Shopping in République and Oberkampf

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Fargo Store

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Fargo, with its wooden windows and neon lights wouldn’t look out of place in San Francisco. It’s got a USA feel inside too (despites being a stone’s throw from the Canal Saint-Martin), with collections that cover ‘country’ music and all its forms (rock, pop, folk and new-wave). The shop’s only been around since 2010, but it’s got good connections: regular free showcases draw the crowds (Mariarty and Steve Smyth have previously played here), and when the artists themselves don’t come, Fargo holds première nights for new albums. Also look out for the celebrity clientele: Lords of Altamont and Neal Casal occasionally pop by.

  1. 42 rue de la Folie-Méricourt, 11e
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Bis Boutique Solidaire

  • Price band: 2/4

It might look swanky, but Bis, opened in Boulevard du Temple in early 2012, offers reasonably priced used clothing in a chic and contemporary setting (despite its airy, New York loft style interior, this is a second hand store). It's also strong on social engagement, with 12 of its 16 positions being offered on one-year contracts to people on job schemes (drivers, sorters, etc.). Across the store’s two levels, you can pick up bargain designer pieces (a Guy Laroche jacket for €55, a pair of Zadig & Voltaire jeans for €12 or Gelati pumps for €30) and dozens of other items collected by the Catholic Relief Services for men, women and children.

  1. 7 boulevard du Temple, 3e
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Le Centre Commercial

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The idea of a commerical centre might not appeal to fans of concept boutiques, but don’t speak too soon – Centre Commerical in the Rue de Marseille (alongside APC, Maje and Claudie Pierlot) will thrill fans of quality fashion. The shop's founders also created Veja, the famous brand of hip, affordable trainers. Sébastien Kopp, one of the co-founders, has embraced a socially and ecologically conscious type of fashion for trendy youngsters; however annoying young hipsters might be, at least they don’t buy ‘made in China’.Inside the beautifully designed space, where you never have to jostle between two clothes racks, you'll find brands from the 'made in France' movement including Bleu de Paname, Repetto, St. James or Roseanna, and other well-known sustainable labels like Veja, Valentine Gauthier (the future Isabel Marant, according to rumours) or Christine Phung, winner of the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris 2011 for her work with traditional artisans and fair trade projects in partnership with humanitarian organisations in Cambodia.

  1. 2 rue de Marseille, 10e
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Ofr.

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Adored by fans of fashion and contemporary arts magazines, Ofr. bookshop stocks fanzines, arty postcards, boutique publications and fashion accessories. You can find everything from the latest issue of Love to the best street style shots of Facehunter, but Ofr. is also an independent publishing house that creates works in collaboration with a wide range of artists, like the photographer Ami Sioux. Just moments from République, Ofr. regularly holds exhibitions on anything from children’s art to modernist graphics, surfing to Basque dance ­ – nothing scares this ultra-specilaits avant-garde space. Also check out the boutique at the rear, where you’ll find up-and-coming fashion labels and more exhibitions.

  1. 20 rue Dupetit-Thouars, 3e
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Jeanne A

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Creamy risottos from Piémont, oils from Beaujolais, chocolates by Pierre Marcolini, olives from M. Casanova and charcuterie from Bobosse and Conquet: the window of Jeanne A is enough to make you drool. It's next to the restaurant Chez Astier and named for its former owner, but has slowly found its own independence since it opened in 2010. All their products are spanking fresh, from Mediterranean neighbourhoods in France, Spain and Italy. Exceptional high quality dishes (with prices to match) are are on the menu at the big communal tables (as well as wines by the magnum). And if you’re inspired to do your own cooking, they also sell professional kitchen gear.

  1. 42 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11e
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Jacques Genin

Voted the 'best chocolatier in the world' by critic Mort Rosenblum, Jacques Génin's creations could previously only be tasted in top restaurants. But now his impressive boutique allows you to taste sur place or take a bag home. The signature eclairs and tarts glisten in glass cases, and the millefeuilles are made to order for perfect freshness.The chocolate ganaches include Menthe Amante, a two-phase taste sensation that finishes with mint leaves bursting on the tongue. One part of the vast space is given over to a tearoom, and a spiral staircase leads to the ateliers.

  1. 133 rue de Turenne, 3rd
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Omaya vintage

  • Price band: 1/4

The sort of shop you wished you could keep a jealously guarded secret – but Omaya vintage is well known. Opened by two brothers in 2010, it attracts its share of obsessive fahionistas: from Parisians collecting armfuls of leather boots to punks come to pick up a pair of DMs at €40. If some pieces are more contemporary, the majority of the stock comes from the ’70s and ’80s; military and denim jackets, woollen jumpers, t-shirts and more are all thoroughly organised and ranged on hangers, and it’s hard to say no when lumberjack shirts in perfect condition cost only €10 and ’80s high-heeled shoes only €5. Behind the counter, Julien and Thomas offer a royal welcome. Thoughtful and smiling, together they’re the perfect antidote to traditionally hostile Parisian shop staff.

  1. 29 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11e
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Antoine et Lili

Antoine et Lili's fuchsia-pink, custard-yellow and apple-green shopfronts are a new raver's dream. The bobo designer's clothes, often in wraparound styles, adapt to all sizes and shapes. The Canal St-Martin 'village' comprises womenswear, a kitsch home decoration boutique and childrenswear.Other locations throughout the city.

