to me and have meaning. I have to have a connection with it.
Almost every object in here is special to me"
He has a particular liking for jewellery having studied mineralogy. He knows his stuff and is passionate about the composing elements: precious stones, gold, silver...
He also has a penchant for beautiful lamps and mirrors, and there are some real gems at Michael's.
He really loves what he does and you can tell.
Clients come from Montreuil but plenty travel from afar to visit Michael's boutique too.
One thing they often have in common is that they're from artistic environments: cinema, music, theatre...
He told me a story about one lady who came and rented from him the entire decor for the play "Marie Antoinette", which was being played at the infamous Maxim's club in Paris.
It's true that when you step into Michael's you could be at the heart of a theatre set. You're taken someplace else, on a journey through several different atmospheres...
Everything is arranged by theme and you can find your way around easily. There's the religious part, Asian,, African, Art Deco...
"I like it to be ordered, there are so many things to look at anyway,
it has to be easy for the clients to find their way around."
Every object is inspected, repaired and cleaned by Michael before going on the shelf. He often gets attached.
"The problem is that quite often I want to keep things myself, I sometimes
struggle to see things go, I'm attached to them because I do really love
all the items. I don't sell just for selling's sake."
Georgia Jacob lamp from 1980, 250€
Michael wants everyone to find something they like at La Bonne Occaze. He likes to converse with and advise his clients.
"I like to understand their approach, what style they like.
I can advise and help because I have a lot more stock that's not in the shop,
I can find them something else in accordance with their budget and taste."
Michael is very welcoming and gives great advice, but stays very discrete and is certainly not pushy at all.
I myself, after having bought a vintage magazine rack as well as some 70s glasses, had asked Michael to ring me if ever he got any string shelves in stock and a few weeks later, I got a phone call. He'd remembered! Very efficient.
So you can also tell him what you're looking for and Michael may sort it out for you.
Don't hesitate to pay Michael a visit. Even if you don't buy anything you can always chat about wine, gastronomy, cinema or travel with him until your next visit, where that time you're sure to find something you love, perfect for your home sweet home.
La Bonne Occaze
06 69 22 11 63
Open Monday to Saturday