When you're already in the city of love, the perfect Valentines Day gift is the icing on the cake. Get it right this year with our guide on shopping for your significant other in Paris.
Five generations of lingerie-makers are behind this gorgeous boutique, founded by Hermine Cadolle, who claimed to be the inventor of the bra. Great-great-granddaughter Poupie Cadolle continues the tradition in a cosy space devoted to a luxury ready-to-wear line of bras, panties and corsets. Lace, feathers and leopard print abound.
There are two reasons to walk down passage Josset in the 12th: it’s quaint and off the beaten track; and it’s home to Les Fleurs, a girly boutique extraordinaire that drips with funky jewellery, bags, rococo mirrors and all sorts of gizmos and gadgets for little and grown up girls alike - owner Lucie Deniset has handpicked little-known, yet well-respected designers.
Two young entrepreneurs are reviving bespoke for a new generation in this tiny shop. Custom shirts start from €119 and can be delivered in a week or so; they will also make or copy shirts for women and produce made-to-order jeans for both sexes. Laser-printed buttons are perfect for stamping your beloved's shirt with a saucy message.
Founded in 2006, Passage du Désir is a veritable 'lovestore' – a place in which to free your kinky fantasies far from the cries of seedy sex shops. From willy shaped pasta to edible body paint, vibrators and an array of his and hers sex toys (including a dildo that plugs into your i-pod and vibrates to the rhythm of your music!).
This temple of good taste is located on the ground floor of Le Bon Marché, Paris’s oldest department store, where its bakery, patisserie, butcher’s and cheese shop will all urge you to give in to gourmet temptation. Prices depend on the age and origin of the product, so you can just as easily enjoy a delicious pistachio macaroon for two euros as bankrupt yourself for a bottle of olive oil.
A master chocolate-maker and traiteur, Christian Constant scours the globe for new ideas. His ganaches are subtly flavoured with verbena, jasmine or cardamom. Utterly kitsch but wholly romantic is the hat-box filled with roses and chocolate truffles lightly dusted in cacao powder. Constant's marshmallows are also a perfect balance of tang and squishiness.
Paris is littered in florists, but this is the only one specialised in that flower of romance – the rose. Say it with a full blown bouquet, a heart-shaped creation or a single stalk. You can even make yourself feel rosier with Au Nom's rose-based beauty products and candles.
Run by two brothers (one gay, one straight) whose surname just happens to be Legay, this Marais boulangerie and pâtisserie is very popular. The pastries are delightful, and the lunch-hour sandwiches are generous, so expect lengthy queues. For that special occasion, try their penis-shaped loaf.
Lavinia stocks a broad selection of French alongside many non-French wines; its glassed-in cave has everything from a 1945 Mouton-Rothschild at €22,000 to trendy and 'fragile' wines for under €10.Have fun tasting wine with the dégustation machines on the ground floor, which allow customers to taste a sip of up to ten different wines each week for €10.
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.
Pastry superstar Pierre Hermé attracts connoisseurs from St-Germain and afar with his seasonal collections. His vanilla slice (mille-feuille) is legendary, as are his macaroons - easily the best in Paris, if not France. Prices are high but your taste buds will thank you.
This luxurious day spa housed in stone vaults with wooden cabins and safari-style tents offers massages and skin treatments using Nuxe's gentle, plant-based products. The facials, where you undress completely, begin with a short foot, tummy and neck message for total relaxation.