SHOPPING IN PARIS
Like its food, nightlife, and conversation, Paris’s fashion is an art. From the wild wear near r. Etienne-Marcel to the boutiques of the Marais to the upscale shops of St-Germain-des-Pres, everything Paris touches turns to gold. The great soldes (sales) of the year begin after New Year’s and at the very end of June, with the best prices at the beginning of February and the end of July. And if at any time of year you see the word braderie (clearance sale) in a store window, march in without hesitation.
ETIENNE-MARCEL AND LES HALLES (1ER AND 2EME). Fabrics here are cheaper, and the style is younger, especially around me Tiquetonne. A stroll down rue Etienne-Marcel will delight shoe fetishists. Forum Les Hailes and the surrounding streets offer everything you’ll need for an urban warrior aesthetic. (M: Les Halles).
88 Le Shop, 3 r. d’Argout, 2eme ( 01 40 28 95 94). M: Etienne-Marcel. 2 levels, 1200 sq. m and 24 cornersâ of sleek Asian-inspired club wear plus a live DJ. Shirts and pants start at around â‚¬50. Open M l-7pm, Tu-Sa llam-7pm. AmExMCV. Espace Kiliwatch, 64 r. Tiquetonne, 2eme (01 42 21 17 37). M: Etienne-Marcel. One of the most popular, fun shops in Paris. Pre-owned (fripe) shirts from â‚¬19, pants from â‚¬30. New, pricier clothes, books, furnishings, and other funky stuff also for sale. MCV.
Shopping in the Marais is a complete aesthetic experience: boutiques of all colors and flavors pop out along medieval streets and among welcoming, tree-shaded cafes (M: St-Paul or Hotel-de-Ville). What the Marais does best is independent designer shops selling truly unique creations, as well as vintage stores that line rue Vieille-du-Temple, rue de Sevigne, rue Roi de Sicile and rue des Rosiers. The best selection of affordable-chic menswear in Paris can be found here, especially along rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, in stores catering to a largely gay clientele but anyone who wants to absorb a bit of Euro-style should check them out. Most stores are open on Sundays. (M: St-Paul or Hotel de Ville.)
E3 Culotte, 7 r. Malher, 4eme (01 42 71 58 89). M: St-Paul. Japanese designs ranging from ripped printed tees to 40s-style dresses, all handmade. Funky vintage jewelry. Most items under â‚¬100. Open Su l-7pm, Tu-Sa llam-7pm. AmExMCV.
Karine Dupont Boutique, 22 r. de Poitou, 3eme (01 40 27 84 94). M: St-Sebastien Froissart. From unassuming, waterproof tent material, Karine Dupont makes ingenious bags in every shape imaginable. Most bags â‚¬40-80. Open M-Sa noon-7:30pm. MCV.
Boy’z Bazaar, 5 r. Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, 4eme (01 42 71 94 00). M: Hotel-de-Ville. A large selection of all that’s elegant and trendy in casual menswear from Energie to Paul Smith. Jeans â‚¬100-200. T-shirts â‚¬40-50. Athletic-wear branch down the street at no. 38. Open M-Th noon-9pm, F-Sa noon-midnight, and Su 2-8pm. AmExMCV.
Les Antiquaires de ia Mode, llr. d’Ormesson, 4eme (01 42 78 05 45). M: St-Paul. Vintage-trendy boutique offering reincarnated Jackie O.-style dresses (â‚¬100), Chanel suits (â‚¬150), and the latest line of Playboy Bunny handbags (â‚¬60-70). Open Su and Th-Sa 2-7:30pm. MCV.
LATIN QUARTER AND ST-GERMAIN-DES-PRES (5EME AND 6EME). While you’ll find plenty of chain clothing and shoe stores around boulevard St-Michel and numerous little boutiques selling chic scarves and jewelry, bookstores of all kinds are where the 5eme really stands out. Post-intellectual, materialistic St-Germain-des-Pres, meanwhile, particularly the triangle bordered by boulevard St-Germain, rue St-Sulpice, and rue des Sts-Peres, is saturated with high-bud-get names.
iS Moloko, 53 r. du Cherche-Midi, 6eme (01 45 48 46 79). M: Sevres-Babylone, St-Sulpice, or Rennes. Simple, Asian-inspired women’s clothing with creative twists. Dresses from â‚¬120. Open Tu-Sa llam-lpm and 2-7pm. Closed Aug. MCV.
