Our Superb Guide to Shopping in Paris
From the best contemporary brands to the most famous flea market, here's all you need to know about shopping in the City of Light.
There’s no doubt about it. The French, or more specifically, the Parisians are some of the chicest people out there. Always dressed to the nines looking effortlessly cool, they don designers like Sonia Rykiel, Comme des Garçon and Chanel with a casual ease like no other. Heading to Paris for a spot of shopping? We here at Plum Guide have compiled a list of the best boutiques, markets and department stores across the city to ensure you get the most out of shopping in Paris. (Oh, and before we forget, please remember to pack your credit card and an extra suitcase, won't you?)
Laid-back luxury – A.P.C
A.P.C, standing for Atelier de Production et de Création, is synonymous with Parisian cool. (Which translates to really, really, really cool anywhere else.) Founded in 1987 in Paris by designer, Jean Touitou, the brand has since become an internationally renowned name in fashion with stores everywhere from Oslo to Osaka. The designs are understated and relaxed yet somehow manage to exude utter luxury – think well-tailored cuts and high-quality materials. A.P.C should be the go-to brand for anyone wanting to recreate the Parisian look (aka everyone). Items don't come cheap here, so prepare to part ways with some serious cash. (But it's all in the name of style, remember.)
Iconic department Store – Le Bon Marché
The renowned Le Bon Marché, founded in 1838, was the first ever modern department store. It offered a place where both men and women could browse a multitude of boutiques all in one place, sample perfumes with no compulsory purchase and view the latest catwalk looks throughout the store. Located on the Left Bank, it's in one of the city's most vibrant neighbourhoods. Staying in a home nearby like Fleur de Coton provides the perfect base for exploring. Anyhow, back to shopping in Paris, it’s department stores like this that have revolutionised the modern shopping mall as we know it, and it's why so many tourists flock to Paris. If you’re wanting a shopping experience like no other that’s filled with great eateries, fashion houses and stunning architecture all in one place, add a trip to Le Bon Marché to your list of things to do in Paris...tout de suite.
Affordable chic – Sandro
Think lace dresses, sharp tailored jackets and buttoned silk blouses, as well as plenty of pieces with sometimes quirky but always chic twists. That's what to expect when browsing the latest collection at Sandro. Despite the expert cuts and great quality of clothing, prices aren't terrifyingly high, so you can actually purchase a fair few items without breaking the bank. You'll find Sandro boutiques dotted across the city, so even if you think you've resisted the urge to purchase in one neighbourhood, you'll turn the corner to meet Sandro's temptation again in no time. Go on, treat yourself.
Cool concept store – Merci
Situated in a reconstructed 19th-century fabric factory, Merci is now a three-storey concept store where you can find everything from fashion to furniture to jewellery. You'll recognise the iconic red mini that sits outside in its cobbled courtyard from Instagram and the book café with a floor to ceiling library running along the wall will be a welcome spot for a rest once you've surveyed each and every item in the store and decided what you'll want to buy. Naturally, it's in a trendy part of town – a short walk away from the great restaurants in the 11th arrondissement and only a few minutes away from the the Marais.
Streets of shopping – The Marais
Speaking of the Marais, this is the neighbourhood to visit if you're looking for one independent boutique after the next along its winding streets. You'll find favourites like Sandro, Bimba y Lola and between lesser-known but equally great places like vintage store, Nice Piece that are yours to be discovered. And the best news? You're surrounded by some of the city's best wine bars and bistros to unwind after your busy day of shopping in Paris. With its restaurants, boutiques and general ambience, no wonder it's one of our favourite places to stay in Paris...especially with homes like Le Palais de Marie to choose from.
Fabulous flea market – Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen
Considered to be the biggest flea market in the world, make sure you've had your morning coffee and a sugary pastry (or two) before heading here. Experience shopping in Paris like no other as you traipse around the 3,000 stalls and traders, keeping your eyes peeled for some antique treasures and pre-loved design pieces. Prepare to haggle for your bargains and you could just walk away with your best souvenir yet (or ever). One man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say...
So, that's how to make the most of shopping in Paris and its many different forms. Want to keep reading our expert advice ahead of your trip to the city? Take a look at our guide to the best ways to get around Paris next.