Paris is the ideal city for the chic shopper and any trip to Paris must include some shopping whether it's at the top department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marche, or the smaller, more intimate boutiques.
This guide to the top luxury Paris shops where you'll find everything from designer fashions to perfume will get you started on your fashionable foray into the exclusive world of Paris shopping with top designer names and impeccable customer service.
Paris Shopping Areas
Like any city, you’ll find top shopping in various central areas. What is known as the "Golden Triangle of Shopping" takes in the district between the Champs-Elysées, the avenue Montaigne, and the avenue George-V in the 8th arrondissement.
Also check out the avenue Montaigne (8th arrondissement), the Faubourg Saint-Honore (8th), Saint-Germain-des-Pres (6th), and the arcaded Palais-Royal (1st). But while these areas have the big names, the more cutting-edge shops and chic boutiques have spread out into the Left Bank, Sevres Babylone, and the Marais.
Classic shopping areas include:
- The Louvre-Tuilleries District: This district, in the 1st arrondissement, is known for designer fashion, upscale home furnishings, and quality cosmetics. You'll find classic designers like Versace, Hermes, and Saint Laurent, but the district also houses fun-to-explore boutiques.
- Boulevard Haussmann and the Grands Boulevards: On these streets, you will encounter old Parisian department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Explore the old world shopping arcades in the area including the Galerie Vivienne, which houses luxury boutiques with clothing from top designers.
- The Marais Quarter: This historic quarter is ideal for shoppers who love antiques, fine art, gourmet specialty foods, and upscale shopping. You'll find fragrances and cosmetics at boutiques like Diptyque and MAC on Rue des Francs-Bourgeois.
- Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées: In this elegant area you'll find luxury names like Louis Vuitton and trendy global chains, like Zara. Oh yes, and for the kids, there is a Disney Store.
- St-Germain-des-Prés: This area is known as a place where trendy young people gather to sip coffee in cafes and shop at Sonia Rykiel and Paco Rabanne boutiques. You'll find the department store, Bon Marché with its stylish clothing and home goods as well as a food market.
- Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli: Once known for the iconic food market, this area was eventually transformed into a major shopping area where you can shop at the underground mall, "Le Forum des Halles." Rue de Rivoli is where you'll find chain stores such as the Swedish brand, H&M, and Spanish fashion chain, Zara, and near the Louvre, you can shop for art and antiques.
Must-See Department Stores
It's strolling the aisles of department stores that will give you a sense of the everyday lives of Parisians. You'll find housewares, children's clothing, and, certainly, recognizable fashion names. Most of the big name stores have a rich history and the architecture of the buildings is worth seeing.
- Galeries Lafayette: Housed in an amazing Belle Epoque building, peruse Galeries Lafayette for luxury and designer fashions, gourmet foods and their Friday afternoon fashion show at 3 p.m.
- Le Bon Marche: On the Left Bank chic, this iconic building with ironwork designed by Gustave Eiffel, you'll find designer ready-to-wear and a fabulous food department.
- Le Printemps: Go to the historic Le Printemps for the Art Nouveau architecture, a meal at The Printemps Brasserie under the opulent Belle Epoque glass cupola, and, of course, shopping.
- Le BHV Marais: This store offers everything from fashion to housewares, and, since they feature opportunities for DIY, even cooking classes from the staff from Alain Ducasse.
One-Stop Fashion Shopping
Montaigne Market on avenue Montaigne houses top designers, both international names and more niche labels, and a great range of accessories. Victoria Beckham and Alexander Wang bags; Jimmy Choo and Lanvin shoes; JBrand skinny jeans and a leather jacket from Snow from St Barth. It's also one of the places for Paris Fashion week shows. The market is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
You find both top names like Christian Louboutin, the designer of high-end stiletto footwear with the shiny, red-lacquered soles, and artisan shoemakers who will cobble hand-made shoes for you in The City of Light.
- For a wide selection of designer shoes go to Espace Chaussures des Galeries Lafayette in their luxury shopping area where you'll find all the names like Jimmy Choo, Prada, Gucci, Dior and more.
- Go to the exclusive Christian Louboutin shop in rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 8th arrondissement for those signature red soles and some of the most beautiful shoes in the world.
- Shop Roger Vivier on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore in the 8th arrondissement for colorful, beautifully designed shoes from the company started by the man who created the stiletto heel.
- Smart men go to that quintessential English shoemaker, John Lobb, at the boutique at 21 rue Boissy d'Anglas in the 8th.
- For Aubercy bespoke shoes, known as the "Haute Couture of Magnificent Bootmaking," visit La Maison Aubercy at 34, rue Vivienne.
The Very Best China and Glass
To transform your apartment or house with Parisian style, Bernardaud is a top brand in tableware and table decoration where you'll find just what you need. Each year the company creates a new porcelain dinner service. If you are in Limoges, you can see how the porcelain is made on a guided tour of the factory.
You'll find the shop in Paris, open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, at 11 rue Royale in the 8th.
Lalique is a major name in glass and crystal and its glorious, gleaming store on rue Royale stocks all the latest designs as well as some antique glass objects. And, if you're in Alsace, visit the Rene Lalique Museum.
Scents to Seduce
France and perfume are inextricably linked through the town of Grasse in the south of France where the major perfume houses create their new scents. Modern perfume was created in France in 1889 when Aime Guerlain produced Jicky. It was followed by Chanel No 5 in 1921, Arpege by Lanvin in 1927 and Patou’s Joy in 1930. Other great names have been revived like Francois Coty, who lived at the Chateau d’Artigny in the Loire Valley and was one of the first to creatively reinvent the perfumer’s fragrance palette. There are perfume counters in the major Paris department stores as well as specialty shops for the perfume connoisseur.
- Jovoy Paris in rue de Castiglione (1st) is a small, family-owned business specializing in rare scents that are difficult to find. It will also produce hand-made, personalized, scents for you.
- Maison Francis Kurkdjian is one of the city’s most tempting places to explore the world of scents but is quite expensive.
- You can also tour the Musée du Parfum near the Garnier opera house, where you can find out about the ancient art of perfume making and then visit the Fragonard Boutique.
Personal Shopping Service
Get the most out of your Paris shopping by having a personal program created by an English-speaking guide. Two companies that provide the service are Ultimate Paris and Chic Shopping Paris Day Tours. A personal guide will meet you to discover what exactly you want to see and where you want to shop and tailor-make an itinerary for you. She will then accompany you, with a car, on the tour. To get the most out of this, contact the company beforehand to prepare a personalized itinerary, so when you arrive in Paris you can hit the ground running.