No, I’m not talking about baguettes, though rumor has it those are pretty good. I’m talking about a store calling Nesting on Main, which is not French at all, actually. In fact, it’s located in the center of all things American. I mean American in the old-fashioned sense, as in the impulse toward independence and Transcendentalism, not as in the impulse toward eating corn syrup at every meal in between trips to the mall.
The store is located in Concord, Massachusetts, and is filled to the brim with old stuff. It’s amazing, actually, how much stuff fills 3 rooms and a hallway. Yet all of it is displayed in cunning little ways that actually cause you to stop and consider what you could do with a pile of vintage slides designed for a microscope that was no doubt discarded a long, long time ago.
Without attempting to be French-ish (or any apparent interest in being French at all), the store manages to be inspired by France, or at least the 19th century France of popular imagination. And this comes off as charming instead of cloying, as nearly everything looks as though it was pulled from the attic of an eccentric writer-philologist-botanist-humanist-intellectual-painter. It’s actually a little bit disorienting to discover this aesthetic so thoroughly on display on Main Street in Concord, a town more recognized for a historically severe and conscientious approach to life. Now if I stumbled on a store in Concord selling shaker-inspired furniture or Windsor chairs, I would not have been surprised, but Nesting on Main conveys a sort of dusty decadence that would not be out of place in one of the arrondissements – which one, I don’t know, as my experience of Paris is more or less limited to Paris Je T’Aime and that awful Woody Allen musical.
Which brings me to Valentine’s Day. An avoidable circumstance, but I find that the Paris Je T’Aime reference is a perfect segue. So in honor of the holiday and crusty eccentrics of ages past, check out Nesting on Main. Buy someone you love an old yellowed piece of paper, attach an antique skeleton key (message: you have the key to my heart, and so forth), then settle in to watch Paris Je T’Aime. Or even Moulin Rouge, which is French via Baz Luhrmann’s absinthe-fueled flights of fancy. Then fais de beaux rêves. And Happy Valentine’s Day.