F1? Check. Yacht show? Check. The Med’s summer season? Check. Monaco is a jet-set hub whatever time of year, as its glittery appeal draws visitors, and their yachts, to moor in Port Hercule. Yet just a few minutes’ walk away from that marina is a global gathering of an entirely different kind, a shop that brings together the best in the world more successfully than any big-name boutique: Pierre.
It’s nondescript from the outside, just another lookalike store along rue Grimaldi, that workday strip set back from the seafront full of useful but unremarkable retail. Step inside, though, and Pierre is a treasure trove. Think of it as a concept store with soul, a stark contrast to the sleek, somewhat soulless boutiques so commonplace in Monaco. The shelves and tables here are artfully piled high with small-batch products that have been passionately curated–genuinely, for once—by the owner, Isabelle Pierre, a soft-spoken presence who glides effortlessly around her palace.
She stressed that it’s only become her store in the last decade—before that, it was Monaco’s foremost antiques dealership, owned by Isabelle’s family since the 1920s. That was when her great-grandfather put up a sign offering his service as a furniture removal man, specializing in pianos, she explains, and quickly turned his hand to dealing the trinkets he’d removed. It was 10 years ago when Pierre, born and brought up in the principality and a proud Monégasque, took over the store and transformed it. “There was no way to make any money in antiques here,” she said, “So I reopened it to be reminiscent of another day and age, when secondhand dealers surprised us by showing items and furnishings we didn’t know.”
It’s a triumph. Her charming luxury treasure trove has none of that officious chilliness that defines the typical store of its ilk but instead feels like a brocanterie crammed with interesting, unexpected luxury goods from across the world. Amble around and look for dishes by Belgium-based Serax, jaunty designs produced in collaboration with chef Yotam Ottologengi or rattan chairs by Parisian brand Maison Drucker; timepieces by French watchmaker LIP sit alongside handmade colorful buttons from Aomori in Japan and midcentury-inflected furniture by Danish brand Skagerak. “I look for people working on their own, and traditionally,” she told Robb Report on a recent visit. “I have a lot of Japanese and Danish companies because of that.”
There’s the occasional nod to its former life—antique vases from Japan, for example—as well as a range of books, mostly in English; there are teddy bears, purses and mirrors, even New England-style Gurgling Cod vases. No surface is left empty, probably because Pierre can’t quite rein in her magpie-like instincts. It’s both a contrast with, and antidote to, the gleaming boutiques nearby, and a connection with a version of Monaco that’s increasingly hard to unearth. Luxury, for Isabelle, comes from heritage and care, not glossy branding. “Everything here has a story—that’s what I am most interested in,” she said.
41 rue Grimaldi, Monaco