Can you spot the differences between this picture and the Mercier in its initial state?
If you are thinking that the colour scheme looks a bit different, you are right. Originally, the Mercier had black lugwork and paneling - but to my eye, this created too harsh of a contrast with the cream frame. It also had the effect of stopping the eye at the frame's joints and making the bicycle look "choppy", whereas I like mixtes to have an elongated, fluid look to them. So after considering my options, I bought some enamel paint and hand-painted over the black lugwork and panels. The new colour is a light green-gray; very French and Spring-like. I have yet to redo the gold pinstriping around the edges, but from a distance it looks passable as is.
Another visible update to the Mercier is this fantastic Ideale saddle - acquired in a trade with a Lovely Bicycle reader (thank you!).
Ideale saddles are French, and described in this interesting article as "celebrated and enigmatic". This one is a Model 6, which is a short-nosed women's model from the 1970's.
It is comparable to a Brook's B72S and has two rear loop springs.
An extremely comfortable, elegant saddle. And the engraving is gorgeous. I have cycled a total of maybe 50 miles on it so far and it feels just perfect.
The last significant update has been replacing the tires. The shop where I found the bike fitted it with 20mm racing tires. To give you a point of reference, 20mm is narrower than the wheel rims. I think the fact that I was even able to ride on these tires at all - let alone 10 miles to Harris Cyclery to get new tires - is a testament to how stable and comfortable the Mercier is. The only problem I had, was with cracks in the road: 20mm tires are narrow enough to get stuck in the most innocent-looking cracks! After this happened to me once and I almost got knocked off the bike, I became hyper-vigilant.
Thankfully, now the bicycle is fitted with 32mm Panaracer Pasela Tourguards - a beautiful vintage-looking tire with tan walls and superb puncture protection (These are the same tires I have on Marianne, and I have been very happy with them over the past year).
In addition to these updates, there are other little things we've done, like remove the spoke protector and the reflectors from the wheels, remove the Pletscher rack (which did not look right on this bike), clean the handlebar grips, and replace the black tape used to patch up a crack in the white cable housing with white tape, making it less visible. Future updates will include a set of inexpensive fenders from Velo Orange, a vintage front rack, and switching the downtube shifters to a set of old stem-mounted ones. So far, the only new components or accessories I have bought for this bike have been the tires. Everything else has been vintage, and for the most part acquired in a trade. I think I will try to do the same with future updates. Will see where this goes!