How far better describe the sprawling hyper-quincaillire this is certainly marseilles maison empereur? its un very magasin, sans pareil. awondrous, 1,300sq m hardware-drome ofcatering gear and do-it-yourself tools. thetwo ronnies fork handles merchant on steroids. a lovingly curated, grand-scale utility shed spread across a complete part ofthe old ports rue des rcolettes.

To the people of marseille, maison empereur is a landmark and institution, opened in 1827 by wood-carver and toolmaker louis empereur. for out-of-towners, a rainy afternoon of a cte dazur holiday is joyfully whiled amid the shops two floors. it takes an hour or two to browse even a portion of the spaces all you previously desired and needed foryour house, lovingly presented after that tothings you neverknew existed. there arefixtures andfittings, spoons and smooth furnitures, potsand pans, basins and footwear,labelled whenever we can french manufacture. there clearly was little that plugsin and nothing that requires a wifi sign. for me, stepping through maison empereurs doorways induces electrifying frissons of raw need.

Rows of japanese knives, saws and shears are housed under cup like precious museum displays, alongside a rather lethal-looking champagne sabre at least30 different types of scissors. the cable mini-tombola cage regarding end of a broom handle transforms outto be adevice for rolling up windfallen walnuts. not to be confused with the humane mouse pitfall that tempts rodents into a spiralling, one-way maze. next i-spy a little anvil anda selection oflemon-shaped soaps.

This self-styled droguerie gnrale wasrecommended in my opinion by designer tomdixon. we have many popular customers; oneof our huge followers is clothier simonporte jacquemus, says laurence renaux-empereur, the maisons first femaleproprietor and a seventh-generation empereur descended from a family of 18th-century master nail-makers and whoever outdoorsman father was, incidentally, area of the french olympic shooting group inthe1960s. she's broadened the area toinclude a caf andachic garments shop providing sturdy high-waisted workwear pants, bleu dechine jackets, clogs and thekind of chapeau provenal that jeanne moreau favours in jules et jim.

The 193-year-old store, renaux-empereur says, everyday lives because of the easy but demanding philosophy of their devoted consumers: to prioritise high quality and authenticity in every thing they are doing. thisethos has also been applied to the delightfully appointed, linen-draped chambre dhtes bed-and-breakfast overthe store. decor is trs empereur: darkwallsare hung with vintage tools; thebathtub is zinc and wood; and a pleasant aroma of linseed oil and marseillesoap infuses the air. its decorated like an apartment into the belated 19thcentury, says renaux-empereur, adding the shop islocated in le ventre de marseille (the stomach of marseille). there are several restaurants close by: sauveur, one of the citys oldest pizzerias, picerie lidale, lamercerie, restaurant fmina and lotsof other individuals. theres alsoafamous spiceshop, saladin, and herboristerie pre blaize. the second also pre-dates empereur by 12 years, causeing this to be quarter for the city as historical because ishappening.

4 rue des rcolettes, 13001 marseille; ,