Paris is a city filled with history, art, architecture, food, wine, and romance. In fact, there is so much to do that you may find yourself forgetting to squeeze some time in for that oh-so-relaxing activity: shopping!
Parisians are reputed to be famous for their style, so if you want to compare notes to the shops you have at home, you’ve come to the right place. From giant department stores to little boutiques, there is a bit of everything in Paris. There are stores that cater to luxury jewellery and pret-a-porter clothing, to stores with quirky knickknacks and vintage items.
Whatever your preference, this fashionable city offers a variety of shopping for all of travellers. So let’s get to the the best shopping in Paris, shall we? Allons-y!
1. Galeries Lafayette and Printemps
Near Opéra on the Right Bank, this is France’s answer to Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. Galerie Lafayette and Printemps are known in France as the Grands Magasins which is the French word for “large shop” aka “department stores”.
They sit side by side along Boulevard Haussmann just across from the Palais Garnier, the national Opera of Paris, along with other smaller shops around like Zara, Petit Bateau, and more in the 9th arrondissement.
The area is named for Baron Haussman, who designed much of the buildings in Paris during the latter half of the 19th century.
Inside Galerie Lafayette and Printemps, you will find something for all budgets. From upscale fashion brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Prada, etc. there are also the modest brands like Mango and house brands.
Here, you will find the most popular shopping streets, selling clothes and accessories for both adults and children, as well as home goods and other items.
In addition, don’t miss the view from the top floor of Galerie Lafayette. And if you like fashion, book a ticket to the Galerie Lafayette fashion show.
2. Avenue des Champs Elysées
Most locals don’t usually head to the Avenue des Champs Elysées to shop since it can get rather crowded, but if you are looking for a place to see the flagship store of a particular brand, the Champs Elysées is your best bet.
From Lacoste to Tissot, you have your pick. There’s something for everyone, from Nike to Bulgari. With plenty of cafés around, it is also a lovely place to sit around and people-watch.
And if you are a football fan, check out the Paris Saint Germain football team’s souvenir shop that is on the Champs, right near the movie theatre.
3. Avenue Montaigne and the Triangle d’Or
If you are looking at the French high-end boutiques such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, they are actually just off of the Champs-Elysées on Avenue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement.
This somewhat unassuming quiet street is all the luxury shops like Givenchy and Prada are located.
This area is called the Triangle d’Or because of all the high-end boutiques located in this area. The triangle is formed by Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and Rue Francois 1er, which is just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.
Be sure to have your car and driver on standby however, to carry all those packages!
4. La Samaritaine
The newest kid on the block is actually also one of the oldest, located in the 1st arrondissement. Originally built in 1905, the department store was closed in 2005 for a substantial renovation, only reopening in 2021.
La Samaritaine is located right on the quays of the Seine near Pont Neuf, and because of its excellent location, it was supposed to be turned into a hotel. The French government decided to step in and insist on a renovation, with a hotel built in the building attached.
Today, the Samaritaine has been fully restored, and with a wonderful restaurant and brewery inside, it certainly is doing its part to attract shoppers.
5. Place Vendome and Rue Saint-Honoré
If you don’t care for shopping centers, one of the most exclusive shopping areas in Paris is Place Vendome in the 1st arrondissement. There are several spectacular jewellery stores in this area like Cartier, Boucheron, and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Place Vendome is also right next to Rue Saint Honoré in the 1st arrondissement. This tiny street is located behind rue Rivoli’s souvenir shops and holds some of the most fashionable brands in the world.
With everything from Celine to Chloé and Balenciaga to Guerlain, you will have to hold on to your wallet.
6. Bon Marché
Another grand magasin, this time on the Left Bank of Paris, is the Bon Marché in the 7th arrondissement. Founded in 1938, the Bon Marché literally translates to the “Good Market”.
Originally, it was a shoppers’ paradise to sell lace, ribbons, sheets, mattresses, buttons, umbrellas and other assorted goods. Today, it is also owned by the LVMH group, and sells many of the same brands as La Samaritaine.
Along with luxury brands, the Bon Marché is also famous for its Grand Epicerie, meaning “large grocery store“.
It offers one of the largest ranges of artisan culinary products from France such as varieties of seafood, cheese, meats, pastries, etc. It also offers exotic products from other countries that are not so easily available.
7. Vintage Shops
If you are looking for that bargain find, there are several vintage shops in Paris, particularly around the Marais. The most notable and popular ones are:
- Come on Eileen – 40 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 – Vintage designer pieces from the 1960s to most recent times. If you are looking for that lightly-used Chanel or Hermes jacket, this might be your best bet.
- Tilt Vintage Paris – 8 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 – Second hand finds from the 1960s onwards, that are reasonably priced in near mint condition. They also have an online store.
- Free’P’Star – 61 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 – clothing for women and men, including 1-euro bins. Stock changes often, so go with an open mind.
8. BHV Marais
Just across from the Hotel de Ville in the 3rd arrondissement is the grand magasin (large shop) called the BHV. It is part of the same group that owns the famed Galerie Lafayette shops.
