Oh, where to start? Paris and shopping are like bacon and eggs or Laurel and Hardy – you can’t have one without the other. From the cheapest of flea markets to the grands magasins on the expansive and expensive boulevards, this is the city to shop ‘til you drop and repeat.
1. Triangle d'Or
The Triangle d’Or is the area around Avenue Montaigne, Rue Francois 1er and Ave George V and is the home of many of Paris’s top haute couture shops. Chanel, Hermès, Saint Laurent, Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Dolce e Gabbana, Gucci, Bulgari... the list goes on.
2. Latin Quarter
The Left Bank’s boho Latin Quarter is the home of Sorbonne University and the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookshop. A stroll away from the river will reveal plenty of good used bookstores, comic book shops and art book stalls.
3. Paris Flea Market
The Paris flea market at 99 Rue des Rosiers (only open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays) is oddly hard to find (due north of Sacre Coeur, just outside the peripherique) but once you get there it’s hard to leave. The ultimate trash or treasure day out.
4. Le Marais
Le Marais is either cool and trendy or way past its sell-by date, depending on who you talk to. Either way it’s full of small independent shops featuring hip young designers. The northern section (Haut Marais) is feted as the ‘real Marais’ and the place to complete your French bobo (bohemian bourgeois) look.
5. Canal St Martin
The Canal St Martin area has taken off in recent years and is now full of off-beat boutiques and hip pop-up stores as well as water views. Check out Rue Beaurepaire and Rue de Marseille, which are the main shopping streets. Bazartherapy, Espace Beaurepaire and La Trésorie are all full of funky wares.
6. Jardin du Palais Royal
The Jardin du Palais Royal is a great spot to stroll around. It’s also boxed in by the Galerie de Valois, Galerie de Montpensier and Galerie Beaujolais. These covered arcades look like cloisters but are more mammon than God, full of chic art galleries, eclectic nooks and upscale designer boutiques.
7. Galerie Vivienne
Not far from the Jardin du Palais Royal is the glorious Galerie Vivienne at 4 rue des Petits Champs. This 176-metre long pedestrianised passageway with its stunning mosaic floor dates from 1823 and boasts a toy shop, secondhand bookshops, a few clothes shops, a posh wine merchants and a twee tearoom.
Not flash, not sexy but very Paris. Shopping at a Monoprix (they are all over Paris) is a real local experience. They are just department stores but you will find a little bit of everything in them, including food. Imagine Target crossed with Coles.
9. Galeries Lafayette
A visit to the jaw-dropping Galeries Lafayette department store is pretty much de rigueur when visiting Paris. The huge building, with its massive central open space under a glass dome is jaw-droppingly amazing. Stained-glass, arched balconies wrought-iron railings. It sells stuff, too.
10. Sunday market at Place de la Bastille
The Sunday market at Place de la Bastille is an excellent place to shop. Among the food you’ll find plenty of stalls selling excellent accessories. I still have two brilliant silk scarves I found there several years ago. Happy hunting.