Sadly, globalization has hit Paris like everywhere else, so every year increasing numbers of charming, unique and independent boutiques are replaced by chains and big box stores. However, there are still many delightful finds throughout the city and Paris offers a diverse range of shopping opportunities and experiences that are explored below.
A shopping excursion wouldn’t be complete without stepping inside one of the world’s most celebrated fashion department stores. However, beware; the main ones, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are HUGE, comprise several theme buildings and are spread out over a number of large blocks. They are also packed with busloads of organized shopping groups, tourists and individual shoppers, so plan your visit for first thing in the morning if you can and avoid going there on a Saturday as this is the busiest day of the week. Galeries Lafayette is very warm inside as there is no air-conditioning or temperature control.
Strolling through one of the centuries-old stone and covered passageways that were the first shopping malls of the bourgeois is a must! A gorgeous passage not to miss is Galerie Vivienne, and the covered arcades at Place des Vosges and Palais-Royal are filled with delightful, exclusive offerings.
Contrary to popular belief, it is very possible to find fantastic bargains at a number of boutiques, stands and shops found in the following places: temporary street markets, pedestrian market streets, flea markets, discount department stores, outlet malls, consignment shops, overstock, designer resale and clearance outlets (known by the French terms stock, dégriffé and depot vente), and even in shops at Metro and RER stations.
Explore some of the delightful, cobblestoned pedestrian streets filled with restaurants, cafés, boutiques and shops. The area around St-Eustache and Les Halles is filled with connecting pedestrian streets that lead all the way to the Marais. Rue Montorgueil right near St-Eustache is a favorite street as is Rue Mouffetard in the 5th and the pedestrian streets in St-Germain and Latin Quarter.
Some fabulous shopping streets are situated within distinctly Parisian neighborhoods and include Avenue des Ternes (17th), Rue du Commerce (15th) and Rue de Passy (16th). Also, make sure to explore Rue des Abbesses and surrounding streets in Montmartre (18th).
Who doesn’t love a market? Temporary markets appear on different days and times throughout Paris and focus on a variety of goods and food. For fashion hunting, many people love the Richard Lenoir and Ledru-Rollin markets near Bastille and the market at La Motte-Picquet Grenelle, under the same name metro tracks in the 15th. There are interesting food options at these markets as well.
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