Paris may have E. Dehillerin, France’s oldest kitchenware store, established in 1820, but Marseilles has Maison Empereur, a family-run institution opened in 1827 by Francois Empereur. The shop, overseen since 2000 by the decidedly discerning Laurence Guez, has the distinction of being the oldest hardware and cookware shop in the country; Guez is the sixth generation to carry on her family business.
All the essentials once offered by France’s traditional (and now shuttered) neighborhood kitchen emporiums can still be found at Maison Empereur—along with hardware items, bathroom goods, toys, and a slew of classic French staples for the home, from wicker chairs and enamel sinks to espadrilles. Think of Maison Empereur as the local hardware store meets Merci. Well worth a detour should you be in the South of France.
Photographs courtesy of Maison Empereur.
Check out our posts on E. Dehilleren, the go-to source for kitchenware in Paris, and La Trésorerie, Paris’s new housewares shop. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay near Saint-Tropez (about a 30-minute drive from Marseille), consider La Suite Cassis, and for a worthwhile outing, see our post on a Provení§al Winery.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 24, 2014.