A word to the wise: bring an extra collapsible suitcase in your luggage.
If you spend over 175 euros at one shop, bring your passport and ask the shopkeeper to fill out the détaxe refund form, which entitles you to the entire VAT (value added tax) back. This is a significant amount (about 14 percent). Don’t forget to go to the DÉTAXE (tax back) desk at the airport to turn in your form, before you check in your luggage. They sometimes ask to see the goods.
Don’t bother buying anything you can get in the U.S. i.e., Prada/Gucci/YSL, as it is all more expensive now in euros. Try to shop (yes, you will be tempted) only at stores you can’t find back home.
Top Shopping Areas
St. Germain (in the 6th Arrondissement), in particular Cherche Midi and Grenelle, as well as the area around St. Sulpice. You’ll find classics like Chloé, but also Lacroix and Kenzo, and even some discounters, too.
The Marais (in the 3rd and 4th), especially rue des Francs Bourgeois, but we love the entire Marais district. This is the artsy area, home to nearly all of the très kool shops. We have a great tour of the Marais that includes a lot of shopping here.
For the très riche—avenue Montaigne in the 8th.
Newer Shopping Enclaves
Place des Victoires, in the 2nd. Kenzo has a shop here.
Rue Etienne Marcel, in the 2nd. For a young hip look.
Palais Royal, in the 1st. The new Marc Jacobs shop can be found near here.
The Bastille district, in the 11th, on rue de Charonne and surrounding streets. Here you’ll find Isabel Marant and other trendy young Parisian designers.
Even Montmartre, on rue Lepic in the 18th, has some cute shops.
If you must: Most of the large department stores are in the 9th Arrondissement near the Opéra. Department store shopping can be useful if you want to see a lot of different brands under one roof, and it can be a lifesaver when it’s raining. For example, you can spend an entire day at Galeries Lafayette, as it offers some stunning restaurants and even a small art gallery. Don’t miss the incredible glass cupola. Printemps is close-by, and the discounter H&M isn’t far away. On the left bank, you’ll find Le Bon Marché, the oldest department store in Paris.