By Yunna Takeuchi
Whatever the look, it’s no secret that Parisians are a well dressed bunch. But is it the amazing shopping in Paris that makes them so stylish, or did they stylish shops follow the stylish Parisians? Either way, if you’re wondering where to shop in Paris, it can feel impossible to know where to go first. So here’s a guide to the best shopping in Paris to help you out. If you’re looking for unique, chic and affordable Parisian boutiques or cool concept and lifestyle stores in quirky, off the beaten path neighbourhoods, you’ve come to the right place. The best shopping in Paris might depend on who you ask, but if you’re looking less for the Champs-Élysées and more for off the wall street style stores or pop-ups, you should check these places out. And no matter your choice of where to shop in Paris, I would challenge anyone not to come away without at least one cool buy!
Rue de Charonne
You can’t get much more central than the 11th arrondissement, but luckily this independent spirited street has kept the chain stores and the it-crowd at bay with its down to earth attitude and wonderful mash up of styles. If you are wondering where to shop in Paris then Rue de Charonne is the answer. Tucked away just behind the Bastille, you won’t find hordes of lost looking tourists; instead, Parisians indulging in a day’s shopping breeze in and out of chic boutiques, artisan shops and effortlessly cool concept stores. There’s also a wonderfully diverse sprinkling of bistros, globally diverse eateries and cafes where you can pause to sip a glass of wine or a coffee, stop for a quick bite (I’d recommend Paris-Hanoi) or savour a long (and probably well deserved) lunch. If clothes shopping in Paris is your main goal then this is the place to be. Amongst the boutiques, which have price tags ranging from those you’d probably rather not think about to bargains in the vintage stores, you’ll find French labels like Isabel Marant and the fair trade, ethically minded department store Altermundi. Other shops to drop in to are So We Are, an eclectic and effortlessly stylish boutique, and Repetto, the renowned sellers of all things ballet (as well as leather goods and shoes).
Canal Saint Martin
Shopping in Canal St-Martin is as much about soaking up the atmosphere of the neighbourhood, the waterside views and appreciating the details of each boutique as it is actually shopping in Paris. With shops that look more like galleries, this trendy quartier around whose waterways locals still congregate is a great place to shop on a budget, or if you’re looking for something a little different. As you wander the streets and shop in Paris, France, be sure to peep in at Rue de Marseille and Rue Beaurepaire for up and coming designers, and French classics like Agnès B and Claudie Pierlot. There are also quirky spots that you really won’t find the likes of anywhere else in the city, like Atelier Green Factory, a unique shop selling one of a kind terrariums. There’s also a big social, ethical and environmental commitment from many of the stores here; Centre Commercial is a space that combines social and artistic projects, environmental initiatives and locally sourced fashion.
Sure, there’s plenty of shopping to be done in Le Marais, but when it’s all commercial high street ventures and dodging crowds of tourists, who’s really interested? For some of the best shopping in Paris head north into Haut Marais, which runs from the Picasso Museum to the Place de la République and is where Parisians really shop. You’ll still get the charming cobblestone streets and ivy-clad buildings that you’d expect from this quartier, but head to Rue Charlot and you’ll also get the boutiques of up and coming designers, independent and quirky little clothes shops and a sprinkling of galleries for good measure. You can easily get some of the best shopping in Paris done here and for those who like hunting for one-off treasures rather than buying off the rail - check out Yves Andrieux & Vincent Jalbert, whose pieces from homeware to clothing are all made from antique fabrics that have been sourced anywhere from ex-army uniforms to your local flea market, and Pring, who makes the kind of neo-Cinderella glam-rock shoes your mum wouldn’t like but you can’t help buying anyway. True to its bobo (bourgeois bohemian) personality, as well as the tangle of tiny streets around the Rue de Bretagne where you can find clothing that's made for this effortless-chic style, the recently reopened Carreau du Temple market is redefining the area's working class roots.
Your bank account might not thank you for clothes shopping in Paris, but if you find yourself in this laid-back enclave, your wardrobe certainly will. If you are compiling a list of where to shop in Paris then include Etienne Marcel. This is where the cool kids come to shop (or window-shop), where penniless fashion students come for inspiration and where you can find big names alongside indie gems and home-grown Parisian labels. With a unique atmosphere of Paris via California (if you can picture it), this area draws on all of my favourite things about La La Land - laid back Venice Beach vibes, thrift shops, skating concept stores and street art. There’s the Cali inspired store American Retro as well as denim classics like Levi’s and Replay, as well as tres unique boutiques like By Marie, which is always stocked with romantically whimsical, feminine pieces. If you are shopping in Paris ,the Sandro and the Kooples are go-to spots for the latest in effortless cool, and vintage lovers rejoice because Etienne Marcel is also home to the most celebrated vintage store in the city, Kiliwatch.
If you are wondering where to shop in Paris you may have overlooked Montmartre, which tends to scream tourist hotspot and pickpockets, not unique boutique shopping, but some of the best shopping in Paris can be done here. Skip the madness of the area’s souvenir shops selling an impressively tacky selection of things you definitely don’t want and head straight to the, where you’ll find the unique, speciality and chic boutiques you were looking for all along. From the French staples like Comptoir des Cotonniers to wonderfully off the wall fashion stores like Et Vous, Rue des Abbesses is a wonderful mash-up the brings together everything I love about Parisian style. There’s speciality beauty boutiques like Oh My Cream!, the vintage treasure trove Homies where you’re sure to unearth something special (they also sell contemporary ready-to-wear) and Coco Bazar, an eclectic shoe shop. And if that’s not enough, there’s also the Marché St Pierre where you’ll find anything from nicknacks to fabric so you can get creative and run up some of your own clothes!
Rue du Commerce
With a name like rue du Commerce, it’s not surprising that this is where you can get some of the best shopping in Paris done. Despite being just around the corner from the Eiffel Tower, this shopping secret is loved by the locals for its variety of stores, which go from international brands like Zara to Parisian icons like Comptoir de Cotonniers, with a sprinkling of quirky homeware shops and tiny boutiques thrown in too. It’s the best place for clothes shopping in Paris if you’re looking for the latest trends without the price tag that comes with the city's more exclusive shopping districts.
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