There’s nothing quite like shopping in the City of Light, and while, yes, you will find the usual suspects like Chanel, Dior and Saint Laurent, Paris has so much more to offer than just big-ticket designer fashion (although that’s nice too!). Even with globalization moving at a fast and furious pace, those seeking one-of-a-kind shops will not be disappointed in the luminous French capital. Paris continues to lure inspired retailers, designers and curators to display their wares in fresh and unique ways.
Here’s our idea of how to spend the perfect afternoon shopping in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.
LOVE FOR LUXE
Begin your day browsing the uber-chic shopping stretch on Avenue Montaigne, home to the world’s best luxury emporiums, including Chanel, Valentino, Harry Winston, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Celine. If you still haven’t had your fill of over-the-top high-end fashion, we suggest you make your way by taxi to Hermes (24 Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore), the high-temple of classic French fabulousness. If you’re not quite ready to drop 10 grand on that Birkin handbag, we suggest you consider a piece of Hermes jewelry or a scarf as a posh souvenir of your trip.
Avenue Montaigne — Ralf.treinen, Wikimedia CommonsNeed a macaroon break? Grab a quick sugar fix at Laduree (18 Rue Royale) or take a proper break for a pot of tea in their quaint tearoom. Next stop is Dary’s (362 Rue Saint-Honore). Since 1932 this small jewel box of a boutique has been selling antique jewels to a discerning clientele. From Victorian- and Art Deco-era precious gems to ’50s plastic baubles, this little shop has it all. Be prepared, though: There is a lot to absorb, so best to repeat your calming mantra before entering. This is a shop for serious jewelry lovers.
FASHION (AND FRAGRANCE) FORWARD
Farther down the street switch gears and enjoy a forward-fashion moment at the ever-evolving hot spot Colette (213 Rue Saint-Honore). From Alaia to the latest in street fashion, Colette is the A-Z for seekers of all things trendy. There are great gifts to be had here for everyone who loves skate culture, music high design, high fashion and beauty.
Colette — Marquinam, flickrA few blocks down the road and to the right is the incredible Palais Royal, which houses one of the most exotic temples of scent. The Serge Lutens boutique (142 Galerie de Valois at the Jardins du Palais-Royal) is the shop of the visionary parfumer and long-time creative director for Shiseido, Serge Lutens. This shop showcases his singular brand of delicious fragrances and minimal cosmetics (try the favorite Mise a Mort lipstick shade). His boutique is a dark (black is his preferred color and is used generously) moody emporium that represents his unique vision of style and beauty.
If you’re not awestruck by the symmetry of the Palais-Royal itself, you sure will be by our next stop!
VINTAGE AND ARTSY FINDS
Didier Ludot’s La Petite Robe Noire (125 Rue Valois, Jardin du Palais Royal) is a brilliant shop that celebrates the sole style of the LBD (or little back dress). Here you will find vintage black dresses by Chanel, YSL, Givenchy and more. This shop combines the best of vintage with Ludot’s own collection of little black dresses.
L’Eclaireur — Jason Whittaker, flickrReady for a change of atmosphere? Pop over to Le Marais, the arty equivalent of NYC or London’s Soho districts. One of our favorite shops and a must for those who favor droopy layers of black designer clothes is multi-brand boutique L’Eclaireur (40 Rue de Sevigne). This store is stocked with the edgiest hard-to-find labels.
For the coolest (un-logoed) leather bags, make your way to Florian Denicourt (24 Rue Charlot). Here you’ll find slightly androgynous shapes in rich but rough leathers that have a distinct rock ‘n’ roll vibe. These are bags for her and him, and they’re guaranteed to last a lifetime.
SHOES AND ONE-STOP SHOPPING
Next stop is the cult French shoe brand, K. Jacques (16 Rue Pavee), which has been cobbling sandals for chic women since 1933. At their boutique, you will find a selection of their classic strappy thong-and-jeweled Grecian-style sandals along with their newer cork platforms and mid-heel sandals. Off the rack or made to your specifications, K. Jacques is a must for every well-heeled boho babe.
Le Marais is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris, so you could be lost in its charms, wandering the streets for hours, but for serious shoppers we suggest hopping a taxi to one more must-see shop. Merci (111 Boulevard Beaumarchais) has become the premier shopping destination for those on the lookout for an eclectic mix of high and low design and fashion. At this unique concept store you will find books, furniture, jewelry, quirky ephemera, women and men’s fashion, children’s clothing and even flowers. Merci represents a shift in lifestyle away from the slick, trend-driven to the thoughtful and purposefully curated products.
At this point in our shopping tour, even the most intrepid shopper will be showing signs of exhaustion. Luckily, this emporium of chic has not 1, but 3 different café-style restaurants to revive you from your day of Parisian shopping.