Do you want to know a secret?
I rarely shop for clothing while I’m Paris.
I’ll occasionally pick up shoes, lingerie or accessories. But I just don’t find myself devoting time to shopping for clothes while I’m in the City of Light.
This is despite the facts that I hold style qualifications and that Paris is considered one of the fashion capitals of the Universe.
Part of my reluctance comes from not wanting to waste precious Parisian time in a fitting room. But the primary reason arises thanks to my satisfaction with my curated wardrobe. I hardly ever feel the urge to shop anymore, unless I’m needing to replace a key piece.
Having said all that, when I was asked recently by a Distant Francophile reader to share my recommendations for shopping in Paris I didn’t have a moment of hesitation.
After all, the word rarely isn’t a synonym for never. And we are talking about Paris here.
I do have more than a few shopping tips to share with my fellow travellers – as well as some suggestions that have been put forward by my francophile friends over the years.
Where To Go Shopping In Paris
I’ve written many times on Distant Francophile about that French signature look of that is essentially made up of jeans, flat shoes and a great blazer. One place I always check for blazers while I’m in Paris is Cyrillus. Well made and decently priced, it’s a store where I can find myself easily tempted to add something to my collection.
Cyrillus, 16 rue de Sèvres, in the 7th and various locations around Paris.
Alisa Bearov Landrum, star of the first episode of The Franco-Files recommends Lauren Vidal for a great classic pant. According to Alisa, they travel like a dream, almost never wrinkle, and are more comfortable than your most comfortable jeans. Seems like they might worth a look.
Lauren Vidal, 5 rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th, Also other locations in Paris.
For beautiful, high quality cashmere, it’s hard to go past Eric Bompard. The pullovers are so warm and cosy and come in a kaleidoscope of colours. But for real luxury, try their socks. I promise your feet will thank you.
Eric Bompard – numerous locations in Paris.
And if you are keen to add a classic French piece to your wardrobe, Catherine from Taste of France suggestsAnne Fontaine for a fabulous white shirt.
Anne Fontaine, 396 rue Saint Honoré, in the 1st arrondissement. Also other locations in Paris.
Ines De La Fressange. This eponymous store from the famous Parisian is guaranteed to delight. Go for the cool French clothing, shoes and the notebooks.
Ines De La Fressange, 24 rue de Grenelle, in the 7th.
LDB. Great basics for men and women. The have stores all over Paris, but I like the staircase in the Marais outlet.
LDB, 20 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, 3rd, and stores elsewhere in Paris.
For A Little Bit Of Everything – Les Grands Magasins
For everything under one roof, you cannot go past Paris’ famous department stores. When shopping in Paris, my favourite of these destinations is Le Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (better known as the BHV) in the Marais. The BHV is not as large or as fancy of some of its counterparts, and it does not boast glass domes.
But the BHV is a fun place to shop. While you may not find all the top end brands, I seriously believe you could find anything you might ever desire. Clothing, homewares, craft supplies – it’s all available. And the ‘hardware’ section in the basement (which has access to the Metro) can only be described as a treasure trove!
The BHV, 52 rue de Rivoli, in the 4th.
Le Bon Marché. Today these words simply suggest style. While I’m sure you will be entranced by the very best of Parisian fashion, accessories, homewares and stationery (I never fail to buy a little something while I’m in the stationery department) make sure you don’t miss the stunning architectural features of the store. Head to the top floor to check out the ceiling (and the gorgeous floorboards), and don’t miss the stately staircases.
Nothing to do with clothing, I know, but please don’t leave this part of Paris without heading across the street to Le Bon Marché’s sister store, La Grande Épicerie de Paris. This is one of my favourite Parisian destinations. La Grande Épicerie de Paris stocks food and lots of it. Pick up a little afternoon snack, something for your dinner or at the very least, some treats to take home. Chocolate, dried French tarragon and salt (of all things) always seem to end up in my basket. And if you are champagne lover, make sure you head into the cellar where the friendly staff often offer free tastings!
