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Shopping in the Marais

Fleux'

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...

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4th arrondissement

La Belle Hortense

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...

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The Marais

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...

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3rd arrondissement

Les Vignoles

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...

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3rd arrondissement

Popelini

Critics' choice

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.

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3rd arrondissement

Vintage Bar

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...

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4th arrondissement

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...

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The Marais

Florian Denicourt

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...

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3rd arrondissement

Surface To Air

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...

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The Marais

Petit Pan

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...

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4th arrondissement
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