Paris has been the birthplace of fashion trends since, well, forever - and the shopping proves it. Most parisian brands are so big now you can shop their boutiques all over the world - so our guide is devoted to the spots unique to the city of paris, both vintage and new. Have you paid your credit card bill lately?
Paris is synonymous with style - probably the understatement of the year. Every 'arrondissement' (neighborhood) has 1-2 great shopping destinations - and there are 20 arrondissements! The most famous is Avenue Des Champs-Élysées in the 8th (which leads you directly to L'arc de Triomphe). Though full of flagship locations for international chains, it's by no means our idea of the best shopping in Paris. If you're like us - and would rather buy something you can only find in Paris - then you might prefer Le Marais area (3rd / 4th) or Monmartre (in the 18th). If all this neighborhood talk is confusing, check out the Local (Tourist) Google map, with dropped pins of our favorite places to chill, shop, eat, and drink HERE.
Colette - Deserving of the label 'concept store', Colette has been a hub-of-hip in Paris since the late 90's. The giant store is always modern, inspiring, and on the cutting edge of fashion...it also has a gallery space, tech products, pop up shops, and a Water Bar. Yes, a water bar...as in over 100 types of water. What!? Exactly. Don't skip it!
Free 'P' Star - Vintage men's + women's clothing and accessories, three locations in Paris (two are directly across from each other). This shop is packed to the brim with goodies, so be prepared to do some digging through the rails to find the treasure you're looking for. Mostly 70s, 80s and 90s for decent prices.
Kilo Shop - Paying for vintage by the kilo would be be an awful experience if you were rummaging through thrift store items, but you're not - this is real vintage we're talking about. For us Americans not operating on the metric system like the rest of the world: 1 kilo is about 2.2 pounds. It's not as overwhelming as it sounds b/c how well organized it is - items are categorized; colored tags correspond to set prices. Be prepared to spend time in here though; you can get lost in everything from band t-shirts to 90's backpacks to fur coats. There are several locations in Paris, but the flagship one (our favorite) is on Boulevard Saint-Germain (closest to Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Mabillon Metro stations). And yes, you can find Kilo Shop in more countries, including Japan, The Netherlands, and Greece!
Le Bon Marché - the world's second oldest department store, it's also probably the coolest. While the idea of shopping for many different kinds of products in one place was ground breaking in 1852, it's best known today for high end fashion, beauty services, home goods and incredible groceries (yes, food!). It's located on rive gauche (the right bank); go pretend to be parisian and check it out.
M.A.P de Paris / Saint Ouen - the 'marche aux puces', or flea market, of Saint Ouen, which could also translate to the best damn flea market just outside Paris. It's also the largest flea market in the world, with antiques, vintage clothing, jewelry, records, books, random objects...you get the idea. The whole experience can be overwhelming...unless you've mastered the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Los Angeles. For the coolest in clothing, check out the Malik market (on rue Jules Vallès). Bring cash. Oh, and it's only open on Saturday (9a-6p), Sunday (10a-6p) and Monday (10a - 5p) each week. It's easy to get to from central Paris using the Metro - get off at Porte de Clignancourt Metro station (line 4) or Garibaldi Metro station (line 13 - St Denis Université).
Marche Noir - a totally inspiring oasis of french-meets-african vintage fashion. A sharp contrast to the take-a-deep-breath-and-dig vintage you'll find at Free 'P' Star and Kilo Shop, Marche Noir feels deeply hand picked without being uptight or overpriced. There's a great blend of loud prints, worn in leather, and military pieces. If the awesome selection isn't enough, the space itself is so instagrammable you'll be embarrassed at how many photos you want to take. Why, you ask? Case in point: the back corner of the store includes a built out clay and wood wall that feels like a movie set in Tangier, positioned directly next to a pink-on-pink candy colored fitting room, complete with froufrou curtains. It doesn't make sense, but then again it does. We're obsessed. For daily inspo, follow their instagram @marchenoir_paris.
Merci - undeniably awesome. The store is unique because it's design is an experience, and feels a little like walking into a friend's house (if your friend has incredible taste in design and lives in a three floor loft). You enter through a library/cafe, with wall to wall books and small cafe tables. Further inside it opens up to sky-high ceilings and wide open space; different found tables with curated products and feels a little like an artsy living room. Further in on the main floor you'll find men's and women's apparel. Upstairs feels more intimate, with bedroom, bath and stationary ideas. All the way in the basement you'll find kitchen and dining goods, as well as an actual dining area. Easily the most inspiring shop in Paris. Don't forget their full service cafe adjacent to the store - on our list of Eat + Drink Paris. Oh, and if you can't get there for a while you can shop some of their products online here!
The Broken Arm - Just down the street from Marche Noir, The Broken Arm is another shop / cafe combo. You'll find a unique selection of avant-garde designers (translation: cool stuff that costs between $300 and $1000 each, ouch!) like Jaquemus, Comme Des Garçons, Lemaire, Vêtements, Adidas and more. Even if these goodies are out of your price range (a little steep for us!) - the shop is inspiring enough just to browse. On the more affordable side you can find drool-worthy sneakers, leather goods, special magazines and select stationary. After touching all the pretty things, walk next door to their cafe and enjoy Pâtisserie et café (pastry and coffee) and other yumminess.
Sessùn - A distinctly French brand, Sessùn was founded by Emma François in 1998 and inspired by her obsession with travel (a girl after our own heart). There are locations all over Europe, and three in Paris alone - but our favorite is on rue de Charonne in Bastille / Marais area. The apparel collection hangs on minimal rails, surrounded by airy shelves with a few home goods / art objects. The whole boutique feels a little like it was transported from Morocco, if you de-saturated all it's wild color but still kept the rich texture.
There are SO MANY MORE great places to shop in Paris than this very short list...Where are your favorite spots? Help us out and share in the comments below!