Shopping was our theme last week, and it certainly had a few readers wondering about my own shopping habits. And in particular, the shopping I do when I’m in Paris.
Interestingly, while I do whole stack of window shopping during my travels, I don’t actually buy too much of anything.
The reasons for this outcome (or lack thereof) are many and varied.
Mostly it has to do with the fact that I’m very intentional about what I bring into my wardrobe. If I haven’t specifically identified a need for an item, I’m rarely tempted while I’m shopping.
But sometimes we are simply too busy wandering and taking photos to spend time shopping. Other times it is a question of budget. And quite regularly, it comes from the fact that I really like travelling light. My carry-on size bag definitely limits my ability to shop.
Having said all that though, there are three stores that I visit every single time I’m in Paris. And I know exactly what I’m going to buy before I set foot through their doors. Because they are items that I use day after day. Yes, they are very practical items. But they also allow me to bring a little bit of France into my everyday life.
So today I thought I’d share three of my favourite stores in Paris, and give you a little insight into what I purchase from them.
Three Of My Favourite Stores In Paris
Heyraud – Shoes And Accessories
Since first paying attention to Heyraud while in Strasbourg a few years back, I’ve become quite a fan.
I’ve made a great many purchases – but only two of those buys have involved actual shoes.
(For the record those two pairs were a pair of ballet flats and pair of flat heeled ankle boots that I just adored. Those poor boots were the most overworked footwear I’ve ever owned. They didn’t owe me a cent by the time they couldn’t take another wear.)
But I digress.
The thing that keeps me returning to Heyraud is not the shoes, nor is it the scarves, bags or other goodies they sell. No, it’s far less glamorous than all of that.
My favourite purchase from Heyraud are shoe trees. And not their fancy cedar shoe trees. The ones I love are made from very dense, blue foam and they work a treat.
My very first sales attendant in Strasbourg up-sold me by persuading me to buy a pair (together with those beautiful boots) and I’m so glad she did. I now have a great many pairs of their little blue shoe savers and I credit them with extending the life of all of my shoes.
Heels. Flats. Boots. It doesn’t matter. They all benefit from Heyraud shoe trees. While I believe that shoes are consumables rather than investment pieces, I still want them to last as long as they can.
And my Heyraud shoe trees allow me to achieve that aim.
Eric Bompard – Cashmere
Famous? Yes. Relatively expensive? Maybe, depending on what you are comparing their stock to. High quality? Absolutely.
Eric Bompard is known around the world for exceptional cashmere. And the one beloved jumper/sweater I own demonstrates that quality in spades.
But the things I invest in most regularly from this particular French brand are socks.
One of the least charismatic items of clothing in the universe.
But I can’t tell you how warm and comfortable these socks are. I’ve long been a believer that if you want to walk any sort of distance in something akin to comfort you not only need to consider the shoes you wear. You also need to invest in decent socks.
Eric Bompard makes incredibly decent socks.
And if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll trust my mum. She graciously accepted a pair of my favourite brand of French socks as a Mother’s Day gift. I use the word graciously quite deliberately here, because seriously, who wishes for socks on Mother’s Day?
However, it wasn’t long before she rang me to let me know how impressive her new socks were. She was absolutely loving their softness and warmth.
Now, I have to admit, that as far as socks go, these ones are relatively pricey. But you get what you pay for. And they seem to come on sale fairly often – so I recommend following my lead and buying them when they are discounted.
Chantal Thomass – Lingerie
It’s a fact. French women love lingerie. There are many beautiful French brands that cater to women’s needs. I’ve tried any number of them, but my clear favourite is Chantal Thomass.
And this is one store where I shop for the signature piece rather than something a little more obscure.
I don’t know why I thought it would be intimidating to shop for lingerie in Parisian boutique. After all, I’ve been shopping for lingerie in Australia for a very long time. Was it something to do with the immaculate sales attendants? Was it more about me? Whatever the reason, I was nervous as, many years ago now, I pushed open the door and stepped into the Chantal Thomass boutique on rue Saint-Honore for the very first time.
But I didn’t need to be. Like so many of my French experiences, my initial lingerie shopping adventure ended up being a fabulous one.
Gorgeous, lush surroundings. Excellent, personalised service. Pretty packaging. What’s not to like?
