Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Favorite Rug Addict Returns to St. Remy


My neighborhood hasn't been the same since Hassan Rida closed his shop Le Mains d'Or and returned home to Syria a few years back. Selling gorgeous Oriental rugs and beautiful housewares from North Africa and the Middle East, Hassan's shop served as something of a local salon for anyone interested in rugs and kilims, antiquities, Middle Eastern art...or just a cup of  tea, a Syrian sesame cookie and a chat. Hassan's sweet French wife, Solange, was often there too, while the Rida boys, Remi and Leith, popped in and out with skateboards, bikes, dogs and friends.  Hanging out in the old shop one day, I once saw something so touching: a little boy came in looking for a present for a friend. He was asking the price of this thing and that...then putting it down dejectedly each time heard the answer. Finally Hassan said ''show me what you like best,'' the little boy did...and Hassan gave it to him with a beautiful smile.

Back in Syria, the Ridas missed their life in St. Remy and I was delighted when Hassan dropped by last month to tell me that they've returned...and have opened a small new shop downtown. Hassan is selling the same range of high-quality wool rugs and kilims--from Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus--along with a small selection of lanterns, distinctive blue glasses that he designs himself and other pretty things for the home and garden. Thanks to his strong ties in the industry (Hassan is the seventh generation of his family to work with rugs), he can source rugs and objets from all over the world. He also does appraisals and is happy to offer advice, whether you become a customer or not. The bulk of his business, however, comes from the highly skilled work he does cleaning and repairing fragile rugs and textiles. His clients have included the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and precious pieces are regularly sent to him from all over France. 

The new shop is called Atelier Rida and it's located at #3 rue Michelet, a tiny street off the recently spiffed up rue Carnot, in St. Remy. It's very close to the Nostradamus Fountain and the Place Renaud, if that helps. If you enter the rue Carnot from the Blvd. Mirabeau, it's the first street on your right. You can also email Hassan at hassanrida13@gmail.com or call 06 42 30 11 38. 

5 comments:

  1. Rugs make a home so cozy that it makes that their purveyors would have such warm hearts! What a welcoming presence to have in your town -- I love the story of the little boy.

    I found your blog through Lindsey at Lost in Cheeseland and look forward to reading more!

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  2. Beautiful pictures of beautiful rugs! So lucky to have him back!

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  3. Oh, Julie....what a wonderful posting. Quite frankly, I'd play the American Karmic Ambassador and buy SOMETHING, at least, in return for that story of his giving a present to the boy.

    I love rug shops. My favorite, for years, was in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was owned by a couple who loved the Middle East and wanted to live there full-time. They compromised by spending half of each year (this was for twenty or so years) in the Middle East...where they bought rugs which they subsequently brought back to Charlottesville. Then (and this was always a happy day on the downtown square), the shutters would go up and the front door to their Aladdin's Cave of a shop would, for the first time in six months, open. It was always a big social event in the town....enormous piles of rugs everywhere...tea and middle-eastern refreshments....and they always did a bang-up business during that first week.

    Similarly, I knew a couple who, for years and years, would go down to Mexico (which they loved very much) and buy silver jewery (although most of their days were spent in volunteer teaching and nursing). They came back, just before christmas, to the States for only about three months of every year; they'd sell all the jewelry, and then head right back to the place they loved best.

    I've always really admired both couples. I should emphasize that they always seemed tremendously happy with each other.

    Thanks for the as-ever good posting.

    Admiringly,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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  4. Hassan came to our house once to identify rugs that I had inherited from my Grandmother, he got very excited about one in particular, but sadly it was so worn, there was barely anything left of it. He is very knowledgeable and passionate about his metier,and I'm so glad to know that he is back in the area.

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