Shopping in the Marais

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Fleux'

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Suffering from IKEA fatigue? Don’t panic, there is furniture made outside Sweden. Spread over nearly 350 square metres, Fleux offers a plethora of decorative and colourful design pieces. Opened in 2005, Luc Moulin’s and Gaétan Aucher’s boutique focuses on two key concepts: the superfluous and the luxurious. So rather than practical flat pack, expect to find anything from ceramic owls to green deer heads and paper lanterns. But it’s not all impractical gewgaws – even if the keyword here is derision, many pieces also serve a purpose, such as bird hooks (€15.50 for two), lamps in old jars and hand-shaped bookends...

  1. 39 et 52 rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4e
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La Belle Hortense

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

A tranquil boozy and literary escape from the frenetically trendy streets of the Marais, La Belle Hortense with its pretty blue frontage is all about settling down with a good book and a nice wine. Hosting readings and literary events, the walls are lined with bottles and books, including new releases, rare volumes, independent poetry and classic collections. The wine list is enormous – quite pricy by the glass but much better value by the bottle or carafe – try a white Mâcon Solutré from the Bourgogne, a red Morgon Flache Somay, or splash out on top vintages like Saint-Emilion and Margaux...

  1. 31 Rue Vieille du Temple, 4e
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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...

  1. 20 rue Dupetit-Thouars, 3e
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Les Vignoles

  • Price band: 3/4

This Marais concept stores plays elegantly with Parisian and French identity – the owners Yann and Yannick bring together stylists, designers and other contemporary artists inspired by the City of Light. But there are no tacky souvenirs for tourists – everything is Parisian chic, with a knowing wink. Macaroons show up in bracelets, space invaders (usually found decorating the walls of the capital’s buildings) adorn t-shirts, calf’s heads (tête de veau, which in French rhymes with Parigot – Parisian) are printed on brooches and badges (€8-€10). Plus offbeat and sometimes inspired accessories, clothes and found objects...

  1. 7 rue Commines, 3e
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© EP

Popelini

  • Price band: 2/4
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Choux à la crème (profiteroles) are the latest fashionable patisserie craze to hit Paris after cookies, macaroons and cupcakes – specifically those cooked by Lauren Koumetz, a former pupil of Christophe Michalak, who opened Popelini (after the Italian creator of choux pastry) in the heart of the Marais in 2011. The sweet little mouthfuls with their creamy centres are decorated with Morello cherries or finished with lemon, caramel, pistachio. Allow €1.85 each, €11 for 6 and €21 for 12.

  1. 29 rue Debelleyme, 3e, 75003
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Vintage Bar

  • Price band: 4/4

Vintage Bar is pretty luxurious, in an area where clothes can usually be found at bargain prices. Once inside, though, it’s hard to imagine that the clothes have three-figure labels; it couldn’t feel further from a high-end hangout for moneyed fashionistas – more like Ali Baba’s cave. Trinkets clutter up the floor, and fur coats hanging from the ceiling casually brush your face as you walk by. A drinking den in its previous life, the shop has kept its beer handles – the rest of the bar now serves as a jewellery display, covered in rings which are probably the most affordable pieces in the place. No H&M here, but Louboutin, Dior, Kenzo...

  1. 16 rue de la Verrerie, 4e
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I Love My Blender

You might well expect a former ad man to name his dream shop something catchy and offbeat, though you probably wouldn’t anticipate it being full of dinky keyrings, Penguin Classics mugs and an intelligent selection of literature. But on the fringes of the Marais, ‘I Love My Blender’ is a delightful mish-mash of a few of Christophe Persouyre’s favourite things: board games, treats for kids, avant-garde oil paintings, postcards and assorted knick-knackery, all jostling for space on the narrow little shop’s crowded shelves and tables. Charming as all this is, those in the know will head here for the book selection...

