Paris is known for for great shopping, and it did not disappoint. There are lots of great articles all over the internet about shopping in Paris and which neighborhoods offer the best shopping whether you are looking for high end fashion or home decor in the City of Lights, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite spots and finds throughout the city that might be a little more off the beaten path. With the kids in tow, there definitely wasn’t as much shopping happening as I would have liked, but there were a couple of must-dos on my list.
If you’ve ever been in Paris, or throught all of France during the months of June and July, then you are very familiar with this sign…
This quickly became my favorite French word. 😉 Sales are regulated by the state in France, so there are two periods a year..once in the summer and once just after Christmas where ALL the stores have their sales. Each period lasts for about 6 weeks, and sale prices are gradually slashed as the sale period continues. We were lucky enough to spend most of the month of July in France, so there was plenty of Soldes shopping to be had and tons of great deals across the country. This year’s (2016) sales run from June 22nd-August 2nd, so if you are traveling to France in the next few weeks, you’re in luck!
Of course you have to visit the Champs Elysees, where high end shopping in Paris abounds. Stroll up and down the beautiful street, wait in the long line at Laduree to get your heavenly Macarons, and then head to other areas of the city for serious shopping. 😉
One of my favorite places to walk and shop is in the Marais. There are so many great boutiques…plenty of trendy chain stores too, but it’s the unique boutiques that I enjoy the most. Spend a warm afternoon sitting on a bench in the shade while the kids splash in the fountains of the Place des Vosges, then wander over to Pourchet and pick up a beautiful, truly French handbag for a steal. I purchased a beautiful white leather medium sized bag, original price over $400 US, for 63 Euro, which, with the exchange rate, was about $69 US. WOW!!
Continue on down the Rue des Francs Bourgeois and shop the many boutiques and pop up art shows lining the sidewalks on the way…
Ok, are you ready? This is my favorite tip for shopping in Paris. Everyone LOVES the enamel street signs and address numbers in Paris and is always looking to get their hands on some. After doing research before I left for Paris about the best place to find them, I kept coming up with antique shops and fairs and swap meets as the #1 spot to locate your own enamel number plates. I found once I was actually in the city, that it can be incredibly expensive to purchase them at antique stores because they know everyone wants them! So, my sweet hubby searched for an alternative. He recognized that since they were a common, everyday household thing in Paris, that a likely place to buy them would be a hardware store. Duh! So we found a BHV located in the heart of the Marais and went hunting. At first it seemed a little funny to us that BHV had a hardware department because it was a huge department store with lots of high end clothing and such. It was down in the basement that we discovered their HUGE hardware store with not only a plethora of enamel house numbers and enamel signs in just about any shape and size you can imagine, but also some of the coolest building materials I had ever seen. Oh how I wish I could have taken it all home with me! Check out this selection of enamel signs…
It was two full aisles of enamel! And the prices were WAY less than the other shops I had seen. So, if you are on the hunt for enamel house numbers in Paris, head to the BHV and pick up as many as you can carry home!
Another favorite shop in Paris:
Located just across the river from the Ile. St. Louis where our apartment was, on the Rue Saint-Paul is Au Petit Bonheur La Chance. The most darling and perfectly Parisian antique store you ever did see. (Notice Andy’s enthusiasm about visiting another antique store with me? 😉 ) If you are an antique shopper, then this shop is a must visit…
If it’s inexpensive trinkets you desire, the kids need magnets and keychains, hop on the metro and head to the Montmarte, Paris’s 18th district. Surrounding the base of the hill of the Sacre Coeur is a plethora of small souvenir shops and Tabacs selling all kinds of inexpensive souvenirs. It is a grittier side of Paris and has a lot of personality.
Also in the Montmarte, up at the top of the hill is a lively little village with a great art fair. Don’t just visit the Sacre Coeur and leave, walk around the streets at the stop of the hill and you are certain to stumble upon the Place du Tertre where famous 20th century artists used to roam. Now it’s filled with vendors selling watercolors, portraits and more than enough people are willing to create a caricature of you for a few euro, it’s filled with tourists and pretty commercialized, but it’s still a fun place to walk around and browse and get a feel for days gone by in Paris.
Whether it’s antiques, enamel numbers, handbags or cheap souvenirs you desire, hopefully these tips of shopping in Paris off the beaten path will help you find what you are looking for!
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