Shopping in République and Oberkampf

Fargo Store

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.

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11th arrondissement

Bis Boutique Solidaire

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.

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3rd arrondissement

Le Centre Commercial

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.

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Canal Saint Martin

Ofr.

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.

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3rd arrondissement

Jeanne A

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.

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Oberkampf

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.

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The Marais

Omaya vintage

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.

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11th arrondissement

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.

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10th arrondissement

Lulu Berlu

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.

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Oberkampf

La Petite Fripe

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.

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11th arrondissement
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