101 things to do in Paris: shopping

Anna Brooke

Shops in Paris are world famous. Scroll through the list below for our selection of the very best places to spend your money in the capital – unique shops, appealing emporia and the best-value stalls and markets in the capital... Think we've missed a great place to shop in Paris? Let us know and leave a comment in the box below.

The best shops and markets in Paris

Rummage around Les Puces de Montreuil

As fleamarket prices have risen over the last few years (especially at Les Puces de St-Ouen, north of Paris at Porte de Clignancourt), bargain hunting has become a major challenge for Parisians. Fortunately, there’s still Les Puces de Montreuil, just east of Nation on line 9. Haggle well and you’ll emerge with some great value bric-a-brac, furniture and antiques. Its location by the Periphérique (Paris’s ring road) is devoid of all charm, but the pleasure of bargain-hunting is priceless.

  1. Porte de Montreuil, 20e, Paris
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Browse English language bookshops

In the last few years there have been some sad casualties on the English bookshop scene in Paris, with much-loved outlets Tea and Tattered Pages, Village Voice and Red Wheelbarrow all closing their doors for the last time. But the city that nurtured Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Orwell and Beckett remains a major hub and an inspiration for English writers and readers, and there are still glossy emporiums, delightful second-hand treasure troves and plenty of mixed-language outlets to explore.

Ditch Monoprix and head for Marché Beauvau

The stalls on Rue and Place d’Aligre are renowned for selling the cheapest fruit and veg in Paris. Buy your apples and your pears then head inside the covered Marché Beauvau to the cheese and meat counters, where you can stock up on delicious picnic favourites like paté, saucission and Camembert. If you fancy wine with your collection, Caves d’Aligre (3 place d’Aligre, 12th) has a wide selection; and you can buy plastic cups at Franprix (13 place d’Aligre, 12th). Voilà – pique-nique.

  1. Pl d'Aligre, 12th, Paris, France
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Coffee and vinyl at Walrus

Like its mammalian namesake, Walrus is something of a rarity in Paris: a record shop that doubles up as​ a bar-cum-café. The concept is rooted in necessity: record sales just don't pay the rent nowadays. To judge by its spacious layout and gleaming fittings, Walrus seems designed with the coffee-drinking flâneur in mind; the impressive range of rock and indie LPs notwithstanding, people mostly come here to chat and chill rather than jam. Beer, coffee and that great emblem of Berlin rave culture Club Maté are all stocked.

  1. 34 ter rue de Dunkerque, 10e
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Stock up on rounds at Fromagerie Quatrehomme

Famous across the city for its Beaufort, four-year-old Comté and goat’s cheese, Fromagerie Quatrehomme is where Paris’ A-listers come to buy their fromage. Follow your nose to one of two boutiques – one in the 7th and the other in the 18th. The branch on rue du Poteau (18th) is off the tourist trail, on a particularly charming, café-filled street on the northern side of the Butte de Montmartre. Meanwhile, Fromagerie Quatrehomme’s Left Bank branch is a 10-minute walk from Jardin de Luxembourg, should you fancy tasting your cheese, rustic style, on a park bench.

  1. 62 rue de Sèvres, 7th, Paris, France
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Crane your neck at Galeries Lafayette

Possibly the most famous store ceiling in the world, the Galeries Lafayette is also a department store shopping experience to be reckonned with. The men’s fashion space on the third floor, Lafayette Homme, has natty designer corners and a ‘Club’ area with internet access. On the first floor, Lafayette Gourmet has exotic foods galore, plus a vast wine cellar including its own Bordeauxthèque from 2010. Now that’s how to shop in style.

  1. 40 boulevard Haussmann, 9e
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Take a break at Appartement 217 spa

Head to Appartement 217 on rue St-Honoré and leave your shopping bags at the door. This temple of beauty and massage is the antidote to aggressive shop assistants and crazed crowds. Whether you opt for a facial or a body massage, all products used are organic. Particularly unique is Appartement 217’s physio-harmonising treatment – a deep-tissue massage performed by a physiotherapist; and the Lyashi Dome, a heated ceramic chamber that apparently encourages your body to eliminate toxins and fat.

  1. 217 rue St-Honoré, 1st, Paris, France
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Pick up a very French fashion item

You can buy almost any brand you like in Paris – even staple London high street brands like Topshop and Urban Outfitters even have concessions in the big department stores. But if you're here with some cash to splash, nothing beats Parisian boutique shopping – and when the design and manufacture is local, you'll be the proud owner of a unique piece that has benefited French industry as well. These are our favourite boutiques 'made in France'.

