Paris has many places which surprise you. A l’ Oriental is one of them. In the elegant galleries of the Palais Royal Garden, just five minutes from the Louvre there is a surprising little shop, unusual for more than one reason.
First, it has been here since 1818,so it’s one of the oldest establishments in the french capital. Then, it has a very small space and very full: it’s a real bric-a-brac, filled with pipes of all kinds. Inside, there are not only pipes, but also a lot of tobacco-related objects, as well as antique jewelry. A small museum in short, which exhibits paintings, engravings, cigarette-holders and tobacco pots.
Since 1999, the house is run by Rakel van Kotte. She was originally a non-smoker but has finally set about it, for the customers and by taste. She is friendly and always has for you good advice. I looked in here once intrigued by the photograph of John Paul II in the shop window. I don’t regret.
Rakel van Kotte told me about the Pope’s visit to this shop thirty years ago. Also Luciano Pavarotti was a customer of this store. If you want to have the original souvenir from Paris take a look here !
19, galerie de Chartres (Palais-Royal)