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Little Paris: A French treasure trove in Crouch End

Nicolas Peponnet loves little more than driving through France with his beloved dog Bobby and searching for treasures from the early 1900s. The 37-year-old interior designer owns Little Paris Store in Crouch End, selling furniture and accessories (vintage and new). He has an eye for the unusual, the beautiful and the quirky. He told the Local Buyers Club: “There was something very special and crazy about Paris in the early 1900s – these were very creative times. It was the time of Coco Chanel. People weren’t scared to provoke, the designs are provocative and chic yet soft and delicate.”

Nicolas recently returned from a 1,900 mile trip around Brittany, Tours, Bordeaux and Paris. He loaded the van with treasures he found along the way. And Bobby (part Yorkshire Terrier, part Jack Russell) Kept him company. He said: “I have a brilliant network of people sourcing things for me – they know what I’m looking for. But I love to go myself often to see what I can find. “When people come in to the shop they are like children – they are amazed because we have so many quirky things to look at. I say ‘come in and dream’. I have a brilliant team – Geraldine, our manager, has been there almost as long as I have.”

Nicolas’s first career was selling properties in France, which were in need of renovation. He has an eye for design and increasingly clients asked him to oversee the whole project – gradually he built a business as an interior designer. He moved to London in 2012 to improve his English and began working at the Little Paris Store, which was then owned by Helene Vaillant. When she decided to pursue new avenues, he sold his flat in Paris and bought the business. He added: “When I came to England, the plan was to stay for a year – but here I am! I’m from a family of entrepreneurs so it came as no surprise to them when I took over the Little Paris Store.

"When you buy a property, you touch your money every day! But that’s not the case when you buy a business! It’s hard work, it’s stressful but I love what I do.” The Little Paris Store recently provided all the furnishings for the renowned Blanchette Bistro in Soho – right down to the plates. When he isn’t in the shop or motoring through France, Nicolas loves hiking and reading interior design magazines.

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