Only seven official tourist zones have authorization to open on Sundays: the shopping strip Rue de Rivoli with its series of chain stores; the listed historic square Place des Vosges in the Marais and its restaurants; the preeminent consumer boulevard the Champs-Elysées; Montmartre and its winding streets; Boulevard St.-Germain and its high fashion boutiques and bookshops; the Rue d’Arcole on the Ile de la Cité leading to Notre Dame; and the Viaduc des Arts craft strip near the Gare de Lyon. Apart from that, Paris surprisingly often feels like a sleepy village on Sundays, with most locals gathered around the table at home, sharing the traditional déjeuner dominical and preparing for the week ahead. For travelers from more overtly capitalistic cultures, the Sunday shutdown sometimes comes as a surprise, leaving many simply wandering empty streets and being forced into quiet time. Here are my picks for some of the excellent shopping to be had—even on a Sunday.
Carrousel du Louvre
This chic mini-mall is located below the Louvre and its famous Pyramid. A great solution for rainy Sundays, it features a quality selection of shops including great French chains like L’Occitance, Mariage Frères or Fragonard, but also the city’s first Apple Store, cult Japanese stationary brand Delfonics, and the Parisian concept store Arty Dandy.
The headquarters of the emblematic French luxury brand occupies an entire listed Art Deco building on the Champs-Elysées. The giant shop windows are like mini theatres displaying the finest in French art and beauty. Inside, the luxury “brand experience” spirals up over four floors. P.S. There’s also an art space on the top floor with a separate entrance that is definitely worth a look.
Marché aux Puces de St Ouen
The principal Paris flea market is just over the péripherique in the town of St.-Ouen. It’s a sprawling labyrinth, with everything from antique furniture and decorative pieces, to vintage fashion and plenty of junk. It’s a serious destination for collectors of all sorts, so bargains can be hard to find.
Shakespeare & Company
This mythic bookshop has been a much-loved part of Parisian literary life for generations. George Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia, keeps the memories alive, and the rickety old shop, opposite the Notre Dame, is always overflowing with passionate people and ideas, and stays open until 11 p.m. every day of the week.
Thanx God I’m a VIP
Take home some vintage YSL, Chanel, Lacroix, Rochas, Louboutin, Nina Ricci, Lancôme, Prada, Givenchy. This is one of my favorite vintage stores in Paris, and it’s owned by fashion icon Sylvie Chategnier. Her shop is impeccably displayed by color and category, for men and women, and very well priced—and she even has a clothing alterations service on site. The shoe selection is amazing.