The Best Shopping in Paris
You might want to consider bringing an extra suitcase when visiting Paris, home of magnificent Art Deco and Art Nouveau department stores, sprawling flea markets, and one-of-a-kind boutiques – you definitely don’t want to go home empty-handed.
5 Rue de Picardie, 75003 Paris, France
Empreintes is a craft concept store housed on three light and airy floors of a mansion in the upper Marais. The jewelry, furniture, garments, and housewares displayed here have been created exclusively by members of a French artist collective. Season café serves drinks and treats from mugs, plates, and glasses that are conveniently available for purchase. There is a bookstore for those looking for inspiration. The indigo-dyed scarves are a très Parisien souvenir for friends and family at home, and the wooden bowls and small vases pack nicely into most luggage.
132-140 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France
Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, aka Clignancourt, is Europe’s largest flea market and the city’s favorite place to find a bargain. Exiting the Métro at Porte de Clignancourt, those in the know pass by the counterfeit designer-goods hawkers, avoid the parking lot with camper vans full of cheap goods, and head under the overpass to Rue des Rosiers. Groups of stalls form smaller flea markets, each with its own specialty, so shopping can feel like walking through a museum where you can actually buy things. The market called Serpette draws serious dealers looking for mid-century marvels, but shoppers who head as far as Jules Vallès market may score some true bargains. Of course, this is France, where food matters, so there are plenty of local cafés to choose from. Ma Cocotte is trendy chic, La Chope des Puces has live jazz with moules frites, and Chez Louisette draws a crowd nostalgic for French tunes with its simple steak frites.
16 Rue des Saints-Pères, 75007 Paris, France
Paris is known not just for romance but also as a destination for art—creating art, viewing art, and buying art in all its forms. On the first Thursday of every month the art galleries in the neighborhood of St.-Germain-des-Prés turn culture into a fete as they stay open until 9 p.m. Opening night exhibitions and ongoing shows turn the neighborhood into one large block party and attract celebrities like Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve. Visit Galerie Flak to learn more about the primitive arts and admire Inuit sunglasses, African masks, or Hopi kachina dolls. Galerie Marcelpoil specializes in modernist furniture from Lyonnais master Sornay, and Galerie Claude Bernard specializes in collectible contemporary art. After the shows, head to Alcazar for dinner in an indoor garden or listen to live jazz at L’Hôtel’s Le Bar.
33 Rue de Poitou
Tammy & Benjamin offers an antidote to the modern disposable lifestyle with a selection of limited-edition leather bags. The shelves are stocked with streamlined backpacks, practical yet charming totes, and pocketbooks that could have been worn in the ‘40s yet still create fashion envy today. The line’s workshop is just blocks from the flagship store, which ensures that all the craftsmanship for sale here is locally sourced.
3 Place du Palais Bourbon, 75007 Paris, France
L’Atelier Renard has been making custom handbags for France’s elite for generations, using a technique that was originally created for horse saddles. Atelier Renard handcrafts elegant bags destined to become family heirlooms. Briefcases, handbags, evening bags, and luggage are custom-made for clients from across the globe. The prices are similar to famous international designer brands, but these bags are one of a kind. Choosing from an existing model, patrons can then customize every aspect of their bag, designing the form they need, selecting the leathers for inside and out, and choosing the hardware.
Viaduc des Arts, 85 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France
Le Viaduc des Arts, an abandoned railway line, was converted into an elevated park, and the arches below it were turned into ateliers for artisans. Parasolerie Heurtault is one of the workshops worth a detour. Master artisan Michel Heurtault created corsetry in haute couture houses before pursuing his childhood passion of making and restoring bespoke umbrellas. In the showroom, ready-made umbrellas and precious handles fill shallow drawers. Rolls of silk and natural fiber fabrics are gathered into colorful bouquets in the workshop beyond. In addition to providing shelter from the rain, Monsieur Heurtault will repair family heirlooms and makes spectacular pieces for period films.
111 Bd Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France
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.
81 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris, France
Known for the poetic hippie style of her jewelry designs, Emmanuelle Zysman works from a Paris atelier, designing pieces in hammered silver, vermeil, and gold studded with semiprecious stones, like black diamonds, garnets, and turquoise. She began her career designing leather wallets and bags, but her silver good-luck bracelets became impossible to keep in stock, so she expanded the jewelry selection to include stackable rings and stringed bracelets. This gifted designer can even give simple hoop earrings an extra sense of swag.
