Shopping is akin to sport in Paris, where shops differentiate and entice with some of the most elaborately conceived window displays you’ll see anywhere in the world. Follow these quick tips to help guide your retail wandering.
For Foodie Finds: Located next to and managed by the historic Le Bon Marché high-end department store, La Grande Épicerie de Paris offers one of Paris’ most pleasurable and comprehensive food-shopping experiences. Specializing in gourmet goods sourced not only from France but around the whole globe, the sprawling grocery includes a bakery, sushi bar, fromagerie, patisserie, butchery, wine cave, and beautiful produce display.
Afterwards, stop by the original branch of the praised (and now international) Poilâne bakery for one of their signature bread loaves. On Sundays, the nearby organic Raspail market heaves with locals and visitors alike—don’t miss it.
For Fashion: Though these days home to more international brands than local labels, Avenue des Champs-Élysées remains the epicentre of Paris’ high-end fashion scene. Expect all the major upscale designers, along with mid-range fashion and accessory chains like H&M, Gap, and Sephora.
For a funkier, more local shopping experience, head to the 10th arrondissement for a pleasant stroll along pretty Canal St-Martin, which is lined with trendy fashion boutiques, jewellery shops, music stores and, of course, cafés.
For Arts and Vintage Finds: The enchanting Le Marais quartier, stretching to the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, is well-suited to aimless rambling, window-shopping, and decadent snacking at the many boulangeries. Here you’ll find chic fashion boutiques and plenty of art galleries.
The shops at Paris’ top museums are, predictably, filled with site-specific and general arts-related treasures, from prints and postcards to hardcover books and assorted knick-knacks.
Speaking of treasures, the city’s biggest and most well-known flea market, Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, is full of them. Like a small city occupying the 18th arrondissement, the market has thousands of traders set up within a number of separate specialty markets. Weekends are the best (though busiest) time to visit.