You think being in Paris, is a heady experience? Try shopping in Paris. Almost every street has some irresistible shop, boutique, or market brimming with objects or edibles that practically howl your name.
Deciding where to focus your search—and your dollars—can be a challenge. To help you, here’s a list of don’t-miss stores and districts.
Clothes Shopping in Paris
Unsurprisingly, Paris offers fashion mavens a clothes-shopping adventure like no other. Just passing the glitzy fashion houses like Chanel, Prada, and Dior on the Avenue Montaigne or Faubourg Saint-Honoré will make you feel as if you’ve tumbled inside the pages of Vogue.
But if you don’t have $400 to blow on a napkin-sized scarf, you’re better off heading to the Marais neighborhood, where you can find classic Parisian chic at more affordable prices.
Amid the Marais’s wine bars, cafés, and galleries there are dozens of intriguing boutiques, such as Sandro, Zadig & Voltaire, Gérard Darel, and Antik Batik, which offer styles from sophisticated to funky. The typical cost of a dress in these shops will run about $150 to $175, but if you visit during the January/February or June/July countrywide Soldes (sales) period, you can nab the same threads for as much as 70% off the original price.
For one-stop clothes shopping, most people swear by the famous Galeries Lafayette, an immense, 200-year-old department store with a dizzying selection of clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and just about everything else.
But while the store’s gorgeous art nouveau interior is worth a look, I find its vastness and variety exhausting. For a more manageable department-store experience, try the upscale Bon Marché on the Left Bank or the down-to-earth BHV on the Right.
Where to go for Prints/Posters
Nothing conjures up the romance of vintage France more than brightly-colored art-nouveau and art-deco posters from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The most renowned place to buy them is Estampe Moderne & Sportive. The shop has hundreds of vintage posters, as well as rare prints and lithographs, and even has an on-site framing studio.
But because these posters are originals, they often cost several hundred dollars. The best place to find reproductions of classic prints is at les bouquinists—the used-booksellers manning the green wooden stalls lining the Seine in central Paris. The selection may not be as varied as in a shop and, as reproductions, they’re a fraction of the size, but they’ll cost you no more than $10.
Bouquinists also sell fascinating (and inexpensive) vintage books, magazines, newspapers, and even old menus from famous Parisian restaurants.
Where to Buy the Best Food
Everyone wants to take home a sampling of the delicacies they’ve tasted in Paris. And you can.
La Grande Épicerie at Le Bon Marché department store is a wonderful place to pick up those beautifully-crafted confections and specialties that France is famous for.
Pick up a box of macaroons, which come in luscious flavors such as rose, green apple, or coffee. Or give Fallot’s legendary stone-ground, black-currant mustard a try. Or have a couple of your favorite French cheeses—Comté, Cantal, Valbrie au poivre– vacuum packed for safe traveling. But skip buying fois gras there. Instead, head to Foie Gras Luxe, in Montmartre, behind Les Halles. Despite the name, there’s nothing luxurious about this tiny place: just high-quality fois gras, and pâtés without premium prices…
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