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Paris Design: Maison et Objet
Years ago, when I discovered the Maison et Objet, I knew I’d found Mecca.
Even today, so many years later and with all the trade shows in the world, none quite compare to the thrill of heading to this collection of talent and innovation all in one place. It’s truly one of the great events in modern day Paris, staggering both in size and bewilderment of the unique treasures laid before you, new and creative and fresh each year.
A veritable wonderland of design with miles of eye candy from all over Europe, the venue is enormous and takes a minute to figure out. Your best bet is to know what you’re looking for and plot out a course.
It’s set in the Parc des Expositions and it’s a bit of a trek to get there, but well worth the trip if you’re a buyer or lover of all things for the home. And who isn’t?
Over the years its expansion has been vast and it was always held in five halls. This year it looks like they’ve added three more areas to make it eight different sections. What used to be satellite events via shuttle will now be under one roof. Okay, eight roofs!
If you’re going, you’ll want to get your pass online before the show. You’ll need to have your business credentials, so have them handy when you’re filling it out. There is a gigantic book listing all the vendors, and that’s for sale both at the show and online. I rarely get it cause it’s massive and heavy, and unless you’re looking for someone in particular, just cumbersome. That said, if you do manage to lug one home, you’ll have an encyclopedia of vendors from around the world with all of their websites and business descriptions.
- Print out your badge at home and bring your ID and business card. It’s just good to have your passport or driver’s liscense with you at check in as they take this show super seriously and only want pros attending.
- Go around 10:00am to beat the crowded trains. Leave a little early for that same reason!
- Make sure you take the right train. You’ll be taking the RER which can be picked from the Metro in Paris. Some of the RER maps don’t have the Parc des Expositions listed on it for some reason. Just head toward the CDG airport and listen for the announcement. Be sure to keep your ticket stub for the RER both ways cause they often have police checking to make sure you paid. You can purchase tickets at Chatelet or Gare du Nord.
- You’re technically not allowed to take pics but it’s always good to have a camera since if you ask, many designers will let you shoot. If you’re caught taking shots without asking, there could be a scene and let’s just say, it’s best to avoid that. Ask and you’ll most likely receive!
- Strong Tote bag: You may pick one up at the show if someone is giving them away but it’s best to have something of your own to carry the literature and brochures from each vendor. You won’t be able to take anything out of the show until the last day. If you decide to do that, bring a rolling suitcase or one of those folding carts to keep from having to lug everything by hand.
- Good shoes. I can’t even guesstimate how many miles of aisles there are in total. 100? 1000? Either way, dress for success and make sure your shoes are ones you love to cruise around in for hours.
- Travel light. If you don’t need to bring a coat, just wear the minimum cause the less you have to carry around with you the better. Dress is casually elegant.
- Water: There is plenty of food and even though it’s technically ‘fast food’, it’s still decent sandwiches on baguettes and sort of Frenchy. If you don’t have to buy water and drinks there it will save you some cash and you won’t have to keep stopping for water and you trek all those miles.
Fall: Sept. 03 – 07, 2010
Winter: Jan. 21 – 25, 2011
Parc des Expositions (aka Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre)
95970 Roissy Cedex
Entree: This is a really tight ship. This is from their website:
Shows are strictly reserved for professionals and Press. Professional identification (business card for international visitors) must be presented in order to obtain an entrance badge for the show. You will not be allowed to access the show without any professional I.D. Access to the show is not open to children.
Cost:56 € (for the 5 day show)
Friday to Monday : 09:30am to 07:00pm. Tuesday: 09:30am to 06:00pm
Getting There: From Paris, take the RER B in the direction Roissy Charles de Gaulle and get off at “Parc des Expositions”.
Take Chatelet or Gare du Nord (both are RER stations) for direct routes. click on the map for a larger version:
Hall 1: Ethnic Chic
Hall 2: Textiles (Linens, Pillows)
Hall 3: Tablewear
Hall 4: Hand Crafts and Artwork
Hall 4 and 5A: Country French and Outdoor
Hall: 5A and 6: Home Accessories
Hall: 5B and 5C: Furniture
Hall 7: International companies and designers
Hall: 8A and 8B: Outdoor Living
If you just can’t get enough, check out the MO Blog which is filled with events and sort of behind the scenes looks into what’s going on: http://blog.maison-objet.com/en