AOL Travel
Print

Best Paris Shopping

AOL PICK from our Editors

Paris shopping is reason alone many visitors come to the city, with fabulous food shops, fashion boutiques, grand Art Nouveau department stores, glass-roofed arcades and vibrant markets.

If shopping is a key reason for your Paris vacation, you might want to time your trip for the Paris soldes (Paris sales): biannual stock clearances that slash the prices of clothes, house wares and pretty much anything else you can fit in your suitcase or ship home. Traditionally, these state-regulated sales periods occur for around six weeks at a time: in early summer (roughly late June to early August), and early winter (just after Christmas until around early February). Check upcoming dates with Paris’s tourist office. Since la crise (the global financial crisis, which actually hasn't hit France as bad as many countries), these regulations have been somewhat relaxed, so check for signs promoting soldes exceptionnels (sales outside the regular periods) too.

Americans (and anyone who lives outside the European Union) shopping in Paris, can claim the TVA (value-added tax) back on purchases in certain cases. Read up on requirements beforehand (Paris’s tourist office is a good starting point), as there are some fairly complex rules, restrictions and procedures. Below we’ve outlined the neighborhoods that offer the best of Paris shopping.

Les Halles and around Van Le

Les Halles and around

Neighborhood: Central right bank

Since the 1970s, what was the site of the city’s produce markets has instead housed the biggest shopping mall in Paris, the soulless, subterranean maze, Forum des Halles. You'll find major chain stores, including electronics retailer Fnac. And ongoing renovations are aiming to improve its aesthetics. But it's frankly a shame to waste your Paris shopping and vacation time down here.

Chain stores such as clothing retailer H&M also congregate along rue de Rivoli around the Châtelet metro entrances.

One of the hippest stores in this neighborhood is the concept shop Colette, which stocks a changing line-up of super-funky men's and women's fashions (from 'Evian Baby' T-shirts to Alexander McQueen), neo-retro toys, Kiehl's beauty products and music (including its own compilations). The menu at its basement bar includes gourmet New York-style hot dogs and several dozen different mineral waters from around the world. 

More Details on

Les Halles and around  

Marais

Neighborhood: Eastern right bank

Shopping in Paris demands a visit to this neighborhood of small, specialized boutiques that spread through this trend-setting part of town. The lower Marais has a huge concentration of places selling hip house wares, and jewelry and accessory (often staffed by their creators). Paris’s stylish dogs are outfitted by Un Chien dans le Marais, stocking everything from doggie PJs to tuxedos. A bounty of food shops include some fantastic Jewish delis, while the nearby stretch of rue de Rivoli is home to department store BHV.

The upper (Haut) Marais is the relatively recent domain of a slew of edgy and/or emerging designers. Some of the best streets for a Paris shopping spree here include rue Charlot (where you'll find Emilie Casiez rock-and-roll-wear), rue de Poitou (with Japanese kimono-style wraps and slim-fitting suits by former Lacoste creative director Christophe Lemaire), and rue Vieille du Temple (home to the flagship of fashion store/creative studio Surface to Air, with 'retro '90's' designs including two-tone guy's polo shirts and pleated women's leather shorts).
Triangle d'Or Van Le

Triangle d'Or

Neighborhood: Western right bank

In this very well-heeled part of town, Paris Golden Triangle—bordered by three of the city's most graceful avenues—George V, Montaigne, and the Champs-Élysées—is home to legendary labels like Christian Dior, Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Chloé and Givenchy. For decadent spa treatments as well as its trademark perfumes, stop into Guerlain. Up near the Arc de Triomphe, Publicis Drugstore is a Paris institution. Not only does it have a drugstore, but also cigar and wine cellars, a gourmet food shop and an international newspaper and magazine kiosk. But Triangle d'Or is best known for its brasserie and bar providing prime people-watching over the Champs-Élysées.

Saint-Germain-des-Pres Van Le

Saint-Germain-des-Pres

Neighborhood: Central left bank

This cultured sector of the left bank is steeped in history, so it's not surprising that this is where Paris shoppers find the city's finest antiques. Most are clustered around the area known as the Carré Rive Gauche, at Saint-Germain-des-Prés' western edge, which is home to some 120 traders.

Paris’s upscale design boutiques scatter throughout Saint-Germain-des-Prés; famous flagships here include Sonia Rykiel. The magnificent Art Nouveau department store Bon Marché, completed in 1852 by tower designer Gustave Eiffel is a quintessential Saint-Germain-des-Prés shopping experience. High-end French and international designers represented in-store run from Azzedine Alaia to Dries van Noten, Isabel Marant to Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney and dozens of others. Bon Marché's food emporium, La Grande Épicerie de Paris, with an onsite cafeteria, is a gourmand's fantasyland.

More Details on

Saint-Germain-des-Pres  
Grands Boulevards Van Le

Grands Boulevards

Neighborhood: Central right bank

Paris’s Grands Boulevards area is synonymous with two of the city's grandest department stores. Topped by a glass dome, Galeries Lafayette has a fabulous rooftop cafe, free fashion shows, and high-end goods. Printemps is also crowned by stained glass, and sells house wares, fashions and accessories.

In this part of town you'll also find beautiful glass-roofed passages couverts (covered passages). Tiny shops within these arcades are full of unexpected treasures like vintage black-and-white postcards of Paris, antiquarian postage stamps and antique jewelry. Some of the finest arcades are Paris’s oldest, Passage des Panoramas, and, across boulevard Montmartre, Passage Jouffroy and its northern extension, Passage Verdeau.  

Slightly south, place de la Madeleine is ringed by gourmet shops like upscale grocer Fauchon.

More Details on

Grands Boulevards  
ADVERTISEMENT