Shopping Rue Saint Honore, Paris – Image courtesy of paris-saint-honore.com
Paris Shopping Guide
Worshipped as the Holy Grail of high fashion by designers and fashionistas the world over, Paris is crowded with fabulous stores to shop – just perfect for that romantic getaway or honeymoon holiday.
For the ultimate haute couture trip, lèche-vitrines (window-shop) the Triangle d'Or stores such as Dior, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Lancome, Givenchy, Cartier and Yves Saint Laurent. If you do plan to pop inside (even just to look), remember to dress the part – the sales staff will be much more attentive if you look as though you belong there.
For jewellery, head toward Place Vendome; for specialty boutiques browse St-Germain-des-Prés and Les Halles for trendy clothes; for exotic handicrafts imported from Africa, head to the Marais, on Rue Elzévir. Don’t miss the prestigious grands magasins (department stores) including Galerie Lafayette and Au Printemps.
Best shopping areas
Here are the best of Paris’s shopping arrondissements. . .
Browse the Triangle d'Or, located in the 1st and 8th arrondissements, the heart of the chic, ultra-expensive Parisian luxury fashion scene. Around the Champs Elysées lie the impeccably manicured streets of avenue Montaigne (arguably, Paris's most glamorous shopping street) and rue François-1er.
Take the long but pleasant stroll from avenue Montaigne to the home of haute couture at rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, known locally as ‘the Faubourg’. Along the way, window-shop at Dior, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Lancome, Givenchy, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Jaeger, Rykiel and Porthault (maker of the poshest sheets in the world).
Don’t miss the arcade of eclectic boutiques along the Palais Royal or the Passage de Grand Cerf, a glass-enclosed shopping street lying a few blocks from the Beaubourg, in the 2nd arrondissement, which is lined with retro-chic boutiques and Asian-themed shops.
Located in the 9th arrondissement and home to the city's grands magasins (big department stores). Check out the Belle Epoque grandeur of Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette department stores. Within each, explore chic designer collections, stunning jewellery, gourmet food and an array of home design options.
Explore the medieval warren of twisting streets in Renaissance-era Paris, one of city’s oldest and most impressive quarters. Head to Place des Vosges for antiques or fine arts and rue des Francs-Bourgeois for unique jewellery or explore the quirky and eclectic fashion boutiques featuring trendy new designers on Rue des Rosiers.
For a taste of Senegal, stroll down rue Elzévir to find hand-woven and hand-dyed bolts of cloth, all perfect to fashion into curtains, cushion covers or quilts. Be sure to look out also for multi-coloured carpets, basketwork and paintings. Located in the 3rd arrondissement.
Once the haunt of famous intellectuals, Saint-Germain-des-Près now hosts shoppers hunting for bargains at Sonia Rykiel, Paco Rabanne and the famous department store, Le Bon Marché.
And when you need a rejuvenating and inspiring break from the shopping, relax over coffee at Café de Flore, where poets Apollinaire and André Breton cooked up Dadaism and where Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre philosophised.
Later, follow in the footsteps of de Beauvoir and Sartre and de-camp to nearby Les Deux Magots. Once the haunt of literary greats such as Verlaine and Rimbaud, François Mauriac and André Gide, Albert Camus and Ernest Hemingway, Les Deux Magots is a great spot for people-watching and soaking up those literary vibes. Located in the 6th arrondissement.
Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt
(Saint-Ouen Flea Market)
Check out les puces (the fleas) for antiques, vintage clothes, shoes, cute trinkets and various oddball items. The Saint-Ouen is the city's largest and oldest flea market, located at the northern tip of Paris in the 18th arrondissement. Open seven days a week and perhaps best visited on weekdays due to the crowds on weekends.
The Paris Art Market
A great place to visit on a Sunday, between 10am and 7.30pm. Situated at the foot of Montparnasse Tower, this market is an open-air gallery with more 100 artists including painters, sculptors, photographers, jewellers and hat makers. The mall along boulevard Edgar Quinet offers some of the best work.
Rue de Rivoli
Global chain stores reign supreme here: look out for Gap and Marks & Spencer, as well as local discount stores. On nearby rue Montorgueil, one of Paris' oldest streets, find quirky contemporary boutiques with trendy fashions including Barbara Bui, as well as some of the city's finest food markets, pastry shops and a good mix of ultra-hip bars, cafes and restaurants.
To get the most from your shopping trip here are some tips to shopping in Paris.