We’re in our
late-twenties, early-thirties, okay fine (!), mid-thirties, which means that one thing is constant in our lives:
It seems that we’re always either pregnant or surrounded by expectant friends, so if we’re not shopping for our own kids, we’re on the hunt for something special for someone else’s.
While we may feel like amateurs at this parenting thing, we do believe that we’ve nailed baby retail. And knowing that everyone is eventually in the market for something miniature and adorable, we wanted to gather together a list of our favorite local baby and children’s stores.
A quick note – we’re not above shopping for kids at places like Zara and H&M (we do it on the regular!), and we know that Migros and Coop also carry great organic and fairtrade basic clothing too. But this list is for when you want to take a little extra pleasure in the purchase. We’re highlighting boutiques and specialty shops that make us broody for newborn smell and wistful about childhood idealized.
At first glance, the Vivishop is a children’s bookstore for purists. In other words, no Disney princesses here – however, if you want an artful retelling of a traditional fairytale, bingo, this is your spot. But like a storyline from a children’s book, the Vivishop has a secret passage that leads you into a maze of rooms carrying treasures of all sorts. From an impressive collection of children’s instruments, to boardgames and bicycles, there’s lots to discover that you won’t find elsewhere in town. The lesson: there’s always more than what the eye can see…
Disorganized and delightful, Davidson is a great place if you want to get lost down a rabbit hole of childhood pleasures. They’ve got one of everything and in no particular order, but it’s a pretty solid bet if you need a gift for an older kid. Last time we were there, we were drawn to some beautiful wooden music boxes – and tucked that idea away for Christmas.
And probably most unique of all, Marelle. Stepping into this tiny boutique toy store, you sense instantly that the owner has some strong opinions about what childhood should be – free, natural, creative, and plastic-less. This curated collection includes wooden toys, beautiful mobiles, marionettes, and music boxes with an emphasis on locally and artisan-made products. This does mean higher prices, naturally, but we can assure you that these are gifts that children will treasure for years to come. Personally, we’ve been gradually adding to a collection of wooden animals that our children love, and we both purchased identical mobiles to hang above their cribs.
Delicate fabrics and light colors might not be the most practical choice for children, but if you’re like us and you can’t resist nostalgic European style, you’ll love this boutique specializing in Made in Portugal brands. They recently told us that they were going to start working with a seamstress to provide monogramming on certain pieces as well if you want to give your gift an extra personal touch.
Scallops, smocking, bloomers, bows, a trip to Jacadi is almost more than our ovaries can handle. In our pre-parenting fantasy, hypothetical children were always dressed in Jacadi – and they never had reflux or got carried away with permanent markers either. Jacadi is still at the top of our mind whenever we need to buy a newborn gift because when babies are new and you just want to stare at them, how wonderful to dress them in the sweetest things…le sigh.
This little concept store boutique is full of surprises thanks to the contemporary European brands that it carries. Everything from shoes, to toys, to homewares, this is a great place to go with an open mind when shopping for a gift – you’ll probably find something you weren’t looking for but that you’ll be so happy to give. It’s also the only place we’ve seen a traditional baptism gown (several years ago now), so when you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, it’s a great address to try.
It’s hard not to love those iconic nautical stripes and yellow raincoats. Petit Bateau is a great place if you want to buy a gift that’s special but more practical and casual than others on this list. It’s worth mentioning though, that in our experience the quality isn’t quite as durable as their advertising would lead you to believe. For everyday basics, we’d recommend something a little less expensive.
Some months it feels like we need to directly deposit our paychecks to Cyrillus. We love the classic French style that’s approachable but still feels a bit polished. We’ve found that the clothes are mostly well-made, and on one occasion when we were disappointed about how something held up after some light wear, we took it back to the store and they refunded us no questions asked.
Furniture and Equipment
Petit Toi is where you can find more exclusive international children’s furniture brands. If you’re looking for a designer nursery, this is the first spot to visit. They also carry modern design toys and homewares, and they’re the only place in town that we’ve known to carry Yoyo brand strollers.