It is in Marseille that one can discover the oldest hardware store in France and one of my very favorite sources of inspiration. originally created in 1827, and now a beautiful concept store maison empereur remains today an essential place to visit when in Marseille. it’s got many personalities — hardware and gadget store, gourmand cooking go-to, homewares extraordinaire and even the cutest children’s toy store (i picked up a pair of those colorful bicycle handlebar streamers!). but what is not quite obvious, is that it’s also an inn. this darling shop also houses a secret apartment where you can spend the night. up two flights of stairs and there you are: maison empereur opens the doors to a french apartment of a bygone era. This place is not necessarily adapted to all — up a winding staircase to the second floor without elevator and no tv or wifi access, but a magical travel experience to be certain. to my surprise, it’s even listed on airbnb. we asked the maison empereur shop proprietors if we might have a look and they graciously gave us a private tour, where i snapped as many pics as i could. next time i’m in marseille, i’ll definitely spend a night here.