Petit Bateau, 26 r. Vavin, 6eme (01 55 42 02 53). M: Vavin or Notre-Dame-des-Champs. Other locations throughout the city. A children’s store, but the stylish Parisian mothers are not there for their kids the size for age 16 is about the same as an American 6; sizes go up to age 18. Tees and tanks â‚¬6.50. Open Aug. M 2-7pm, T-Sa 10am-7pm; Sept.-July M-Sa 10am-7pm. AmExMCV.
CHAMPS-ELYSEES AREA (8EME). The 8eme is not exactly wallet-friendly, but it is perfect for a day of window shopping. Take a break from the exhausting Champs-Elysees and walk along avenue Montaigne to admire the great couture houses; their collections change every season, but are always innovative, gorgeous, and jaw-droppingly expensive and the window displays won’t disappoint. Check out Chanel at no. 42, Christian Dior at no. 30, Emanuel Ungaro at no. 2, and Nina Ricci at no. 39. Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore is home to Lanvin at no. 22, Jean-Paul Gaultier at no. 30, and other boutiques. Around the Madeleine, you’ll find Burberry and some big American names. Back on the Champs-Elysees, you can purchase everything from CDs (check out the Virgin Megastore, open until midnight) to perfumes to chocolates, usually until a much later hour than in the rest of Paris. Sale season on the Champs is a great time to pillage the collections and come home with money to spare. (M: Charles de Gaulle-Etoile or Franklin D. Roosevelt).
MONTMARTRE (18EME). The 18eme has some of the city’s most eclectic shopping: Stroll around rue de Lavieuville (don’t miss Spree at no. 16; 0142 23 4140) for funky independent designer wares. In the Goutte d’Or area, meanwhile, cheap fabric and clothing stores abound. (M: Abbesses).
OUTLET STORES. Stock is French for outlet store, with big name clothes for less often because they have small imperfections or are from last season. Many are on r. d’Alesia in the I4eme (M: Alesia), including Cacharel Stock, no. 114 ( 0145 42 53 04; open M-Sa 10am-7pm; AmExMCV); Stock Chevignon, no. 122 (01 45 43 40 25; open M-Sa 10am-7pm; AmExMCV); S.R. Store (Sonia Rykiel) at no. 110-112 and no. 64 (01 43 95 06 13; open Tu llam-7pm, W-Sa 10am-7pm; MCV); Stock Patrick Gerard, no. 113 (01 40 44 07 40). A large Stock Kookai bustles at 82 r. Rea-mur, 2eme (01 45 08 93 69; open M ll:30am-7:30pm, Tu-Sa 10:30am-7pm); Apara Stock sits at 16 r. Etienne Marcel (01 40 26 70 04); and Haut-de-Gomme Stock, with names like Armani, Khanh, and Dolce & Gabbana, has two locations, at 9 r. Scribe, 9eme (M: Opera 0140 07 10 20; open M-Sa 10am-7pm) and 190 r. de Rivoli, ler (M: Louvre-Rivoli01 42 96 97 47; open daily llam-7pm).
Paris overflows with high-quality bookstores. The 5eme and 6eme are particularly bookish: Interesting shops line every large street in the Latin Quarter, not to mention the endless stalls (bouquinistes) along the quais of the Seine. Some specialty bookshops serve as community centers, too. English bookshops like Shakespeare & Co. (below) and The Village Voice, 6 r. Princesse, 6eme, have bulletin boards for posting events and housing notices. (M: Mabillon. 0146 33 36 47. Open M 2-8pm, Tu-Sa 10am-8pm, Su 2-7pm; Aug. closed Su.) Les Mots a la Bouche, 6 r. Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4eme, carries literature, essays, and art relating to homosexuality, and has info for gays and lesbians. (M: Hotel-de-Ville. a 01 42 78 88 30; www.mots-bouche.com. Open M-Sa llam-llpm and Su 2-8pm.) L’Harmattan. 21b r. des Ecoies, 5eme, can direct you to Caribbean, Maghrebin, and West African resources. ( 01 46 34 13 71. M: Cluny la Sorbonne. Open M-Sa 10am-12:30pm and l:30-7pm. MCV.)