Quai de Valmy
The location for the most charming scenes in the movie Amélie, this once-forgotten neighborhood is now a destination for the young and fun-loving. As soon as the weather turns warm, picnickers line the paths along this 19th-century waterway, watching bridges rise and turn to allow barges to pass. Shopping, food, drink, and diversions also abound here: Artazart (83 Quai de Valmy) is recognized as one of the best design bookstores in Europe, while Le Comptoir Général, just across the bridge, offers live music and cheap drinks. Chez Prune has one of the city’s most popular terraces for enjoying a glass of something refreshing and a chance to watch Paris go by.
This picturesque street in one of Paris’s poshest quartiers is dotted with gourmet sweet shops. Beginning at the eponymous Rue du Bac metro station, Chapon offers decadent taste-tests of single-estate chocolate mousses. On the next corner, Jacques Genin sells mouthwateringly good caramels along with his famous chocolate treats. The shops Des Gâteaux et du Pain and La Pâtisserie des Rêves also sell sweets, but this time they’re enveloped in a pastry delivery system. Le Bac à Glaces tries another sugary route: It scoops out the city’s most infamous dark chocolate sorbet. End the stroll at the gourmet temple La Grande Epicerie de Paris, a grocery store filled with more unforgettable tastes of Paris to tuck in your bag and take home.
5 Rue de la Banque, 75002 Paris, France
Shopping passages were built in the 19th century to give Parisians protection from muddy streets and horse-drawn vehicles. Galerie Vivienne is a beautiful restored 19th-century passage with entrances at the Rue des Petits-Champs, Rue de la Banque, and Rue Vivienne. Built in 1823 in a neoclassical Pompeian style that includes a gorgeous canopy and is decorated inside with mosaics, paintings, and sculptures, Galerie Vivienne’s most famous resident is the Jean-Paul Gaultier shop. Some passage entrances are easy to miss, so be on the lookout! A stroll through these fascinating galeries is a fun and free activity on a rainy day.
46 Rue du Bac
Since 1831 Deyrolle has been the taxidermist for Parisians. In the two-story shop on the lovely Rue du Bac, you’ll find everything from domestic animals and large exotic mammals (lions! zebras!) to insects, shells, birds, and educational books. Parisians bring their small children here to teach them about the natural world because it feels like a beautiful natural history museum as much as an odd little shop of curiosities. In one room, drawers display beautiful insects and seashells for purchase. A small gardening shop on the first floor may be of interest to companions for whom taxidermy feels icky.
Marché d’Aligre is a very special place: Commerces de bouche (mouth businesses!) line up to sell their goods, an orchestra of voices calls out daily specials, and cheesemongers offer free samples. The market’s selection changes with the seasons. In summer, apricots from the Roussillon, figs from Toulouse, and bouquets of herbs from Provence spill from cases and perfume the air. As fall arrives, the butcher will display fresh game from the hunt, and there’s usually at least one stand where someone is shucking fresh oysters. After your visit here, your appetite will surely be piqued; happily the neighborhood is rich in restaurants that base their menus on what’s fresh at the market.
9 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris, France
The friendly neighborhood of Rue des Martyrs is a favorite destination for buying edible souvenirs of Paris. To get started, head to No. 9, where the beautiful Chambre aux Confitures stocks endless jars of jam for your morning tartine as well as chutneys and caramel spreads and honey. Première Pression Provence bottles the sunny taste of Provence into excellent olive oils for the larder. The pastry shop Sébastien Gaudard has sweet treats for consumption now or later. Down the street at No. 30 is a honey shop, Famille Mary, which sells ultralocal honey produced by three apiaries around Paris. Order vacuum-sealed cheeses to be sent home from the extraordinary displays at Fromagerie Beillevaire. A walk along this street offers many culinary temptations—go discover some on your own.
3 Rue Notre Dame des Champs, 75006 Paris, France
At Maison Verot, locals get in line to stock up on all kinds of elaborate goodies. Verot has been making some of Paris’s best charcuterie since 1930, and it is still winning prestigious awards. Products vary with the season but will most likely include elaborate pâtés baked in pastry, local sausages, preserved meats called rillettes, a selection of deli salads, and a variety of products preserved in aspic. Verot’s location is convenient to the Luxembourg Gardens, so perfect for a nearly instant picnic.
86 Avenue Gambetta, 75020 Paris, France
Even before its designation as 2010’s best bakery by restaurant guide Gault & Millau, La Gambette à Pain drew long lines to buy its bread. The boulangerie bakes some of the best loaves in the city, working with carefully selected organic flours. You won’t find fancy Parisian pastries here—the focus stays on breads. There are some sweets, however: tempting viennoiseries (goodies made with yeast dough) like an orange flower blossom brioche and seasonal fruit tarts.
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Located at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, a stone’s throw from the Seine and draped in the shadow of Notre Dame, is what should be proclaimed one of France’s national treasures: the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This is actually the second site of the store; the original was closed in June 1940 due to the German occupation of Paris during the Second World War. The current location opened in 1951 as Le Mistral, but the name didn’t stick for long. Walk through the green double doors to find a world steeped in history and literary greatness. Endless stacks of books and shelves teeming with manuscripts make it hard to move around. The smell of old books hangs in the air, and that fragrance alone is reminiscent of a bygone era. My own weathered copy of A Moveable Feast was picked up here (Hemingway was a frequent visitor of the original shop). Stop in for a minute or stay for hours: Shakespeare welcomes your company.
7 Passage Saint-Paul
Locals queue up for delicious cheeses from this fromagerie, whose namesake owner received a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the country’s highest honor for a craftsperson (in this case, for his skills as a master of cheese). Aged Comté is king here, but there are also signature creations not to miss, including Roquefort layered with quince jam and a chèvre marinated in walnut oil. A selection of super-aged cheeses—try them if you dare—are aged right beneath the shop.
Jardin du Palais Royal, 24 Galerie de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
Opinionated, obsessive designer Didier Ludot has one of the city’s best collections of vintage couture and accessories. If you’re looking for that perfect Courrèges dress or a mint-condition Hermès Plume bag (one of Ludot’s personal favorites), head to his eponymous boutique in the Jardin du Palais Royal. On offer is haute couture, classic handbags, as well as impeccably restored vintage furs.
40 Boulevard Haussmann
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is worth a visit if only to stand under its magnificent glass dome. The family business has survived as a one-stop-shopping hub for five generations, thanks to steady innovation and an emphasis on high fashion and design. Shoppers appreciate its easy VAT refund policy. There are also multiple restaurants, a rooftop terrace with stunning city views and a cultural space for rotating art exhibitions.
24 Rue de Sèvres
A five-level emporium specializing in French luxury brands (Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel), Le Bon Marché traces its origins to a stall run by a hatmaker’s son and his wife in 1852. The beauty department is under an Art Deco glass ceiling; the third floor features an extensive children’s department with toys, books and clothing. La Grande Épicerie de Paris, Le Bon Marché's expansive and extraordinary food hall, is across the street.
83 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris, France
Behind the iconic orange-red facade you’ll find a treasure-trove of art and design books, with a vast selection that covers photography, landscape architecture, fashion, graphic design, street art and much, much more. The shop also stocks whimsical design products, as well as Freitag bags. Book signings and exhibitions are regularly held.
5 Rue Houdon
Shopping at this store in the Montmartre feels more like visiting a young Parisian fashionista’s flat, with independent designer duds spread out across various furnished “rooms.” Around 20 brands are carried here—and most of the items are made right in Paris by fledgling designers you likely won’t find anywhere else. Look for delicate leather jewelry by May & June, timeless dresses from Oh Suzy! and sparkly bags from Paillette Thérapie.
133 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
This isn’t your local Walgreens—the edgy glass-and-steel facade should tell you that. And while you can buy aspirin at its pharmacy or Le Figaro at its newsagent, Publicis is really about upmarket retail: Petrossian caviar, Acqua di Parma cologne, Harmon Kardon speakers, an 1,100 euro handbag from Jerome Dreyfuss. You can also pick up a fine cigar from its humidor or a fine Bordeaux from its wine cave. The two-story “drugstore” also houses a cinema, brasserie and two gourmet restaurants.
34 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France
With a girly, boudoir-like vibe—all rose-colored furnishings and filmy pink curtains—the boutique sets the stage for Fifi Chachnil’s delicate, 50s-inspired underthings. Expect lots of lace and bows—and even fur accents—on the vintage-style bras, panties, slips and garters. In addition to lingerie, you can find a smattering of cute outerwear, including gingham rompers and fuzzy angora sweaters.
18-20 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris, France
At first glance, this cookware emporium feels like a dusty relic. But dig a little deeper, especially in the basement, and you’ll find just about anything you could need for the kitchen, along with plenty of treasures you don’t—duck press, anyone?—but would love all the same. Knives, copper cookware, and ceramics are the selection’s biggest strengths.
3-5 Square de l'Opéra-Louis Jouvet, 75009 Paris, France
Fragonard is among the best-known parfumeurs in France; its history dates back to 1926, when the company was founded by Eugène Fuchs who named it after the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. There are several locations across Paris, but the one near the Opera is the most fun to visit, as it’s actually a (free) museum showing the art of perfume-making, as well as a shop where you can buy Fragonard products. Be sure to check out the historic orgue à parfums, a multi-tiered collection of bottles resembling a church organ that were used to mix fragrances.