Paris Shopping Advice from the Gurus
"Paris is not only an expensive city, but shopping is different here. You really do need to know about 'shopping etiquette' in order to get good service. And, the best stores are often hidden in outlying neighborhoods."
- Janet Feldman in her book “Best Buys and Bargains in Paris.”
Shopping in Paris
As we mentioned earlier, you can generalise about where to find Paris shops. Looking for Haute Couture? Check out the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and avenue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement. Interested in leather? Get the best shoes, bags, and leather goods on rue du Cherche-Midi and rue de Grenelle in the 6th. Cutting-edge fashion to bleed your wallet dry? You need to be seen in the shops on rue Etienne Marcel and Place des Victoires bordering the 1st and 2nd arrondissements.
Advice from a Shopping Guru
However, although you can have a lot of fun wandering around the shops, the truth is a helping hand from someone who knows Paris can make all the difference between a frustrating shopping expedition and a successful and rewarding one.
As always, a bit of research upfront can help, but bear in mind that information can get out of date.
Jeanne Feldman, Rachel Kaplan and Rebecca Magniant are informed and passionate shoppers who know Paris well, as well as having many other talents.
Jeanne Feldman is the author of Best Buys and Bargains in Paris shopping guide and conducts private and group Discovery Shopping Tours of Paris. Here are extracts from her book:
A look at flea markets
A look at French bread
A look at resale designer clothing shops
A look at Paris produce markets
A look at Parisian department stores
and a tip on queues (or lack of them): Standing in line (or not) in France
She also has some ideas on gifts:
Gift Ideas from Paris
Three Unique Gift Stores in Paris
Rachel Kaplan is the author of the Best Buys to French Chic in Paris shopping guide which is updated regularly from Paris (you can buy it in Paris and online from her French publisher, including an ebook version, this is a link to her new site). She also runs private guided tours (French Links Tours).
Here are two articles which give you a taster of the invaluable information she shares with her readers:
Why Paris Still Remains My Favorite Shopping Destination (scroll down to the next article, she forgot to provide a direct link!)
Shopping Like The French: How to Get The Best Deals in Paris
As opposed to some other Paris shopping guides sold on Amazon (read the reviews) and elsewhere which seem to be mainly inaccurate, anecdotal ego-trips, these are the goods (although you still need to verify details when you get there as with any guide).
Rebecca Magniant runs Chic Shopping Paris, organizing escorted shopping tours for a maximum of five persons. Most tours start at €100 per person for the afternoon with an estimated duration is 4 to 4 ½ hours (refreshments during café or lunch breaks are not included.) Custom Tours start at €300 for a half day tour. They've also started doing personalized self-guided tours - a half day personalized self-guided tour starts at 100 euros, rates vary according to the complexity of the tour required and the length.
"We offer secret addresses & shopping tips, bilingual personal guides - the ins-&-outs that only a good Parisian friend would share with you. Our expert bilingual guides do not work on commission & can therefore offer you objective, unbiased advice. Our goal is to help you use your time in Paris wisely, whether it's your first time here or your fifth."
Next page : Paris Shopping: The Flea Market