Paris and shopping, shopping and Paris – the two words seem to match perfectly, and are testament to the city’s long history as a consumer paradise.
The birth-place of couture as we know it, the city overflows with boutiques dedicated to the timeless pieces of all the big-name designers, foreign as well as French. Dior, Galliano, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Gucci, Jean- Paul Gaultier, Chanel, Armani, Burberry – all these can be found at numerous locations around the capital. Paris is not all about big brands however; there are also plenteous opportunities for shoppers on the look out for vintage clothing and accessories, out-of-print books and magazines, artisan-made beauty products and gourmet fare.
BEST SHOPPING AREAS/DISTRICTS
Paris is one big shopping district really, almost every street offering an eye-catching boutique or fine food store.
However, there are wellknown concentrations of shops that it would be folly not to visit, as they combine luxury with convenience. Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is one of the most famous shopping ‘districts’ in Paris, despite being just one road. But what a road it is; stretching from the 16th arrondissement to the 1st, it encompasses all the best designer boutiques as well as incredible fur stores and antique booksellers. Avenue Montaigne is also worth a trip, with its concentration of top designer boutiques such as Dior, Agnés B and Chanel. For those seeking out more modern fashion, the many boutiques dotted around the Marais area are the best option, and are also excellent places to observe the young and oh-sofashionable natives in action.
In a city where tradition, old-school grandeur and classic style reign, Colette is a breath of fresh air.
A resolutely modern concept store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, it is well known for its cutting-edge designer fashion by the likes of Lanvin, Comme des Garçons, Proenza Schouler, and Gareth Pugh, and for its range of cool knick-knacks. Colette is also home to the Water-bar, a restaurant and bar serving over 100 varieties of – yes, you guessed it – water.
FRANCK ET FILS
Located in the 16th arrondissement, known to Parisians as ‘le beau quartier’ due to its exclusivity, Franck et Fils stocks all the big brands but in a quiet, classy environment.
There’s no grabbing or hustling here; staff and customers alike take their time moving around this plush carpeted store, which offers a choice selection of products from houses such as Chanel, Dior, Tod’s, and Fendi. Stop off at the Café de la Grande, the store’s tearoom & restaurant, for a refreshing pause in your shopping, or cross over the road to casual -glam restaurant La Gare for an apéritif.
+33 (0)1 4414 3800
80 Rue de Passy, 75016
GALERIES LAFAYETTE PARIS HAUSSMANN
In 1893, cousins Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn opened Galeries Lafayette.
Initially a small haberdashery store, it grew into what is now a 10-story department store selling luxury products of all shapes and sizes. Designer women’s and menswear is plentiful in this immense shopping destination, but the big draw must be the beauty department, positioned directly underneath a magnificent glass-domed ceiling. Don’t forget to check out the window displays too; the artful and extremely aesthetic arrangements are an excellent source of fashion inspiration.
+33 (0)1 4282 3456
40 Boulevard Haussman, 75009
LE BON MARCHÉ
The only department store on the Left Bank, Le Bon Marché is Elite Traveler’s favorite of the lot.
Although smaller than Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, it is more select in its choice of products, stocking only the classiest and most elegant clothes and accessories. The interior is modern, light and spacious; here it is the products that draw the eye, not the décor. Recent developments include the newly-refurbished ‘papeterie’, an airy, extensive stationery section filled with rows of glossy books on every conceivable topic, plus comfy armchairs in which to browse them.
+33 (0)1 4439 8000
24, Rue de Sèvres, 75007
Classic Italian tailoring at its best, Stefano Ricci offers refined clothing and accessories for the discriminating gentleman, as well as a coveted home ware range.
All garments are handmade, with shirts cut from the finest Egyptian cotton and sewn together by expert craftsmen. The trademark cufflinks are handmade by master goldsmiths using solid gold, platinum, diamond and a host of semi-precious stones including blue topaz, rhodolite and onyx. The luxury leather range includes wallets, footwear, belts, travel bags and handbags for the perfect gift.
+33 (0)1 4723 7550
97 Avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008
Founded in 1865, Printemps is one of Paris’s great ‘grand magasins’ or department stores.
Almost side by side with its rival, Galeries Lafayette, it is a vast bazaar of all that is beautiful, luxurious and exclusive. Behind its listed Art-Nouveau façade lie accessories, clothing, homeware and beauty products by Gucci, Guerlain, Paule Ka, Furla, Piaget, Hermès and many others. Printemps also offers its visitors a range of dining or cafe options; visit the in-store Ladurée boutique for a reinvigorating coffee and pastry, or in summer ascend to ‘Le Délicieux’, a chic rooftop restaurant with panoramic views over Paris.
+33 (0)1 4282 5787
64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009
BEST FOOD SHOPS IN PARIS
It is almost impossible to visit Paris and not walk by at least one ‘fromagerie’ or cheese shop; they are everywhere, and testament to the French’s great love of the stuff.
Not all fromageries are equal however, so if you are looking to taste a truly scrumptious cheese head to a branch of Androuët, one of the finest cheese ‘houses’ in the capital. Androuët cheeses, selected from the best producers in France, are carefully chosen for their superior quality and provenance, and matured by a team of passionate cheesemongers. Try one of their ‘banon’, a goats cheese from Provence that comes wrapped in a chestnut leaf, or plump for the famous ‘Mont d’Or’, a mild, gloriously gooey cow’s cheese perfect for baking in the oven and eating with toasted baguette fingers.
Stephane Blohorn (owner and general manager)
+33 (0)9 7581 2715
37 Rue de Verneuil, 75007 (St Germain branch)
LA GRANDE ÉPICERIE DE PARIS
Just across the road from Le Bon Marché lies their food hall, La Grande Épicerie, a cavernous space brimming with gourmet treats.
Whether you require a gift to take back home or top-quality ingredients for a luxury picnic, the options here are endless: confectionery, cheeses, cured meats, wines, baked items, desserts, fresh fruit and vegetables, leaf tea, coffee beans ground before your eyes – all these and more are available. Make like the Parisians and come here to stock up on champagne, baguettes and a gooey French cheese before wending your way to the banks of Ile St Louis to watch the sun setting over Notre-Dame.
+33 (0)1 4439 8000
38 Rue de Sèvres, 75007
Nicknamed the ‘Picasso of pastry’ by his fellow Frenchmen, patissier par excellence Pierre Hermé is the current king of the Parisian patisserie world.
A master at creating strange yet superb flavor combinations, he has enchanted gourmands for quite some time with his cakes, pastries and macaroons. Visit the flagship boutique on Rue Bonaparte to pick up a rich chocolate tarte or try out their house specialty, the ‘Ispahan’, a giant raspberry macaroon filled with rose and lychee cream and fresh raspberries, topped with sugared rose petals.
+33 (0)1 4354 4777
72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006