A Best of France selection.
Across from the Comédie Française and the Palais Royal, the sign of a golden civet cat marks the entrance to one of Paris’s most interesting and historic shops. A La Civette is the oldest tobacco shop in France, founded in 1716, and still renowned as the country’s largest and best purveyor of quality cigars. Although the shop has changed location several times, it’s always been in the neighborhood of the Palais Royal. Begun as a combination tobacconist and perfumer’s shop—civet musk is prized as a fragrance and fixative in the perfume industry—the boutique now belongs to Norbert Weisz and family, who renovated its rather fusty premises in 1997. Today it’s a smoker’s—and especially a cigar lover’s—dream, with a superb walk-in humidor and France’s widest selection of top-quality cigars, including, of course, those from Cuba, but also brands from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras, all of which are attracting increasing attention among aficionados. The coolest accessories are here, too, from cigar cutters in many shapes and sizes to elegant personal humidors in exotic woods. Luxurious cigarette cases, lighters and a wide range of pipes are also offered, and one of the shop’s greatest assets is its welcoming, multilingual and very knowledgeable staff, who patiently assist even nonsmokers to select gifts for cigar-loving friends.
157 rue St-Honoré, 1st. 01.42.96.04.99.
Originally published in the December 2008 issue of France Today.