Le Bon Marché, 24 rue de Sèvres, in the chic 7th arrondissement.
Where do you head when you are shopping in Paris? Please feel free to share your top tips in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.
Please note: This is an unsolicited post and no compensation of any kind has been provided by the stores or brands named in the piece.
8 thoughts on “Where To Go Shopping In Paris”
Paris is the place for serendipity. If you set out to buy a specific thing, you might have to hunt for a long time. But if you simply browse, you will stumble on cool stuff you hadn’t imagined. I bought a wonderful top that was handmade from ribbons, all different patterns but with a common color palette. I never would have said, “I need this,” but it’s a unique piece that has served me well. And there are some good chains, too, such as 1-2-3 and Caroll, that are a step up from Zara and you won’t see the same items on everybody around the world.
At the same time, shopping doesn’t necessarily mean clothes! I always loved the boutique La Chaise Longue in the Marais; there was a corner in the basement with the most oddball items that made wonderful gifts; Pylones is a similar French chain. Now it has expanded and has stores all over France. There’s also Degrenne for arts de la table, or E. Dehillerin for kitchenwares.
Absolutely! Paris is full of things that you never knew you needed but can’t imagine living without now that you have seen them.
Thanks so much Catherine – I love the tips you share here. And your top sounds gorgeous and unique. Just the sort of stylish piece we all love.
I love all of your suggestions, especially the BHV. Their shoe department is really excellent.
I am going to add one perhaps unusual suggestion: TATI. Yes, good old TATI, the French Wal-Mart but even cheaper. Whenever I forget or need something I head there for a disposable replacement. Métro stop Barbes-Rochechouart on line 4 and look for the big pink plaid signs up and down the street, you can’t miss it! The store itself is all marble and mirrors and brass railings; it was a luxe restaurant back in the day. (Way back.) I have a stainless digital kitchen scale that I love that came from TATI for 10 euros.
French Vogue a couple of years ago touted the sweatshirts that said “Barbès” in TATI’s iconic pink plaid as an anti-chic fashion item. They were 9 euros and sold out instantly.
Across the street is the Diplomate restaurant. I haven’t eaten there in a while but it is a very traditional French bistro with the best green beans I have ever had in my life.
And you have to love their motto: TATI le moins cher! (TATI the cheapest!)
(TATI was bought by a conglomerate last year and I am hoping that it keeps its shabby chic anti-splendor.)
And I will offer one other suggestion: UNIQLO, a Japanese clothing store that offers really lovely quality basics for very low prices. The fine-gauge merino wool sweaters at 29 euros are fully-fashioned and machine wash beautifully, perfect for travel. I think that their striped mariners tops at 14 euros are better quality than Saint James, and i have both. There are several stores in Paris but I like the one at FNAC on the rue de Rennes near Montparnasse, métro St Placide on the 4. (Ines de Fressange does a capsule line for them each season and there are always one or two nice pieces.)
Thank you so much Alisa. I love your suggestion about Tati. Despite having stayed very close to the store on twice, I’ve never actually ventured in. While that probably has something to do with the fact that I’d rather people-watch than shop while I’m in Paris, I’m now feeling curious. I’ll need to check Tati out when we get back to Paris later this year. Thanks too for the reminder about UNIQLO. Being an Asian brand, it is one that we here in Australia have relatively easy access to – I never actually think of them while I’m in Paris. UNIQLO have numerous stores here in Melbourne – although I first discovered them on a trip to Singapore. I can certainly vouch for the quality of their woollens (both cashmere and merino). And my son refuses to wear jeans by any other brand.
I am getting a couple of mariner tops from UNIQLO for sure now and I have to check out any new range in store by Ines de Fressange – just love her scarfs! Thanks for these tips Alisa
I am shortly staying on rue Vaneau so will be popping back in and out of Bon Marche for sure. I always enjoy watching the little children and mums/nannies in the garden outside the store. The garden has interesting equipment for children and different plant displays. Such an informative post Janelle xx
Thank you lovely lady. I love that garden too! Enjoy your time in that beautiful part of Paris!!