The large building is fully occupied by BHV with 6 floors and an underground, selling everything from clothing and shoes, to kitchen items and DIY tools. Prices vary from luxury to more modest items.
There is also a superb rooftop bar and restaurant on the top floor with excellent views all across the city.
9. Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen (Paris flea market)
Marché aux Puces literally translates to “flea market”, and in the neighborhood of Saint Ouen you have the biggest one in Paris. With over 2000 little shops and stands of mainly antiques and artwork, this is flea market is one of the most popular in Paris, just outside the 18th arrondissement.
The market dates back to 1885 and is on the border of Paris, because at the time the government décret did not allow the merchants to set up shop within the city limits.
From tables to armchairs, chandelier lighting to old books and jewellery, all with that certain French je ne sais quoi, you will wish you had brought more luggage. (Not to worry, the Paris flea market has those as well.) There are also sometimes clothes, sneakers and garage sale items, but of rather questionable quality.
There are 5 main markets to explore:
- Marché Biron – antique furniture, paintings, tapestries, mirrors, etc.
- Marché Dauphine – classic knickknacks, old books, vintage photos and records.
- Marché Jules Vallès – postcards, posters, gadgets, old weapons, etc.
- Marché Vernaison – old furniture, toys, lamps, and glassware.
- Marché Malik – vintage clothes and accessories
It is estimated that the Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen attracts 5 million shoppers per year.
If you want to enjoy a bit of shopping in Paris and then relax at one of Paris’s most famous restaurants like Café de Flore or Le Procope, you will want to head over to Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Located in the 6th and 7th arrondissements, this is Paris at its chicest. Around Boulevard Saint-Germain, Rue Jacob, Rue de Grenelle and Sèvre Babylone, there are plenty of boutiques that are likely to catch your eye.
Designers like Giorgio Armani, Sonia Rykiel, Christian Dior, and Ralph Lauren have opened boutiques in this shopping district. There are also French classics like Aigle and Mes Desmoiselles.
From the intersection of Rue du Bac and Boulevard Raspail, you can follow Boulevard Raspail down to Rue de Rennes to find plenty of small stores with products for the home.
In addition, be sure to make a stop at one of the artisan patisseries in the area like Pâtisserie Michalak or La Tarte Tropézienne, to recharge your forces with a bit of sugar.
11. The Marais and Rue Rivoli
If you are looking for tiny boutiques, you will want to go shopping in the Marais. Forget the luxury brands of Avenue Montaigne, for emerging designers you will want to head to Rue Vieille du Temple in the Haute Marais.
Wander into FrenchTrotters or Hipenema, a few steps away from Karl Lagerfeld’s concept store on Rue Vieille du Temple. Other popular streets in the Marais include Rue de Birague, Rue Charlot, Rue de Sévigné, Boulevard Beaumarchais, and Rue du Roi de Sicile.
In addition, you will find all the shopping mainstays on Rue de Rivoli, which is an easy way to orient yourself. There’s lots to explore, so put the map away and just wander to where you feet may take you.
12. Forum des Halles Shopping Center
Just steps away from the Metro station Chatelet and the Marais, is the Forum des Halles shopping center. If you are looking for a classic centre commercial (meaning “mall”), the Forum des Les Halles in the 1st arrondissement is it.
The original Les Halles was a wholesale food market in Paris dating back to the 12th century. The market was moved to the Marché de Rungis in the 1960s leaving a rather ugly hole right in the historic heart of Paris.
After several rounds of renovations, the Westfield Forum des Halles is today one of the most visited shopping malls in all of France.
Including everything from Zara to Mango and more, there are plenty of shops for all your shopping needs, protected from the vagaries of Parisian weather.
Much of the Forum des Halles is underground, including the movie theatre which connects directly to the metro and RER trains from all across the Grand Paris region.
13. Les Passages Couverts
If you are looking for some charm and a few hidden gems, you may want to have a stroll through Paris’s Passages Couverts.
There are several across Paris such as Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement, which used to be the original covered malls in the city.
Today Galerie Vivienne houses several charming little shops, cafés, and bookstores. Another covered passage, one of the oldest in Paris, is the Passage des Panoramas which dates back to 1799.
The passages are not easy to find, so equip yourself with a good GPS, or you can take a guided tour. With allocated time for shopping of course.
14. Quatre Temps in La Défense
Now if you are looking for the biggest mall in Paris (and at one point all of Europe), it has to be 4Temps in La Défense. Located in the west end of the city at the end of Metro Line 1, the mall is in Paris’s business district.
This giant shopping mall has over 220 shops, divided in two buildings that are across an esplanade from each other, about 190 on the 4Temps side and 30 on the CNIT side. And this doesn’t count the 40+ shops in the train station underground that connects the two.
There are no luxury boutiques here. Instead you will find favorites like Zara, Nature et Découvertes, H&M, and more. If you have a lot of stuff to buy, you won’t want to miss out.
If you enjoyed that article, you may want to read more about top things to do in Paris. A bientôt!