Going shopping in Paris? Here’s the lowdown on where to find the latest and greatest in clothing, makeup, flowers and gourmet food.
Finding those smaller boutiques and neighbourhood specialities stores, is what makes shopping in Paris so much fun.
You can practice your french and find one-off, unusual things, beautifully made.
We’ve put together a little guide where we highlight some of the best places to go, whether you’re interested in fashion, food, flowers and lots more.
We’ve listed here the main Paris shopping districts, including the names of particular streets and their closest métro stations (the best way to get around is either by métro and/or on foot…unless of course you’ve bought so much stuff you can’t carry it all, in that case, best to hail a taxi…)
So enough of our chatter….what to do in Paris next? Go shopping!
Shopping in Paris: Main Districts
Rive Gauche (Left Bank)
The Rive Gauche covers the 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements; south of the river. If you look on your métro map, the main stops are just south of Châtelet in the centre: St-Germain-Des-Prés, Odéon; Sèvres-Babylone; Mabillon; and St-Sulpice.
The Left Bank offers some of the best shopping in Paris – the greatest variety of shops and for a range of budgets, with plenty of cafes and restaurants if you need a breather. It’s also a good place if you’re hunting for gifts to bring home.
The best shops are concentrated around Rue Bonaparte, Rue Jacob, Boulevard St-Germain, and Rue du Cherche-Midi; there are many streets off and around these that are worth exploring too. There are several fantastic shoe shops on Rue de Grenelle; for antiques, go to Rue de Beaune and Quai Voltaire.
Rive Droite (Right Bank)
The Right Bank is where the big names and posh Paris stores are, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Dior.
The district roughly covers the 1st and 8th arrondissements; and the nearby 9th arrondissement. Main métro stops are north of the river starting from the left – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Concorde, George V, Champs-Élysées Clemenceau and Alma-Marceau; and moving to the right to Tuileries, Palais Royal and Étienne Marcel.
If you’d like to see the crème de la crème of shopping in Paris, try Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (or of course the Avenue des Champs-Élysées close-by). If you’re looking for luxury, this is the best place to go. The famous concept store Collette is here (213 rue Saint-Honoré. Métro: Tuileries) – selling everything from makeup, fashion, jewellery and perfumes, to books, music, photography and art.
Department Stores in Paris
If you want the variety and convenience of a department store, you could go to the famous Galeries Lafayette on 40 Boulevard Haussemann (Métro: Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette)- check out the stunning art nouveau architecture inside. Be warned: it can get very crowded. Lafayette Maison has lots of homewares and kitchen appliances.
Printemps (64 Boulevard Haussmann) is another department store in Paris, stocking many luxury items from the boutiques you might find in the streets, such as gourmet teas and chocolates.
Food Shops in Paris
We’ve found that the best neighbourhood for food shopping is St-Germain – wonderful cheese, bread, chocolate and pastry stores. You’ll find them on Rue Jacob, Rue de Grenelle, Rue de Seine Rue de Sèvres, Rue Bonaparte, and Rue du Cherche-Midi. For the Picasso of pastries, try Pierre Hermé, 72 Rue Bonaparte (Métro: St-Sulpice).
For something really dazzling, try to visit the legendary Fauchon. Their food displays and packaging are truly amazing (24-26-30 Place de la Madeleine, Métro: Madeleine).
Perfume Shopping in Paris
If you’re looking for a really unique and beautifully packaged fragrance, try Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle (140 Avenue Victor Hugo, Métro: Victor-Hugo). You can go on their website and email them, asking them to suggest a fragrance that suits your personality.
Maître Parfumeur et Gantier also stocks a wide range of perfumes, candles and room sprays (84 bis Rue de Grenelle, Métro: Rue du Bac; and 5 Rue des Capucines, Métro: Opéra).
Shopping in Paris for Flowers
Our favourite flower shop in Paris is Au Nom de la Rose.
Bouquets are beautifully wrapped and look oh so parisian; they also sell gorgeous rose products, from soaps and candles, to chocolates and honey.
They have lots of outlets all over Paris. There are a couple in St-Germain (bvd St-Germain and Rue du Cherche Midi), and in the Marais (rue de Bretagne). Go to their website and click on the ‘addresses’ link for all their locations.
Shopping in Paris: Insider Secrets
So where do the Parisians shop? Where are their favourite places? If you’d like to get off the beaten track and find some hidden gems of your own, the following neighbourhoods might interest you.
The Sixteenth (Bon Chic, Bon Genre)
If you’re looking for Paris stores that are less crowded and have a more relaxed, neighbourhood feel, you might like to come to the residential, well-to-do sixteenth arrondissement, on the western side. The closest métro stops are Victor Hugo, Passy, and Trocadéro.
The sixteenth (known as BCBG – Bon Chic Bon Genre) is calm and conservative, and a bit preppy (if you like Country Road in Australia, or Banana Republic in the U.S – you’ll love it here). The sixteenth is good for classic french fashion (such as céline) without the hefty price tags you’ll find in the Right Bank.
Streets to check out are Avenue Victor Hugo and Rue de Passy.
The winding streets of Montmartre have some really interesting one-off boutiques and hip designer studios. To get here, take the métro to Abbesses or Pigalle.
If you’re looking for some really unique, delightful Paris stores, try Rue Houdon for clothing and accessories; for cheese, pastry and other specialty food stores, try Rue Lepic, Rue des Abbesses and Rue des Martyrs.
To get to Île Saint-Louis (the little island on the river), take the métro to Sully Morland or Pont Marie.
The Île Saint-Louis is another great neighbourhood to shop in; its beautiful setting is popular with locals and tourists alike but can be surprisingly peaceful. The main road, Rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, is where you can stock up on duck confit, cheeses, mustards and jams. If you’re a fan of ice cream, don’t miss Berthillon, claimed to be the best in Paris.
The historic districts in and around the Marais cover (roughly) the 1st, 3rd and 4th arrondissements; they overlap a little with the Rive Droite district. Métro stops are just north of the river: St-Paul, Hôtel de Ville; Les Halles; Étienne Marcel; and Place de la Bastille.
Here is where you’ll find many chic boutiques, emerging designers and artists studios.. Streets good for strolling are Rue des Francs Bourgeois, Rue de Sévigné, Rue du Bourg Tibourg and Rue Vieille du Temple.
The Marais’ elegant medieval stone buildings and winding cobblestone streets are great for wandering and getting lost. It’s less of a tourist magnet than St-Germain so, thankfully, it’s less crowded as a result. The Marais is popular with the French, who enjoy coming here on weekends to stroll and shop. There are some lovely peaceful gardens and cafés, if you’re feeling ‘shopped out’ and need a break.
Enjoy shopping in Paris…