A shopping trip to Paris—where to begin? For even the most ardent shopaholic, tackling the epicenter of la mode can evoke panic (where to begin!), panic (but I can’t afford Chanel!) and more panic (my, those saleswomen are chic). But, hey, don’t panic. Here are eight all-about-Paris stores that range from fun to fancy for every kind of shopper (even the locals).
213 rue St.-Honoré, in the 1st Arrondissement. 01 55 35 33 90.
It’s all but impossible to talk about shopping in Paris without mentioning Colette. It wasn’t long after the übercool concept store opened in 1997 that everyone in fashion, design, music—anyone who was cool and who cared anything about trends—took notice. And with good reason. Underground CDs, books and baskets (sneakers) on the ground floor give us mere mortals something to buy, while fabulously unattainable labels like Lanvin and Valentino draw the international elite. With rotating exhibitions in the art gallery and a subterranean restaurant, you’re talking one cool concept store.
111, blvd Beaumarchais, in the 3rd. 01 42 77 00 33.
Although Colette defined “concept store” 13 years ago, when Merci opened last year, it brought a whole new dimension to the genre. Similar to Colette in that it’s a mini department store with a restaurant in the basement, plus two levels of exceptionally curated goods—APC, YSL and Acne intermix with secondhand armoires and books—Merci donates a percentage of its sales to charity in Madagascar, giving you the excuse to feel really good about your splurge.
47, rue Saintonge, in the 3rd. 01 42 78 19 24.
1, rue Jacob, in the 6th. 01 43 26 04 12.
16, rue de Charonne, in the 11th. 01 49 29 71 55.
Isabel Marant isn’t just a chic label, she’s a chic woman. After studying fashion here in Paris, she worked for big-name labels (Chloé, Yohji Yamamoto, Claude Montana) and then started producing her own accessories and clothes. Since opening her first store in 1997, she’s become a go-to label for parisiennes in the know. Feminine and flirty, yet also a little hippieish, Marant epitomizes style.
50, rue Etienne Marcel, in the 2nd. 01 40 41 08 32.
22, rue de Passy, in the 16th. 01 42 24 80 20.
81, rue des Sts.-Pères, in the 16th. 01 45 48 89 10.
24, rue Boissy d’Anglas in the 8th. 01 42 68 04 95.
12, rue des Francs Bourgeois, in the 3rd. 01 44 59 81 59.
How many different ways can you wear a white shirt? Depends on how many white shirts you have. Since opening shop in 1994, Anne Fontaine has channeled her obsession for purity and simplicity into thousands of unique designs (about 300 a year), all in white. But with fabrics like poplin, piqué cotton, organdy and linen, sporting details like double colors, lace cuffs and flower appliqués, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
29, rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré, in the 8th. 01 53 43 85 50.
In the states, there is Manolo. In the UK, Jimmy Choo. And though the French have Monsieur Louboutin and those lovely red soles, there are also lesser-known, more cultish shoe designers—like Roger Vivier. When he was in his prime in the 1950s, the client base for his killer stilettos consisted of no less than Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich and Liz Taylor. Today, under the artistic direction of Bruno Frisoni, the house still makes shoes and purses with the unmistakable square silver buckle, as well as haute offerings like crocodile handbags, agate-encrusted clutches and killer thigh-high boots.
51, rue du Four, in the 6th. 01 45 44 98 65.
22, rue de la Paix, in the 2nd. 01 44 71 83 12.
Although Repetto is a maker of traditional dance gear—tutus, unitards, slippers—the brand’s ballerina flats have become très chic streetwear. Parisian women bounce around the city in their comfy ballerinas, and Repetto is the brand to wear (good enough for Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman, good enough for me!). Soft royal blue leather, red patent leather, two-toned—the simple slipper in all its variations is simply a must-have.
233, rue St.-Honoré, in the 1st. 01 42 60 57 04.
If you had to pick out a French handbag to bring home, chances are you’d hit up the ginormous Louis Vuitton flagship on the Champs-Elysées or visit one of the hushed Hermès boutiques. They wouldn’t be the wrong choices, but Goyard is another luxury label with a long, storied history that shows you’re really in the know. Sporting a tote with the signature interlocking chevron pattern and hand-painted monogram, you’ll get the nod of approval from Frenchies around the world.
Le Bon Marché
38, rue de Sèvres, in the 6th. 01 44 39 80 00.
Because it’s nearly impossible to say that Maje is better than Sandro is better than Comptoir des Cotonniers is better than American Vintage . . . Well, you can find all of these wonderfully trendy French chain stores under one roof: Le Bon Marché. And, if your clothing allowance is in a whole other stratosphere, you’ll also find the likes of Lanvin, Kenzo, Maison Margiela and Marc Jacobs, along with shoes, bags and makeup, all in this beautiful, classic Parisian department store.