For my last and final installment of my Paris trip, I present to you, my visit to the legendary Corthay shop on Rue de Volney. While there were so many places that I wanted to go, there is only so much you can do in a day in a half, especially when it’s your first time in a city that you don’t know the language. But thanks to my friend Mattieu, who so kindly took out a spare couple of hours of his day, I was able to see not only Corthay, but also the famous Les Galleries Lafayette as well as a little bit of the city itself.
Upon arriving to Corthay, I was almost under the impression that it was closed, as there was only a window with some shoes displayed, but no signs of a main entrance. Now, being American, you may not be used to the way that Europe sometimes works and that is, it’s not always as it seems. Not far from the display window of shoes, there was another window open with some workers who were ‘finishing shoes’ (i.e. applying the patinas, finishing off the heels and making sure that the end result of the bespoke shoe is tip top!). I knew that they must work there (not hard to figure out), and so I asked Mathieu to inquire.
They said that they were open, let us in (through these big doors that led to a courtyard-like entrance) in which the shop was on the right and the rest of space belonging to various sectors of the company, all of which were part of Corthay. One of the workers escorted us to the shoe shop part of it and allowed us to look around. I asked if it was okay to take pictures, as I was a shoe blogger, who of course, they had not heard of! Surprising though, as I put so many of their shoes on my blog, and have quite a following in France. But nonetheless, he did not know whether or not it was okay and went off to grab the president of the company. After the worker had told him who was there, and him checking my blog in the quick second that he had, he came to meet me and agreed that the picture taking was okay, in part because at that current moment, the ‘Arca’ shoe was at the top of my blog.
He was a very nice fellow, who was explaining to me the set up of the shop as well as giving me a guided tour through the entire compound. While I know that the ready-to-wear shoes are made in a factory just outside Paris, it seemed that everything else was done here, from the marketing, to the bespoke shoes, to the accountacy etc. It was actually quite a nice set up that they had, in which they all seemed to be one big, happy family, working together to create products and maintain a company that produces some of the most beautiful works of shoe art in the world. After the tour, I asked (as I had to) whether or not Mr. Pierre Corthay himself, was on the premises. But, as he was off promoting his Excellence Run event, I was left to the unfortunate fact that he was not there. His brother, however, was. So, I was able to meet him and introduce myself, as not only an avid fan, but also a blogger who promotes his work. To be quite honest, he did not seem impressed, but then again, I am no Sartorialist, not yet at least!
It was a very pleasant visit –as you can imagine– because like you must be now, I too was mesmerized by all of the beautiful models of shoes. Some of the nicest parts were, in fact, the artistic pieces, such as the shoe with the teeth, the melted shoes, and my personal favorite, the lasts with the brogueing (pictured below, but altered by me to show effect of brogues). If only I could have afforded to leave with a pair in hand — that would have made it the perfect trip. But, we all cannot be so fortunate…..oh well!
If you find yourself in Paris, and have some spare time, make it a priority to at least pop by for a visit. Just tell them that I sent you, that way they will remember me the next time I go! I hope that you all have enjoyed the post. Until next time, have a great day/night…
-Justin, “The Shoe Snob”