  1. 36 rue du Temple, 3rd
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Florian Denicourt

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

You’ll find Parisian leather designer Florian Denicourt’s bags and accessories in high-end department stores like Le Bon Marché in Paris and Liberty’s in London, but this tiny boutique on rue Charlot is the official HQ. Here Denicourt’s men’s and women’s bags are laid out like chic bonbons on the shelves, each model sporting different minimalist forms and trimmings and costing around 500€. It might sound a lot, but this is French-made, couture leatherwork; and smaller models, like the ‘pochette’ range (big enough for an iPad), start at an accessible 125€. Particularly cool are the men’s shoes – especially the brightly coloured...

  1. 24 rue Charlot, 3e
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Surface To Air

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Named after the Chemical Brothers’ Surface to Air song, this ‘concept store’ turned ‘designer chain’ has fast become a reference in Parisian chic. In its flagship Marais store you’ll find the sober, crisply cut designs that have attracted the likes of groups like Justice, Chromeo and Midnight Juggernauts. Surface to Air also doubles as a design agency, so frequently offer artistic direction to other prêt-à-porter and couture Fashion houses (in the past this has included Louis Vuitton and Diesel). In short, gentlemen, this is the shop to see and be seen shopping in right now. And ladies will find snazzy little numbers here too...

  1. 108 rue Vieille du Temple, 3e
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Petit Pan

  • Price band: 3/4

The fruit of a partnership between Chinese kite designer Pan Gang and Belgian artist Myriam De Loor, this brand catering for children and the home opened in 2003 and specialises in Chinese prints. Nothing here has been left to chance, not even the decoration of the space, which is a mine of ideas. On the shelves you’ll find all sort of fabrics and woven goods with floral patterns, glitter, even pearls. There are accessories for babies (baby sleeping bags, comforters, animal-print flannels) and you’ll also find a multitude of decorative objects as eccentric as they are colourful, from frog kites to silk paper hippopotamus decorations...

  1. 39 rue François Miron, 4e
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Garrice

  • Price band: 3/4

Garrice is without doubt one of the best places in Paris to find luxury brand shoes. There's no chance of your sole peeling off in the rain, or of snapping a heel running for the bus – they may be expensive but they are the highest quality, well-chosen and always in fashion. From ultra-feminine Casadeis (€335) to Repetto ballet pumps, via the clean lines of Michel Vivien, there's a slipper here for every Cinderella. And though not cheap, they often have sales with as much as 50% off...

  1. 26 rue Saint-Antoine, 4e
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Des saumons et des ailes

  • Price band: 3/4

Head to Des Saumons et des Ailes for a glut of festive treats that are available all year round, like organic smoked wild salmon from Denmark, Norway, Scotland and the last traditional smoker in France (Maison Barthouil). The fish are sliced on site for extra freshness, priced between €90 and €220 per kilo – you won’t be eating a lot at these prices, but it will be the best.Also on offer are smoked trout and eel, three brands of French caviar, and duck and goose products (the ‘ailes’ or wings of the shop’s name). To wash it all down with, there are thirty brands of vodka to choose from, distilled in all four corners of the planet...

  1. 41 rue Charlot, 3e
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Jimmy Fairly

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Probably the city's largest supplier of eyewear to bearded hipsters, Jimmy Fairly lauched first as a website (in 2011) before opening a store in the Marais in May 2012. Riding a wave of blogger enthusiasm, this Web 3.0 optician offers around 30 retro style designs which are produced in Italy but carry very Anglo-Saxon names: pick up a Monroe, Hamilton or a Watson for just €95, lenses included (if you don’t need a prescription or to have them fitted with anti-reflective glass). What's more, their 'Buy one give one' model means that for every pair of glasses sold, Jimmy Fairly gives a brand new pair to someone in need...

  1. 64 rue Vieille du Temple, 4e
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Fabien Breuvart – Images & Portraits

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A wander through the Marché des Enfants Rouges will take in flower stalls heavy with fragrant stems, cheese vendors packaging up creamy chunks of Comté, and probably a sizzling Lebanese wrap or bright and colourful brunch. As you take it all in, remember to also stop by Fabien Breuvart’s superb little shop and gallery specialising in anonymous vintage photography, reached from inside the market or via Rue Charlot. Outside are boxes of loose passport photographs for €1, as well as larger mounted images and old packets of postcards. Inside, flip through racks and racks of extraordinary images...

