Muriel Foucher's eclectic Capitol Hill shop Paris Eastside is a perfect slice of France. And not a Eiffel Tower–keychain and cheesy-red-beret slice, but one that is filled with strawberry candies and little egg cups and authentic French linens that only a true Parisian could curate. To accompany the retail space Foucher imported her cooking school (she taught French cuisine classes to tourists for over a decade in Paris) where you can tackle classic dishes from cassoulet to bouillabaisse, or learn about wine pairings, or flower arranging, or even French arts and crafts. Check out the schedule online and read below as we say bonjour to the Parisian shopkeeper.

WWW: What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Foucher: A combination of french artists such as Thomas Fersen, Ronan Luce, Yannick Noah, Serge Gainsbourg, and Carla Bruni. They're less renowned than Edith Piaf or Charles Aznavour but so much more of a representation of what France is today.  

What was your first job? How does it compare to your job now? 
After graduating from business school (which feels like such a long time ago) I got my first job as a sales person at Procter and Gamble in France. I worked my way up to the marketing deparment, but after a while I decided that the corporate business world was just not for me—what I really wanted was to open my own cooking school in Paris. I have made a full circle by going back to doing sales again with Paris Eastside, and I love it.  

What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
My huile d'argan oil from Fragonard. It smells delicious and is so great for improving dry skin and cuticles. Then comes the fraise tagada, the best candy ever. And of course there are the polka-dot bowls, mugs, and egg holders. (It's suprisingly difficult to find a nice egg holder in Seattle.) The majority of the items I carry are things I've used for years, so really they're all of my favorite things. They're also a more modern and updated representation of products that French people widely use today.

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
I love the stores of other members in CHEW (Capitol Hill Entrepreneurial Women) like Sugarpill and Retrofit. And, of course, Elliot Bay Books

What do you love about your store’s neighborhood? 
Capitol Hill is just so eclectic—you can meet anyone from super-hype shoppers to older customers with lovely stories to tell about their past visits to France. The Capitol Hill community is great because it is so vibrant and open-minded. 

What nearby, coffee shops, etc do you recommend?
I love having dinner at Quinn's, coffee at Caffé Vita, and naturally it's great to have Café Presse not so far away.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
During my first class in the store on January 8 of this year I had the wonderful surprise to see one of my first customers from my cooking school in Paris. She had taken a class with me in 2003 and kept following me via the Internet and emails. She now works in Madison Park. To add even more to it, that day I was teaching the same recipe I had taught her in Paris 10 years ago (and I teach about 100 different recipes over the year depending on my mood and the seasons). Totally incredible.

 


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