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Paris is famous for its department stores known as “Grands magasins”. Not only are they convenient because you can find everything from clothing to furniture, but some of them, like Galeries Lafayette, with its Art deco style and beautiful glass dome, and Au Bon Marché featuring a facade by Gustave Eiffel, are also fantastic pieces of architecture. Here are the main department stores in Paris:
Consisting of eight floors and covering a city block, Galeries Lafayette is France’s largest department store, showcasing French taste and fashion. The toy department on the 4th floor even has its own McDonalds if you are homesick - and in France, they are just called fries. Galeries Lafayette is also well known for its gourmet food store, and it's huge basement only dedicated to shoes : heaven for women (or nightmare for your bank account...).
40, bld Haussmann – 75009 Paris
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 42 82 34 56
Metro: Chaussée d’Antin Lafayette
Open Monday – Saturday from 9.30am to 7.30pm (until 9pm on Thursdays)
Go to their website, www.galerieslafayette.com, for information about reserving a spot at their free weekly fashion show. Request a reservation by e-mail. There is an option to view the website in English.
Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps are next door to each other. These are two very typical department stores chains you can find in most major cities or Paris. To save time, you can find entire sections of the store devoted to various Parisian boutiques (Agnes B, Kookai, etc.) and designers.
64, bld Haussmann – 75009 Paris
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 42 82 50 00
Metro: Havre Caumartin
Open Monday – Saturday from 9.35am to 7pm (until 10pm on Thursdays)
Au Bon Marché is Paris’ oldest department store. Gustave Eiffel helped design the store’s iron work in the 1880’s. Do not let the name fool you, there is nothing "cheap" or "inexpensive" about Au Bon Marche, however it is an extraordinary shopping experience. From the gourmet Food Hall, La Grande Epicerie,with its huge array of prepared foods , hundreds of cheeses, baked goods and pastries to its wine and champagne selection, it’s like visiting a museum of fine French food.
On the second floor, the cafe, Le Snack Chic, is worth a peek.
At Christmas the store windows feature elaborate mechanical displays attracting large crowds along the street.
22-28, rue de Sèvres - 75007 Paris
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 44 39 80 00
Metro: Sèvres Babylone
Open Monday – Friday 9.30am to 7pm / Saturday 9.30am to 8pm / Thursdays 10am to 10pm
The London furniture and housewares store has a flagship branch near Bon Marche. Here you can purchase, anything from linens to stationary to children's toys.
(3rd and 4th arrondissements) is a fun, pedestrian-friendly area to discover an array of trendy, little shops and boutiques (ranging from the latest "It" designer to up-and-comers to vintage deals). No doubt you will make your own discoveries within its winding, cobblestone streets, but this list will start you off:
1) KESSLORD: High-quality, feminine handbags in styles you will not find in the U.S. Great prices, too!
2) ANNICK B.: Pretty, minimalist silver jewelry. Focus on modern styles. Wide range of prices.
3) TARZITA: Unique, Japanese-inspired designs. Great place if you like high-quality knits or kimonos with a modern edge. Owner is originally from Japan.
4) BARBARA BUI: High-end designer with classy chic, feminine clothing. Has boutiques in the U.S.
5) CREA CONCEPT: Pretty sweaters/blouses in some avant-garde designs.
6) MELLOW YELLOW: A store with fun, feminine and trendy shoes (for teens, 20s AND just anyone who likes flirty, colorful shoes). Some low prices.
7) L’ECLAIREUR: Features many of the current "It" designers (not just French, but international) in one store. High-end.
8) PAULE KA: Charming, very well-tailored clothes. On the high-end, pricier side.
1) VANESSA BRUNO (with branches all over Paris): Beautiful, unique blouses, shoes and lingerie. Very Parisian. Nice tailoring and colours. Soft and feminine, but with an edge. Pricey. They now carry her line in Saks Fifth Avenue (NYC). This is a good place to find that one-of-a-kind piece that you splurge on to energize your wardrobe.
2) PAUL et JOE (6th arr.): French line that specializes in cute and sporty designs. Very popular with young Parisians, especially teen through 20s. Their line is now available in certain stores in NYC.
3) STELLA CADENTE (6th arr.): French line with unique, feminine styles; ranges from well-cut separates to lacy dresses. Medium-pricey.
4) CLAUDIE PIERLOT (6th arr.): Chic but affordable separates you can wear from the office to the party.
5) SANDRO, MAJE, ZADIG & VOLTAIRE (with branches all over Paris): really representative of Parisian fashion, it is really successfull here,prices are quite high (200 € for a dress) but you can find interesting discounts during summer sales.
In Paris, there are few Flea Markets where you can look for everything, from really old furnitures which are more piece of arts nowadays to vintage clothes from the 1960's. It is a really interesting place to go, there are different Flea Market in Paris: Saint-Ouen (North of Paris) Flea Market, Montreuil and Porte de Vanves Flea Market. It is a typical Parisian places, where there are plenty of "bonnes affaires" to do!
One of the good way to go to the flea market and to be sure to find your happinness if you already know what you are looking for, is to do a Paris Flea Market Tour where you will visit those markets with Parisian accustomed to the place.