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Photograph: Merci

The 19 best shops in Paris

Get ready to rummage. These are the absolute best shops in Paris, from indie boutiques to department stores

By Eleanor Aldridge

We’re calling it: this is the best city for shopping in all of Europe. Away from the soulless glitz of international consumerism that’s slowly etching away at the Champs-Élysées, there are hundreds of one-of-a-kind boutiques totally worth checking out. You could spend weeks exploring them all (trust us, we have) and still come across undiscovered designers and covetable labels.

Forget Breton tees and Chanel bags – what’s à la mode these days is statement glasses and monochrome unisex staples. Sustainability also climbs ever higher on many brands’ agendas. And while the ‘buy less, buy quality’ mantra has always held sway here, you’re now just as likely to find beautiful vegan accessories as leather and luxe fabrics.

Of course, there are the traditional shops that’ll define your time in Paris, whatever side of town you’re on. Traiteurs where saucissons dangle from the ceiling. Tiny wine bar-shops where bottles are hand-delivered by the vignerons themselves. And bookshops that remain at the heart of the city’s Anglophone communities, much as they were during the années folles.

Best shops in Paris

Centre Commercial (1)
Photograph: Centre Commercial

1. Le Centre Commercial

Shopping Boutiques République

Best for: Understated Parisian style

Where else to shop for the Parisian jeans-and-sneakers aesthetic than the concept store opened by the founders of Veja? There’s plenty more besides to discover from Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion’s impressive roll-call of designers. Pick up Oxford shirts, cosy sweatshirts and – obvs – some Veja high-tops. Their ranges include menswear and womenswear, plus small lifestyle and kids’ collections.

Photograph: Merci

2. Merci

Shopping Home decor Le Marais

Best for: Fashion and homeware collabs

Wave goodbye to the crowds doing the department-store crawl along the Boulevard Haussmann. Merci might sell itself as a concept store but really it’s a mini-grand magasin – and one with some pretty impressive ethics (they help support an educational foundation in Madagascar). Their collections include fashion, design and homewares, but it’s the regular showcases of up-and-coming makers and collaborations with the likes of L/Uniform, Taion and Rizzoli that set this place apart.

A La Ville de Rodez
Photograph: Flickr / FaceMePLS

3. A La Ville de Rodez

Best for: All things Auvergnat

Time-capsule shops are becoming ever rarer in Paris, making the 100-year reign of A La Ville de Rodez on Rue Vieille-du-Temple even more special. This traiteur specialises in all things from the Auvergne and Aveyron regions, particularly foie gras, cheese and saucisson. All sliced to order, bien sûr. Products from further afield include 24-month aged comté from the Jura, goats’ cheeses from the Loire and the legendary Prince de Paris ham.

We are Paris
Photograph: We Are Paris

4. We Are Paris

Best for: Parisian-made marvels

Skip the Eiffel Tower statues, cheap berets and dry macarons, and take home something original instead. This boutique is the antithesis to throw-away culture, stocking keep-for-years pieces made by Parisian artisans. The brands are selected according to a strict code. Whether they make jewellery, cosmetics or candles, each must be based in the Île-de-France region, manufacture only in small quantities and follow environmentally sustainable practices. 

Maison Plisson anniversaire devanture
Photograph: Time Out

5. Maison Plisson

Restaurants Le Marais

Best for: Edible souvenirs fancy enough for your most gourmet friend

Even the simplest tins at this uber-gourmet grocers might come with hefty price tags, but there’s nowhere better to pick up a carry-on-sized gift for a fussy foodie. The ground floor, where you’ll find cheese, charcuterie and vegetables, is mostly worth browsing only if money is no object and you’re stocking the fridge of an adjacent mansion. Head downstairs for dried goods: gorgeous savoury pâtes à tartiner, single-origin chocolates and myriad herbs and spices.

Photograph: Jessica Orchard

6. Monsieur

Shopping Boutiques Le Marais

Best for: Delicate jewellery

Just like a bold red lipstick, there’s one accessory almost every Parisienne has in their fashion arsenal: a piece of delicate gold jewellery. Monsieur is among the best of the many designer-led boutiques in the Marais. Pieces range from statement stud earrings for around €100 to wedding-worthy rings and white-gold pendants inlaid with tiny precious stones. They’ll do custom engraving to order.

arty dandy
Photograph: Time Out

7. Arty Dandy

Shopping Home decor Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Best for: Pocket squares and smart satchels

Great gifts (yes, including gifts for yourself) don’t get much more original than the bags, wallets, boots and watches in Arty Dandy’s curated collections. Brands, including RAINS, Lemon Jelly and Briston, are mid- to high-end but represent the kind of tough luxe that’s made to last. Find their two small but well-stocked boutiques in Saint-Germain and the Marais.

Shakespeare & Company
Photograph: Shakespeare & Company

8. Shakespeare & Company

Shopping Bookshops Quartier latin

Best for: Unparalleled literary associations

Shakespeare & Co. might not be in the same location as it was during the roaring ’20s, but it’s no less influential on the city’s literary scene. Today the Left Bank’s bohemians still flock to events, signings and live podcasts at the bookshop, first founded by Sylvia Beach in 1919. Is it on the tourist map? Certainly. Is it deserving of its many, many accolades? Without a doubt.

