Cartier’s spiritual birthplace has been reborn and the transformation is out of this world. MOJEH takes a trip to 13 Rue de la Paix, where the Parisian Maison’s secrets so stylishly unfold
When Ella Fitzgerald crooned about April in Paris being a feeling that no-one can ever reprise, she wasn’t joking — in April 2021 Cartier put a spring in every Parisian’s step when the hoardings went up for the renovation of the Maison’s iconic headquarters. But there were no dingy poles or dusty tarpaulins to be seen. The overnight transformation of the Cartier façade into a trompe l’oeil hôtel particulier, complete with window sills, gold-dappled mouldings and animated ‘window’ displays, was just a taste of the magic that was going on right there, behind the scenes. It’s been a long year and a half, but last month finally saw the unveiling of the new Cartier 13 Paix, and boy, was it worth the wait.
The redesign of this heritage building to make the absolute most of its space and atmosphere has been a triumph achieved thanks to a combination of three architectural teams working across the building’s six levels (and two basements) and 3,000 square metres of floor space. But, of course, a little spark of that Cartier magic helped things along too. “From the very beginning, the boutique has been unique because of its universal vocation: its opening in 1899 is associated with the arrival of Louis Cartier at the head of the Maison and the establishment of the design studio,” said Pierre Rainero, director of image, style and heritage at Cartier, of the address’s reopening. “As the cradle of major stylistic trends in jewellery, the 13 Paix boutique has always been a source of inspiration for Cartier Maisons around the world. It’s from here that large vendors leave for Russia, Iran, China… And where the first ephemeral ‘migrations’ were organised to Cannes, Monte-Carlo, San Sebastian or Biarritz.”
And from Cartier to the world, now the world is once again welcome to come to Cartier. Areas of the building which were previously off limits to visitors have been sprung wide open, with 1,400 square metres of the Maison’s floors now making up commercial space. 13 Paix’s ground, first and second floors are dedicated to exploring Cartier’s creations and collections, its soaring, luminous atrium flooding the space with light. The third and fourth floors house Cartier’s services, workshops and archives, becoming the heart of the Maison’s savoir-faire and heritage. There’s the customisation bar for watch and jewellery engraving, as well as the Holy Grail for any luxe-loving parent — the Quartier des Petits, a children’s playroom offering creative activities inspired by the Maison’s style and history, leaving the adults to browse in peace. The 18 workbenches of the high jewellery workshops, the place where Cartier’s most precious and awe-inspiring creations take shape, also benefit from the atrium’s natural light, before we reach 13 Paix’s most breathtaking new space, the fifth floor’s Residence.
This exquisitely-decked Parisian apartment houses a kitchen, salon, dining room, living space and even a winter garden. Flanked by two rooftop patios, this luxurious pied à terre is available only to Cartier’s closest friends, affiliated artists and major clients. “In a little over a century, this mythical address has never ceased to transform, evolve and adapt to the times and customs,” said Rainero. “This place, which laid the foundations of modern and contemporary jewellery, saw the invention of the modern wristwatch and the birth of the Panther, continues and reaffirms its place in a radiant Paris of taste and savoir-faire, a reference for the entire world.” And as a temple to the beauty and passion that Cartier provokes for so many of us, 13 Paix is worthy of a little worship — we can’t wait to make our pilgrimage. Discover the collections
- Photographs courtesy of Moinard Bétaille for Cartier