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Retail Watch: French markets come to the Lehigh Valley

April 29th, 2024 |

Michelle Olson loves all things French, and for the third year running, she’ll be sharing that love with shoppers at the April in Paris spring shopping event at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts on Sunday at 427 N. New St. in Bethlehem.

Olson sources the goods herself on trips to Paris, where she scouts out unique vintage items in Parisian markets. She just got back three weeks ago from her recent trip and is ecstatic about the stuff she brought back. “Honestly, it’s going to be really hard for me to let these [things] go,” she said wistfully. “I’d put these in my own home.”

That’s not entirely a crazy sentiment for Olson, who owns Marché Maison, an interior decorating service. She finds herself drawn to classic French design and has made her life, both personally and professionally, one full of Parisian touches. “It’s very textural and neutral, lots of whites and creams,” Olson describes her aesthetic.

She’s also conscious of curating her stock and making sure what she sells at her now annual spring event isn’t easily available on Amazon. “I look for things that are unique and different,” she said. “They have to be produced in France and they have to be original in some way.”

That means shoppers can expect to find a variety of home goods with a Parisian tilt: French linen, barware, old French advertisements, china, mini espresso spoons, and decorative objects like vintage French ribbons and cookie tins. “I’ve also designed my own candle line where you can have a beautiful vessel after your candle is done burning,” she said.

Olson gets really into the je ne sais quoi element of the event by offering an immersive environment. She’ll have rosé around for sampling; her dad will be playing the accordion for that French cafe feel; Allentown’s Phoebe Floral Greenhouse will be on hand with a “fresh flower stem bar,” and there will even be a pop-up exhibition of vintage Chanel fashions.

If that last feature strikes a chord, you’re in luck: Sunday is also the last day to see the Unspun: Stories of Silk exhibition at the Kemerer Museum.

Olson is thrilled this year’s shopping experience is underway, but she’s already thinking about next year. “I’m missing crepes,” she mused. “Maybe next year!”

Read the article on The Morning Call.

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