Timing is Everything
The shopping – isn’t that what everyone truly wants to hear about? What did you buy? Were there any exceptional deals? My timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as I arrived in Paris at the start of the summer sales, or ‘soldes’ as they say. I had no idea; you’ve got to love that! Everything you’ve read or heard is true: Paris is the ultimate shopping Mecca, not for the faint of heart. The variety of department stores, boutiques, and merchandise is mind-boggling enough to bring a grown woman to tears. Trust me, I was weeping at the things I couldn’t buy if only I had the means.
How can I pick just one?
It’s crazy to say, but I don’t think it’s possible (for me) to write about one favourite boutique or shop. I know fashion bloggers are experts at this. There are too many beautiful things. How does one pick a favourite? Truth be known, shopping is everywhere, literally! I lived around the corner from Rue Dominique, a small, unsuspecting street filled with shops and tempting merchandise, making it hard to resist buying something unnecessary. I would take a daily stroll here and always found something interesting to admire.
Strolling the Champs Elysees
It’s a half-hour walk from my apartment to the Champs Elysees via Ave Montaigne, which has the largest selection of luxury brands, including the very posh Plaza Athenee hotel (yes, the same place I had that costly cocktail). There wasn’t anything affordable for me to purchase, but browsing was lovely. I would stroll the Champs Elysee but pass on the shopping. This is not the place for one-of-a-kind fashion finds. The Arc de Triomphe is worth the trip, and I’m always surprised by its size. Take a selfie and head toward Place de la Concorde. If you squint, you can see the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which sits before the Louvre. I love how these monuments line up.
Prioritizing Monuments and Shopping
When in Paris, it’s crucial to plan your days carefully and decide which arrondissements you want to visit first. I prioritize the monuments or sites I wish to see daily. After experiencing the rich history, it’s time to explore the endless array of shops.
I love the Marais, which has transformed over the years. Boho chic comes to mind. This will be the place if you’re looking for new and up-and-coming designers. Very trendy and still home to a Jewish community, you’ll find delicious food you must try. After all, it’s still considered shopping.
Not satisfied yet? Looking for more of a high-end shopping experience? Then definitely head to Rue Faubourg, which turns into Rue Saint Honore, and you’ll find a quaint little department store called Hermes 😉 Expect to drop a lot of euros; it’s not cheap, and you may need to sharpen your elbows to get service. It’s busy here! Don’t let that deter you; the staff are friendly and more than happy to assist you.
J’adore Saint-Germain-de-Prés. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so yes, it involves more walking, but hey, it’s shopping while walking. With so many restaurants, you could conclude your day here and be thoroughly satisfied with this neighbourhood’s numerous choices. You must check out the recently renovated Le Bon Marché. Don’t miss the enormous food hall next door; there are so many tempting goodies to take home in your suitcase.
I cannot emphasize enough: give yourself time and use the metro. It’s your friend, super convenient, and most stops are designed to be near some tourist destination or shopping area…there is a method to their madness.
What if you only have one or two days? I recommend visiting one of the four larger department stores because they offer a quick fix and one-stop shopping. These stores are Galleries Lafayette, Printemps (they are located next door to each other, and it’s worth the visit to admire the beautiful architecture), Le BHV Marais (similar to a hip Hudson’s Bay), and the newly renovated Le Bon Marché (no affiliation with the U.S. chain). These stores are like shopping on steroids and will undoubtedly satisfy your cravings. They showcase every French and international designer, and their selections are endless. Don’t waste your time on U.S. brands; they tend to be more expensive, and after all, you’re in Paris!
A full day of shopping is always an exciting adventure. Shop until you drop, immerse yourself in the streets, and savour the sights. Paris is just as enchanting as you would imagine it to be. Consider all the fashion icons who have strolled along these same streets. They, too, were filled with excitement, eagerly anticipating what lay around the next corner.