Interview with Marin Montagut – AUTHOR OF TIMELESS PARIS

We absolutely love Timeless Paris, what did you enjoy most about the research for the book?

Nous adorons le livre Timeless Paris, qu’est-ce que tu as apprécié le plus en faisant la recherche pour ce livre?

Plunging back into nineteenth-century Paris was absolutely magical. It was like taking a journey back in time, in which I was able to open secret doors to a forgotten Paris. To discover ateliers hidden at the back of Parisian courtyards like a treasure hunt across Paris. Speaking with the owners of each of these eighteen places inspired me to paint the watercolors and create the mood boards in my book Timeless Paris: Ateliers, Emporiums, Savoir Faire.

What was the inspiration behind creating your own boutique?

Qu’est-ce qui t’as inspiré pour la création de ta boutique?

Opening my first boutique was a childhood dream come true. All of my trips across the globe greatly informed how I conceived my store—from the ancient emporiums of Portugal to the old shops of New York. This boutique is the fruit of fifteen years of adventures. I wanted a boutique that evoked the Paris of 1900; a space that would make adults dream and take people back to a forgotten Paris. 

Your illustrations are exquisite, how did you develop such a distinctive style? 

Tes illustrations sont exquises; comment as-tu développé un style si unique? 

Watercolor has always been my preferred medium. I have always travelled with a watercolor palette in my bag. My greatest passion is to draw the objects that I encounter in flea markets all over the world. Old objects inspire me daily in my work. They feed my creativity. For the book Timeless Paris, I was inspired by old catalogues dating back to 1900 that presented all the objects available in Parisian shops where Parisian workers could spend their year-end bonuses. 

What are you planning to do next? Do you have ideas for another book? 

Quels sont tes prochains projets? As-tu une idée pour un prochain livre? 

I just designed an exclusive collection of objects “Marin Montagut for the Ritz Paris” that will be released for Christmas 2021. It was an honor to envision this collection for such an emblematic Parisian palace hotel. For my next book, why not head out for a tour of France, traveling to Normandy or Provence—two regions that I really like—bringing readers along to discover my favorite flea markets and antiques shops. 

Which is your favourite part of Paris? 

Quel est ton coin préféré à Paris ?

I have a long list, but one place that transports me in Paris is the Luxembourg Garden! Located right near my boutique, I like to go there for a picnic, or to take a nap on one of the emblematic green lounge chairs. The garden is a veritable living postcard of Paris, with its old-fashioned merry-go-round, puppet theater, refreshment kiosks… 

Photo © Romain Ricard

What makes a perfect weekend for you? 

Selon toi, quels sont les ingrédients d’un week-end parfait?

1.     Have a breakfast of baguette and jam on a pretty terrace.

2.     Find a nearby antique shop or flea market where I can hunt for treasures. 

3.     Traverse Paris by Vespa.

4.     Picnic in the Luxembourg Garden.

5.     Go to see a New Wave film in an old movie theater in Saint Germain des Près.

6.     Drink an aperitif with deviled eggs at the zinc bar of a bistro.

7.     Go out dancing at a Parisian guinguette—an open air, old-style dance hall. 

Marin Montagut is an artist and designer; his epon­ymous boutique is dedicated to whimsical decorative objects. He is co-author with Inès de la Fressange of Maison: Parisian Chic at Home and created and illus­trated the Bonjour City Map-Guides. He has collaborated with the Château de Versailles and with many brands, including Farrow & Ball, Pierre Frey, and Diptyque.

Read our review of Marin Montagut’s new book Timeless Paris: Ateliers, Emporiums, Savoir Faire is published by Flammarion, 7th October 2021

Featured image of Marin Montagut © Romain Ricard