I recently visited the Carmina store in Paris while I was traveling abroad for work. I’ve long-admired the Spanish shoemaker and had been wanting a pair of their shoes for quite some time. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many places that stock Carmina in the United States. Both Epaulet and The Shoe Mart carry a small selection; however, neither store had styles that I was particularly interested in. Moreover, I didn’t want to order internationally without knowing how the shoes fit first. So when then opportunity to see the shoes in person presented itself, I knew I had to take it.
Located on the historic Avenue de l’Opera, the Carmina store is only several blocks away from the Louvre and the Palais Garnier. One might think it would be easy to overlook the store with such magnificent surroundings, but I observed many people walking by, only to stop and stare longingly at the shoes in the window before moving on.
Inside, the store is beautiful with shoes of all shapes and materials lining the walls. From alligator loafers to shell cordovan balmoral boots, it was impressive to see the diverse selection the store had to offer. In addition, the staff on hand was incredibly helpful and charming. If you’re afraid there might be a language barrier, I’ll gladly assure that the combined staff is fluent in French, English, Spanish, and Japanese.
I was quickly assisted by Xavier, who helped size me in many of Carmina’s wonderful lasts. We had a fantastic conversation about shoes, menswear, and comparisons between Paris and San Francisco while I tried on a variety of shoes. I really appreciated how Xavier never pressured me into purchasing anything and allowed me to take my time throughout the process. Ultimately, I tried on around 10 different pairs of shoes before finally settling on a pair of chocolate suede balmoral wingtips in the Rain last.
In the end, visiting the Carmina store was one of the highlights of my trip. Both the shoes and service exceeded my expectations and not only am I looking forward to breaking in my new Carminas, but I also can’t wait to pick up another pair.