Following the Music to French-American Eclecticism

Emily Haney


If the thick coat of pollen blanketing Charleston hasn’t already made it obvious, spring has sprung in the Holy City. Yes, Charlestonians, rejoice—beach weather is just around the corner, and the city is gearing up for a summer’s worth of out-of-town visitors who come to enjoy its unique charm.


If you’re like me, the beach can’t hold a candle to a long, winding stroll through town. Last week's gorgeous weather took me from my apartment in Elliotborough to my favorite place in Charleston, the graveyard of the Unitarian Church of Charleston on Archdale Street and, finally, to the least touristy gift shop I’ve ever come across in the downtown area. C’est La Vie, located on North Market Street, is a French boutique-inspired shop with an eclectic mix of products ranging from decorative baubles to jewelry to books and art. This store encompasses the spirit of Charleston and of Market Street in particular—the spirit born from mixing a multitude of cultures into Charleston’s own particular brand of Southern tradition. They know how to strike a balance between appeasing tourists and appealing to locals, and even know not to choose sides in South Carolina’s epic college football rivalry between USC’s Gamecocks and Clemson’s Tigers.


Store owner Peyton has successfully brought her own take on a Parisian flea market to Charleston with C’est La Vie. With local legends Shovels & Rope playing in my ears, I spent the better part of an hour perusing through this shop, smiling at the cute variety of socks embroidered with clever phrases and fighting the urge to buy up every piece of jewelry I laid my eyes on. Their prices cover a wide range, making it easy for both college students and South of Broad residents to stumble upon a newfound treasure. C’est La Vie is a local’s favorite souvenir shop, and I will definitely be visiting again.


There’s nothing better than going on a sunny walk with your favorite music blasting in your ears. Check out this playlist featuring national, international, and local artists, and seriously consider making it the soundtrack to your next stroll through town. You never know where the music will lead you.


Playlist C’est La Vie
“Who” | David Byrne & St. Vincent
“Dear America,” | Company
“Sweet Louise” | The Belle Brigade
“White and Blue” | Steven Fiore
“Boxcar” | Shovels & Rope
“Dimes” | Can’t Kids
“Down” | The Kooks
“Wild Heart” | Bleachers
“Forget” | Lianne La Havas
“Let It Carry You” | José González
“Days of Our Youth” | Brave Baby
“Bang!Bang!” | Iwan Rheon
“Fools Gold” | Fitz & The Tantrums