  1. 95 quai de Valmy, 10e
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Lulu Berlu

  • Price band: 3/4

Get ready to travel back in time to a land where all your childhood heroes live on, including Astroboy, Goldorak, the Knights of the Zodiac, all the characters of 'Dragon Ball Z', the Gremlins and GI Joe. From cartoons to TV series, they're all here, including plenty you had forgotten existed. 60 years’ worth of figurines and toys are gathered in this paradise for collectors and lovers of nostalgia, and aficionados flock here like pilgrims to Lourdes. With aisle upon aisle of toys and souvenirs this shop is sure to delight the younger generations as well as bringing a tear to the eye of older collectors. Prices vary, but go through the roof for certain rare items. A visit to this store may leave you regretting having sold those old toys you had in the attic.

  1. 2 rue du Grand Prieuré, 11e
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La Petite Fripe

  • Price band: 2/4

A firm favourite among Parisian vintage lovers, who are drawn to the jolly red frontage and little iron chairs set out on the pavement. Once inside, it’s hard to know where to start – hunting along the rails, rummaging in the hampers, flipping through the pieces hung on the walls and even suspended from the ceiling between disco balls and celebrity masks of Barack Obama and Elizabeth II. Elsewhere there are piles of vintage telephones, démodé mocassins, ’60s sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts. Depending on what’s in stock, you could pick up a fox fur scarf, an old super-8 camera or Tricolore-striped motorcycle helmet – the place deserves its great reputation, you just have to roll up your sleeves and rummage. Prices are pretty reasonable, with leather boots at around €40 and jackets from €20.

  1. 118 rue Oberkampf, 11e
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Artazart

  • Critics choice

Step through Artazart’s neo-70s orange façade and you’re in another world – an Ali Baba land of design-related coffee-table tomes (think photography, graphic design, fashion, illustration and children’s books) and Lomo cameras you can pick up for under 100€.  Chances are you’ll pop in for a quick browse, but beware: Artazart has ways of making you stay! Aside from thousands of books with eye-catching covers and content, your peepers will be drawn to the small art gallery section where selected local talents get to display their works.  Before you know it, your ten-minute look-around has turned into a 45-minute jaunt and you’re ready for a coffee somewhere along the Canal St-Martin, so you can show off the books you’ve just bought.

  1. 83 quai de Valmy, 10th
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Les Oiseaux

  • Price band: 2/4

Tucked away in busy Oberkampf, retro, chic and fun Les Oiseaux is full of jewellery and accessories that are a wonderful mix of material and technique – stained wooden necklaces adorned with macramé, enamelled porcelain brooches, a military jacket brightened up with embroidery, a dress made from a patchwork of handkerchiefs. Each piece tells a story, enlivened by unusual, often fluorescent colours. The designs are mostly original, but you'll also find Vanina Escoublet dresses, Annabel Winship shoes and more. Be prepared to splash out.

  1. 24 rue Oberkampf, 11e
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Manga Story

  • Price band: 2/4

A manga haven on the Boulevard Voltaire, well known for its retro video games stores. In addition to the all the expected staples of the genre, Manga Story also offers DVDs (both individual and box-sets) of Japanese cartoons. The shelves are literally heaving with Japanese animation series, for long before the invasion of manga in France and the arrival of Dora the Explorer, Parisians were already fans of the abundant and quality animations coming from the land of the rising sun. There are genres to suit all: sports, combat, heroines, and more adult titles like the excellent 'Cowboy Bebop' by Shinichiro Watanabe or 'Paranoia Agent’, a slightly trippy series by Satoshi Kon. This is a great address for anyone looking to infuse themselves with Japanese television culture in Paris.

  1. 13 boulevard Voltaire, 11e
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Mon Amour

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Sandrine Arnone and Narumi Hérisson have set themselves up in the Marais exhibiting designer pieces collected from all over the world. A pair of shoes by Yves Saint Laurent, an oriental clutch bag from the 1940s, an old dress made by a designer in their youth… all this and more can be turned up by the dedicated rummager. You can also learn the art of wearing vintage by visiting Sandrine and Narumi’s blog; friends and clients regularly serve as models on their shoots.

  1. 77 rue Charlot, 3e
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Balouga

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

An Eames elephant sits on a throne in the entrance, accompanied by weeble dolls, a miniature deer and a garden gnome raising his hand. This is Balouga, an unmissable address for those who like design, and that doesn’t mean just adults. For seven years, Véronique Cota has offered a colourful selection of furniture, toys and kids books (up to 12 years of age) in her little shop split over two levels. What gives this place so much charm is its clever mix of contemporary and vintage – from '60s coat stands to Œuf be good beds (€522), it’s hard to resist the multitude of knickknacks at this address, with its wooden chairs suspended from the walls and poetic mobiles hanging from the ceiling.

  1. 25 rue des Filles du Calvaire, 3e
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La Source

  • Price band: 2/4

La Source, the brainchild of Xavier Ehrestmann (of My Electro Kitchen fame), is one of a select few Parisian record shops entirely dedicated to electro and dance music. All manner of labels are represented here – you're as likely to find an obscure British dubstep EP from 2006 as the latest Chicago house or French electro releases; you need only spot the many DJs among the shop's clientele to understand that rarity and variety are the order of the day here. Gigs and DJ sets, meanwhile, are the order of the night – Xavier hosts regular events in association with labels such as DDD and Smallville. And just in case La Source's cool credentials were ever in doubt, books on art and über-trendy t-shirts are also on sale. Hipster hipster, hooray!

  1. 46 rue Albert Thomas, 10e
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