But it’s not the shopping experience that draws me back to Chantal Thomass time and time again (despite the fact that it is always special). No, what sees me returning is the exceptional fit and quality of the items. Both are very impressive. (In fact, the quality is quite outstanding. Those items I bought on that first visit are still going strong…and I’ve got to tell you that I’ve not been super careful with them.)
Lingerie that fits perfectly and lasts for ages – no wonder I keep returning.
Do you have any favourite stores in Paris? What about things that you buy every time you visit? If so, I’ld love for you to share in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.
P.S. Feel like you could use a little support in your own shopping adventures? I’m here to help. Either of my current coaching packages could work for you.
Also, my introductory rates are ending soon. So, if you’ve been thinking about working with me, make sure you get in touch soon to take advantage of my special pricing.
Please note: This is an unsolicited post and no compensation of any kind has been provided by the stores mentioned in the piece.
Looking for more French inspiration? Then don’t miss the #AllAboutFrance Linkup over at the Lou Messugo Blog. Click this link and you’ll discover a diverse range of blog posts all about France.
5 thoughts on “Three Of My Favourite Stores In Paris”
I also love Anne Fontaine for a fabulous white shirt. The line has expanded to more colors and patterns and even beyond shirts, and beyond Paris, but the classic white shirt, with or without a twist, remains the specialty.
Yes Catherine, I agree. Anne Fontaine does amazing shirts. I’ve never actually purchased one in Paris…something for the to-do list perhaps.
What restraint! 😀
I will add five more stores that I love.
1. For espadrilles of all styles and colors, made in France and of excellent quality, a tiny store called La Maison de l’Espadrille at 86 rue de Vaugirard (metro Rennes). Flats, mules, wedges with ankle wraps…they have it all, reasonably priced and of excellent quality.
2. TATI whose slogan is ‘le moins cher!’ (the cheapest) and indeed it is. Tati is an outrageous store full of surprises… Last year, Vogue France actually included Tati’s new ‘Barbès’ sweatshirts in the editorial pages. I bought a cooking scale that I love for 9 euros, it has replaced one that I bought at Williams Sonoma for almost ten times as much. Tati is multiple levels of marble floors, beautiful brass handrails, mirrors…in its last life, it was an upscale restaurant, but that was decades ago. Only go to the mother store at 4 Blvd de Rochechouart (metro Barbès-Rochechouart, line 4) and don’t take your nice handbag or look too prosperous. But it is quite safe – there is security everywhere to keep shoplifting under control. It is a good choice for cheap lingerie: I stock up on pretty floral bra-and-panty sets for 8 euros to round out my expensive but boring beige/black lace underthings.
3. Artisanat Monastique/Aide au Travail des Cloîtres at 68bis avenue Denfert-Rochereau in the 14th. This is a shop that sells the items created for sale in the many monasteries and cloisters of France. Delicious food items such as flower-flavored jellies and infused vinegars as well as needlework and toiletry items such as soap and Eau d’Emeraude.
4. A boring one: Lauren Vidal for the BEST classic pant. 5 rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th but also other locations in Paris. They travel like a dream, almost never wrinkle, and are more comfortable than your most comfortable jeans. Cute with flats, elegant with heels.
5. And one more! Diyananko, Artisanat d’Afrique at 72 rue de Ménilmontant in the 20th. This tiny shop is packed with items made in the former French colonies in Africa. Beaded jewelry, rainsticks, baskets, textiles…at prices that will astonish. The kalimbas (thumb pianos) make clever gifts. I bought an armful of colorful beaded bracelets at 5 euros each.
Paris never disappoints!
While I’m not sure about the restraint, but you are definitely right on one front Alisa. Paris never disappoints – and neither do your comments. Thank you so much for such helpful advice. I will certainly be checking out the espadrilles next time I’m in Paris. I noticed recently that my current pair are looking quite tired. And while I have way too many pairs of black pants (as per my recent admission) I imagine I’ll find it difficult avoid checking out Lauren Vidal. Thanks again for all your tips.
An interesting choice of shops, I would have never thought of Bompard for socks but I do own a pair of cashmere socks and they are lovely so just maybe…I’ll take a peek next time I happen upon a store! I love French cooking shops such as du bruit dans la cuisine and it doesn’t exist in Nice so I make a beeline for it when I’m in Paris. Thanks for linking to #AllAboutFrance