Go window shopping at Montaigne Market

In the heart of the 'golden triangle', Montaigne Market is a temple to luxury fashion, with a stream of designers – both old and new – under one roof. Flit between Givenchy jackets, Valentino dresses and tailored t-shirts signed The Row, and check out the latest cuts and fabrics. If you’re feeling daring, you could even try a few on. It’s unlikely you’ll find anything under €150 and most items rise into the thousands, but for fashionistas in need of inspiration browsing Montaigne Market’s shelves is like walking through the pages of Vogue.

  1. 57 avenue Montaigne, 8e, Paris
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Shop outside the box at Paris’s concept stores

Merci is the original – and some would still say the best – of Paris's flourishing range of concept stores, but there's plenty of inventiveness and amazing products to be found at these other up-and-comers. Clothing, homeware and random bits of highly designed and highly priced knick-knackery are all available at these temples to style, with many of them also sporting cafés, event spaces and ethical or environmental projects.

Scarf a classic millefeuille at Pierre Hermé

Picture this: sweet crunchy layers of caramelized pastry, sandwiched with unctuous blobs of mascarpone, flavoured with Pierre Hermé’s magic assembly of vanilla from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico. This heavenly pud – without doubt the best vanilla slice in Paris – is but one of the delights awaiting your taste buds at the cake chef’s boutiques. Pierre Hermé’s macarons (which come in flavours like caramel butter, rose, pistachio and liquorice), may well make it into your book of ‘best ever’ treats too, along with his fruit jellies and nougat.

  1. 72 rue Bonaparte, 6e, Paris, France
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Stock up on wine at Les Caves Augé

If you want history served with your wine head to Les Caves Augé. It has been open since 1850 and was the store where Proust used to go to stock up his cellar: the décor, awash in mouldings and panelling, has changed little since then. You can choose between thousands of bottles, the savvy cavistes (wine-sellers) will give you titbits about any grape variety or château you see, and there’s an ever-increasing accent on ‘natural’ wines. If you fancy a dégustation, Les Caves Augé offer a tasting day one Saturday each month.

  1. 116 boulevard Haussmann, 8e, Paris, France
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Get well heeled at the best shoe boutiques

Any fashion-conscious traveller's eyes will stray to the windows of Paris's shoe shops as they go, even if their purported destination is a museum. From vintage trainers to sky-high stillettos and from practical classics to one-off designer fripperies, this is certainly the place to invest in some standout footwear. From bargain basements to wacky designers, this list shares our favourites.

Try on vintage couture at Didier Ludot

Didier Ludot’s vintage couture boutique is a beautiful but pricey sanctuary of days-gone-by design. Every piece is stunning, from the Audrey Hepburn-style dresses to Jacky Kennedy-esque jackets and tailored Cary Grant-style men’s suits. Typical brands include Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Chanel and Hermès. There are also displays dedicated to those who Didier Ludot thinks will be the designers of tomorrow.

  1. 20-24 galerie de Montpensier, 1st, Paris, France
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Get the Paris looks at Kitsuné

If you’re into music, you might know Kitsuné as the label that brings underground groups to the surface, but this concept store on Rue Richelieu (open since 2008) is also about its founders’ first love: clothes. It’s even cooler than The Kooples – ultra-branché Parisians come here to buy top quality glad rags with artisan-quality finishes and dead trendy cuts. Boys, add to your wardrobe with a tartan shirt and slim-cut jeans. Girls, see to yours with Kitsuné’s cabled cardies and pleated schoolgirl skirts.

  1. 52 rue de Richelieu, 1st, Paris, France
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Roll up your sleeves at Guerrisol

Roll your sleeves up and dig into Guerrisol’s never-ending racks of second-hand clothes. A lot of it is tat, but every so often (and often enough for Guerrisol to be the most popular shop of its kind in Paris) you find a gem. It’s particularly good for gents in need of a suit and ladies in search of shoes, with all sorts of styles and colours on offer. Just wash before you wear: Guerrisol does have a certain tang of Eau de Charity Shop.

  1. 19 avenue de Clichy, 17e, Paris
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Taste luxury at the Maison de la Truffe

At Maison de la Truffe you can taste glorious truffles in the restaurant or buy your own in the boutique. Just breathe deeply as you step in – the enveloping truffle aroma is part of the experience. Then feast your eyes on baskets of fresh truffles (when in season) and tinned truffles and oils. Just remember that truffles, like diamonds, are hard to find – hence Maison de la Truffe’s whopping price tags.

  1. 19 place de la Madeleine, 8e, Paris, France
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Create your own scent at Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

Stepping into Serge Lutens’ dimly-lit Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido feels like you’re walking into a retro-futurist boudoir. It also smells like one, with a light heady fragrance that reminds you Lutens’ perfume means business. Explain what you’re looking for – musk, floral notes, vanilla – then let the knowledgeable staff do the rest. Aside from the perfume creations, Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido has a fab selection of perfume bottles that are well worth keeping as collectables.

  1. 142 rue de Valois, 1er, Paris
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