The exterior of Le Bon Marché department store in Paris
Photograph: Flickr / Fred Romero

9. Le Bon Marché

Shopping Department stores Rennes-Sèvres

Best for: The Parisians’ department store

As Printemps and Galeries Lafayette become ever more geared to international tastes, LVMH-owned Le Bon Marché remains more of a Parisians’ department store. Away from the city centre in Saint-Germain, it’s been a bastion of Rive Gauche style since 1838. Even if you don’t come to buy, snapping a photo of the iconic escalators or the latest art installation is de rigueur.

Photograph: Paperdolls

10. Paperdolls

Shopping Boutiques Abbesses

Best for: Raiding an imaginary friend’s wardrobe

The layout of this Pigalle ‘apartment boutique’ is designed to mimic a quirky Parisian home – meaning you can bring your dream of raiding a trendy friend’s wardrobe to life. Floaty, floral pieces are their mainstay. Think wrap skirts, frilly blouses and retro accessories, almost all French-made. Expect prices punchier than fast-fashion alternatives (but products with much more charm and originality, too).

Aujourd'hui Demain
Photograph: Marine Chapon

11. Aujourd’hui Demain

Best for: The very, very vegan

Having been slow to support vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, Paris is making up for lost time. Yes, in many places you’re still likely to get chicken stock in your vegetarian soup and eggs in your ‘vegan’ salad, but others are flying the flag for change. Part-restaurant and part-concept store, Aujourd'hui Demain is one of the most appealing, selling as it does a range of hard-to-find ingredients, a small selection of plant-based cosmetics and more.

Photograph: Time Out

12. Fleux’

Shopping Home decor Le Marais

Best for: Bold home décor

Interior decoration with a touch of je ne sais quoi can be hard to find in a city that values muted colour palettes, elegance and tasteful fabrics over anything too outrageous. Fleux’ is a design and lifestyle store – actually, several stores within spitting distance of each other – that breaks the mould. Stop by to pick up quirky tableware, statement lamps and plenty of small gift-worthy bits such as purses, umbrellas and keyrings embossed with cheeky designs.

Photograph: Hervé Goluza

13. Papier Tigre

Things to do Le Marais

Best for: One-of-a-kind notebooks

A one-stop-shop for statement stationery: notebooks, diaries, pencil cases and more, all emblazoned with their signature bold colours and graphic designs. Many are produced in the Marais, thanks in part to their commitment to sustainability, and their prints are instantly recognisable. There’s nothing better to take home to brighten up your work desk.

The Red Wheelbarrow
Photograph: The Red Wheelbarrow

14. Red Wheelbarrow

Shopping Le Marais

Best for: Lovers of English literature in France

Great bookstores form the heart of communities. And while The Red Wheelbarrow stocks French titles, it’s their range of English-language books – spanning poetry, travel, history, politics and more – that make this independent Left Bank shop such a firm favourite among the city’s expats. Events include book launches, readings and Q&As with a range of fascinating writers.

Photograph: L’Etiquette

15. L’Etiquette

Best for: Hervé’s latest discovery

A natural wine shop with a rebellious streak is the last thing you’d expect to find steps from Notre-Dame on Île Saint-Louis. Yet L’Etiquette is as original and authentic a tasting room as you could hope to find. Owner Hervé is a fount of knowledge and opinions, not just on the producers he stocks (who he often knows personally), but also on the benefits of organic and natural winemaking.

La Trésorerie
Photograph: Time Out

16. La Trésorerie

Shopping Home decor République

Best for: Appreciating the ‘art du table’

The word ‘chic’ gets bandied around too often in Paris, but this Rue du Château d’Eau boutique nails stylish minimalism like nowhere else. If you’ve spied exquisite tableware in a Parisian restaurant or fallen in love with pastel linen napkins, this is where to track them down. Their earth-tone ceramics are among the less suitcase-friendly options, but blimey, are they beautiful.

Photograph: Buly

17. L’Officine Universelle Buly

Best for: A trip to the apothecary

What do you get if you cross a 19th-century French apothecary with an Italian-style espresso bar? There’s only one way to find out. Pop in to L'Officine Universelle Buly’s Marais store, which is partly occupied by Grand Café Tortoni. The old-fashioned styling of their perfume and skincare ranges is commercial and visual genius. It’s little wonder the brand’s popularity has exploded (they’ve even collaborated with the Louvre).

18. Le Vin au Vert

Best for: Mags, grower Champagne and all things Jura

Bar and caviste Le Vin au Vert is the kind of place wine geeks, er, geek out over. For the uninitiated, there are unusual and small-production grower Champagnes and lots of fun, fresh and drinkable natural wines. For the fanatics, there are Jura greats like Ganevat, a serious selection of magnums and plenty of options sans sulfites. Even better, it’s a handy stumble from the Eurostar at the Gare du Nord.

Kiliwatch Paris
Photograph: Kiliwatch Paris

19. Kiliwatch

Shopping Womenswear Réaumur

Best for: Those who don’t mind trawling the racks

Only a few vintage shops warrant mention year in and year out. Kiliwatch is one. You’ll need to dedicate at least a few hours to trawling the racks, but you might stumble on the perfect shearling aviator or one-of-a-kind sunglasses. On the cheaper end, think retro sweatshirts, lots of denim and worn-in backpacks. There’s a small ready-to-wear range, too.

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A view of the city at night, including the Arc de Triomphe
Photograph: Cristiano Medeiros Dalbem

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