The large, English-language W.H. Smith, 248 r. de Rivoli, ler, has many scholarly works and magazines. The Sunday New York Times is available Monday after 2pm. (M: Concorde. 01 44 77 88 99. Open M-Sa 9am-7:30pm, Su l-7:30pm. AmEx MCV.) Brentano’s, 37 av. de l’Opera, 2erne, is an American and French bookstore with an extensive selection of English literature. ( 01 42 61 52 50. M: Opera. Open M-Sa 10am-7:30pm. AmExMCV.) Shakespeare & Co. 37 r. de la Bucherie, 5eme, across the Seine from Notre Dame, is run by bon vivant George Whitman. Walt’s grandson sells a quirky and wide selection of new and used books, including bargains (â‚¬2.50) in bins outside the shop. (M: St-Michel. Open daily noon-midnight.)
MARCHE AUX PUCES DE ST-0UEN. This is the granddaddy of all flea markets. The Puces de St-Ouen began in the Middle Ages, when merchants resold the cast-off clothing of aristocrats (crawling with its namesake insects) to peasant-folk. Today it’s an overwhelming smorgasbord of stuff. It opens early and shuts down late, and serious hunters should allow themselves the better part of a day in order to cover significant ground, although the market tends to be least crowded before noon. (Located in St-Ouen, a town just north of the 18feme. M: PorteJeClignancourt. Open Sa-M 7am-7:30pm; most vendors only open M 9am-â‚¬pm; many of the official stalls close early, but renegade vendors may open at 5am and close at 9pm.)
Au Printemps, 64 bd. Haussmann, 9feme (01 42 82 50 00). M: Chaussee d’Antin-Lafayette or Havre-Caumartin. Also at 30 pi. d’ltalie, 13feme (01 40 78 17 17), M: Place d’ltalie; and 21-25 cours de Vincennes, 20feme (01 43 71 12 41), M: Porte de Vincennes. One of the two biggies in the Parisian department store scene. Oo-la-la your way through endless couture. Haussmann open M-W and F-Sa 9:35am-7pm, Th 9:35am-10pm. Other locations open M-Sa 10am-8pm. AmExMCV.
Galeries Lafayette, 40 bd. Haussmann, 9feme (01 42 82 34 56). M: Chaussee d’Antin. Also at 22 r. du Depart, 14feme ( 01 45 38 52 87), M: Montparnasse. Chaotic (the equivalent of Paris’s entire population visits here each month), but carries it all. Haussmann open M-W and F-Sa 9:30am-7:30pm, Th 9:30-9pm; Montparnasse open M-Sa 9:45am-7:30pm. AmExMCV.
Samaritaine, 67 r. de Rivoli, on the quai du Louvre, ler (01 40 41 20 20). M: Pont Neuf, Chatelet-Les Hailes, or Louvre-Rivoli. 4 large, historic Art Deco buildings between r. de Rivoli and the Seine, connected by tunnels and bridges. The rooftop observation deck provides one of the best views of the city; take the elevator to the 9th floor and climb the spiral staircase. Open M-W and F-Sa 9:30am-7pm, Th 9:30am-10pm. AmExMCV.
Au Bon Marche, 22 r. de Sevres, 7feme (01 44 39 80 00). M: Sevres-Babylone. Paris’s oldest department store, Bon Marche has it all, from scarves to smoking accessories and designer clothes to home furnishings. Open M-W and F 9:30am-7pm, Th 10am-9pm, Sa 9:30am-8pm. AmExMCV.