  1. 35-37 Rue Charlot, 3e
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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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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...

  1. 25 rue des Filles du Calvaire, 3e
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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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Sentou

  • Critics choice

On the Right Bank, near Hôtel de Ville, this bright and colourful loft-like boutique is enough to make any interior designer salivate. Set over three levels, linked by a Roger Tallon staircase, it sells pieces by well-known (and some lesser-known) artists and designers – think Jean Prouvé (chairs), Isamu Noguchi (lights) and Maison Georgette (textiles).  Prices are not as high as you’d imagine: you can pick up cushions from €25, Sentou designed tables from €180 and even painted wooden stools from as little as €15. A second branch is found at 26 bd Raspail, 7e.

  1. 29 rue François Miron, 4e
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Noir Kennedy

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Noir Kennedy sounds and feels like a rock band. Located steps away from the Saint-Paul metro station, the store offers a wide selection of second hand clothing, but maintains a strong sense of style. Classic pieces by Cheap Monday mingle with very British rockabilly style items, and English telephone booths serve as changing rooms. There isn’t a sequined top or a pair of 1970s bell-bottoms in sight: Noir Kennedy is totally and deliciously rock'n'roll.

  1. 22 rue du Roi de Sicile, 4e
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Pring

  • Price band: 2/4

Thai-American designer, Pring Pichayanund Chindahporn, launched her brand of neo-Cinderella shoes in 2007 and five years on they’re still making waves. Probably because her models are so deliciously glam-rock: From slender red, snakeskin kitten-boots and shocking pink wedges to funky burnt-orange strappy sandals, there’s enough variety to justify you buying several models (bank account permitting - prices start at around 200€). And don’t tell your Mum – but Pring’s shoes are actually sensible, with solid structures and sexy heels that you can walk on without fear of breaking your ankle or spearing someone’s toe...

  1. 29 rue Charlot, 3e
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AMUSEMENT

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

If geeks had their own shop in paradise, it might look like Amusement, the Gaîté Lyrique’s ‘creative-shop’ (Paris’s avant-garde digital arts centre) selling everything from Star Trek Monopoly and Rubik’s cube mats to old-school Polaroid cameras and wacky electronic key-rings and memory sticks.  The cherry on the cake, however, is the personalized video game service. Tell the team what games you like and they’ll make a new one just for you (pre-order at amuse_me@amusement.fr). The shop also houses an ‘objects of the future’ exhibition, showing prototypes of tomorrow’s inventions (think new musical instruments and robots)...

  1. 3 bis rue Papin, 3e
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K Jacques

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Those who love clothes and understand style appreciate that if you're up close to Mother Nature, you have to ditch the follies of the fashion spread for something more fit for purpose. But what they also realise is that such restraint doesn't have to mean dowdy clothes. The fashionable in a field rely on 'elemental chic' brands, whose collections usually have some high-tech or artisanal origin and strike the right balance between form and function, but in terms of price point, heritage and celebrity endorsement, bear a reassuring resemblance to the designer brands they wear back in town...

  1. 16 rue Pavée, 4e
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Yves Andrieux & Vincent Jalbert

  • Price band: 3/4

Fancy breathing new life into your Great Aunt Maud’s old curtains? Head to Yves Andrieux & Vincent Jalbert, where the fabrics used on every satchel, cushion, clothes item and bed throw started life somewhere else – usually on French soldiers’ backs, in a flea market or in a granny’s wardrobe. This duo of créateurs uses recycled army fabrics, bold vintage material and antique embroideries in all of their designs, turning this boutique-cum-gallery into a veritable Ali-Baba’s cavern of khaki grey, sunflower yellow, polka dot blue and lace.  The designs – all highly wearable...

  1. 55 rue Charlot, 3e
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