Paris, the city of light, the city of love, and most importantly for you fashionistas, the city of high fashion. A city where fashion is timeless, elegant, and ever sophisticated and home to some of the most renowned dressmakers and designers the world has known, Paris and “Parisian chic” still defines style.
To pay homage to the crème de la crème, walk up Champs Elysées (genuflecting at the Louis Vuitton flagship store), Avenue Montaigne, and Rue Faubourg St-Honoré (wander through Colette if nothing else).
For more affordable French labels and for street fashion try the Rive Gauche (Left Bank to you Anglo-philistines) specifically Boulevard St. Germain-des-Près and the streets around. And don’t miss Le Bon Marché, the oldest department store in Paris showcasing extremely chic and cutting edge labels!
Le Marais provides the perfect mix of upscale and funky and since you will be roaming little streets dripping with history you can put the time spent here down to educational sightseeing! Rue Vieille du Temple and Rue des Francs Bourgeois are especially interesting. Don’t miss the “new” Marais emerging rue Keller in the 11th arrondissement and the Palais Royal now also home to Marc Jacobs.
Shopping in Paris is a delight – the metro, buses and taxis make it easy to get around, the delightful and ubiquitous cafés are ideal for people watching and resting your tired feet, and there’s always the chance that amour is around the corner! Shopping hours are usually 10 to 7 with more and more shops now opening on Sunday especially in Le Marais (check opening hours of the shops listed though). Sales are usually twice a year in January and July. If you are not a EU resident then you can get a VAT refund – all year round!
What to buy in Paris:
Obviously the renowned French design houses Chanel, LV, YSL, Dior, and Hermès if your purse-strings are not heavily constrained. Lanvin, Chloé, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Azzedine Alaïa, and Sonia Rykiel also shine in the French firmament.
Trendy, edgy, quintessentially French, and still affordable pieces come from brands such as Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno, Erotokritos, APC, Tara Jarmon, Manoush, Maje and Zadig & Voltaire.
There is a mutual love affair between the Japanese and the French so you will see some of the best Japanese brands here with their full range of offerings– Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo, Tsumori Chisato.
Gorgeous shoes the likes you won’t find elsewhere from Christian Louboutin, Pierre Hardy and Roger Vivier – shoe fanatics head straight for Rue Grenelle! A personal favorite are the chic handbags from Jamin Puech.
Finally don’t miss the huge flea markets which are great for vintage clothes and for just getting the Parisian vibe – Les Puces du Saint-Ouen and Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves.