It isn’t uncommon to see large tour buses idling in front of Merci, one of the city’s most popular home and design shops, as visitors alight, armed with canvas shopping totes and credit cards at the ready. The store’s philanthropic mission brings in droves of both tourists and locals—profits are donated to a charity in Madagascar that aids women and children. It is a veritable feel-good shopping destination. One caveat: The goods for sale don’t come cheap. While high-end homewares and designer duds don’t match all budgets, Merci’s space itself is undeniably cool. When I’m feeling strapped for cash and want the Merci experience, I head to its Used Book Café. Used books, old and new, decorate this cozy library-inspired café where I can read, write, people-watch (and play the guessing game of “What’s in that Merci bag?”), and rejuvenate with a freshly pressed lemonade. With each sip, a feeling of calm washes over me—a type of Zen harder to reach on the bustling streets of Paris. All beverages, hot or cold, are served with a bite-size piece of cake and a smile. Grab one of the mismatched vintage armchairs, the fresh scones with jam, or the American-sized lattes. But on a warm, sun-drenched Paris day, it’s the citronnade between shop-hopping that sets you right.