RECENTLY as I crisscrossed my way from Cornavin to Plainpalais I cut down a little street off my usual beaten path and as a result discovered one of the most enchanting shops I’ve come across in Geneva.
At Boutique “La 5e” (La Cinquième) proprietress Estelle Ganguillet has assiduously collected antique and decorative items with a keen and knowing eye for beauty, heritage, quality and, in her selection of children’s toys, no small measure of whimsy.
Estelle opened “La 5e” some thirty years ago and aside of a two-year hiatus during recent buiding renovations the shop has remained a favorite haunt for in-the-know shoppers ever since.
Her instinct for sussing out the beautiful antiques — furniture, porcelain, fine china, glass, jewellery, and delightful nic nacs — at flea markets, garage sales and antique shops has been passed on to her daughters Alice and Marie, who also collect items on the store’s behalf and manage it on Estelle’s days off.
A penchant for good taste and a sense of calm has also enriched the store’s decor, one half of which resembles an 18th-century boudoir complete with chandeliers, rich carpeting and soft furnishings as well as wonderful carved boiserie (woodwork) panels that Estelle and her husband purchased at a French château that was undergoing modernisation.
The boutique’s second half nods to vintage, “curio shop”, and contemporary items including delightful Danish-made children’s stuffed dolls, scented candles and distressed-wood candlesticks, and bright ethnic Mexican jewellery.
There’s an especially festive look in the run up to the holidays as Christmas decorations take center stage, including Dutch white-wood ‘bird houses’ (ideal with tea lights inside), festive messages in wood, Xmas banners, and old-fashioned wreaths fashioned from bells.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more original and charming boutique than “La 5e” to visit for Christmas gifts as well as year-round indulgences.
Tip: While you’re in the area stop in at “Les Toutes Belles” a full-to-the-brim vintage, 2nd-hand and “luxe” fashion boutique at 17, rue des Etuves. Then pop by the vintage and contemporary jewellery store “L’Autre” at 4, place de Grenus. The eye-candy collection of 1930-to-1980’s jewellery will have you wanting to play dress up.