If you were walking down the street and saw Le Comptoir de Mathilde you would immediately be drawn in by the unusual structure of the shop, since the outside is modeled like a Medieval Parisian house. The shop gives the illusion that it has a timber frame and that the outside is made out of panels (Simkin). When you walk inside you will find a wide range of chocolates and other delicious treats, like jam. What is interesting about this chocolatier is that just like Legay Choc, they are aware that they are operating in the LGBTQ center of the city, therefore, they try to appeal to both the LGBTQ community and tourists by selling yonic-shaped chocolates and chocolates resembling Kama Sutra positions.
There is very little information about the owner of the chocolatier and where the idea came from. However, it should be noted that this is a chain store and that there is a possibility that only the store located in Le Marais sells these special chocolates. This little store is located behind the Georges Pompidou Center and it is always packed with locals and tourists wanting to sneak a peek at their delicious chocolates. The chocolatier is popular for multiple reasons: their delicious jams and hard chocolates, their special-shaped chocolates, and their free samples. Whenever someone walks into the shop the staff quickly brings over a wooden box; inside lies an assortment of mini chocolates that you can choose from, even if you are just looking around and are not considering buying something.
The golden lights give a very antique feel to the store and the wooden shelves also help create a vintage atmosphere. What strikes most people about this store is how they manage to combine the old with the new. Although the structure of the chocolatier is trying to give off the feeling that it is old, their ever-changing and modern assortment of chocolates keeps the store relevant in such a hip area like Le Marais. For this reason, the store has to target two different audiences: the LGBTQ community in the area and the tourists strolling by the Pompidou Center. As mentioned in the Legay Choc story, the fact that the staff speaks multiple languages shows how they are trying to attract an international audience.
This store is evidence of two things: gentrification in Le Marais and the impact of LGBTQ presence in the neighborhood. Considering that this is a chain store, there is a great possibility that this store displaced a family-owned small business. Similarly, the extent of globalization and Americanization can be viewed in this store because the store is trying to attract international customers and most of their labels are printed in both French and English. Additionally, they are trying to implement a new online service where you can order your chocolates and jam online and have them delivered to your door, which is another of their attempts to modernize.
It should be noted that it is wrongly assumed that after gentrification took place in Le Marais the LGBTQ community was not affected. However, gentrification greatly changed the small streets, physical aspect, and even the atmosphere of the neighborhood. What is now home to popular museums and chic cafés used to be the home of many working class and Jewish Parisians. As a result, many Jewish locals have been displaced and now the Star of David can be sporadically seen around the neighborhood that was once known as the Jewish district. The LGBTQ community, often incorrectly portrayed as luxurious and rich, is among the groups affected by gentrification. A few individuals have had to move to the outskirts of the city where rent is cheaper (Santucci). Business owners have had to make tough calls and either relocate or close their shops. Legay Choc is among the businesses affected and for this reason, it has started marketing itself to tourists. It is unclear whether Le Comptoir de Mathilde is a cause or a symptom of the problem, but one thing is for sure, it is slowly trying to modernize and attracting a new audience.