Shopping in Paris
T+L asked Paris’s tastemakers to open their little black books—here are our favorite tips.
Our Paris correspondent breaks down three quintessential looks.
Pour Madame: Cobblestoned streets are hell on heels, making ballerines by Repetto popular. Ditto A.P.C. trench coats, floaty dresses, and a low-key pocketbook by Jérôme Dreyfuss or Zadig & Voltaire—it’s considered vulgar to flash the latest It Bag.
Dash & Dine
Where to forage with the insiders.
Fromagerie Laurent Dubois: This cozy cheese shop is the place to go for raw-milk Comtés, aged in a network of cellars below, some for up to 36 months. Try it before you head home—it’s illegal in the U.S. 47 Ter Blvd. St.-Germain.
Hugo Desnoyer: The 16th-Arrondissement outpost of one of Paris’s most celebrated butchers—which stocks fresh meat, flavorful terrines, and the finest charcuterie— just opened an eight-seat restaurant where Desnoyer himself uncorks bottles of red to be passed around the table. 28 Rue du Docteur Blanche, 16th Arr. $$$
Lafayette Gourmet: A massive market hall with a sharp focus on French producers (Mariage Frères tea; Cluizel chocolate; oils from Château d’Estoublon). 48 Blvd. Haussmann, Ninth Arr.
La Manufacture de Chocolat-Alain Ducasse: At Alain Ducasse’s bean-to-bar chocolate factory, pralines made from Sicilian pistachios, caramel mousse ganaches, and single-origin bars are just a few of the highlights. 40 Rue de la Roquette, 11th Arr.
Les Caves Augé: Since 1850, shoppers have picked their way through the bottles of this wine merchant, today as strong on trendy biodynamic wines as it is on the classics. 116 Blvd. Haussmann, Eighth Arr.
A Resident’s Tour
Much-loved accessories designer Florian Denicourt (his namesake shop is in the Third) shares his Paris picks.
Merci: “Tucked within a design store, the used-book shop and café has a 10,000-strong collection of titles. But honestly, I just come for tea.”
Doursoux: “A vintage army surplus place with great, surprising finds. The last thing I got there was a fur-lined French Navy bomber jacket—the real thing.” 131 Rue Amelot.
Royal Cheese: Cheekily named after the French version of McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. “They have a huge selection of bags and shoes”—notably, Vans: an exotic favorite among the city’s hipsters. 22/24 Rue Tiquetonne.
L’Étincelle: “A divey old tabac with good Pouilly-Fumé by the glass.” 3 Rue St.-Sebastien; 33-1/47-00-73-58.
Surface to Air: “Sneakers and Japanese jeans” are the chosen ones at the mod men’s and women’s shop in St.-Germain.
Boucherie Oberkampf: “I used to live upstairs from this butcher, which local chef Iñaki Aizpitarte always cites as one of the best in Paris. Great charcuterie.” 38 Rue Oberkampf; 33-1/47-00-74-09.
Bonjour Hello (in Paris it is the customer’s job to proactively charm shop staff with the first hello and a smile—wait for them to approach you, and you’re likely to walk away annoyed).
Vous faites quelle taille? Je fais du ____. What size are you? I’m a size ____.
C’est fait en quel tissu/quels couleurs? What fabric is this? What colors does it come in?
Est-ce que vous fermez entre midi et deux? Are you closed from noon to 2 p.m.? (In France, most independently owned boutiques take a lunch break, but not all; department stores and supermarkets are open all day.)
C’est trop grand/petit. It’s too big/small.
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150
For nearly 30 years, L’Eclaireur boutiques have innovatively displayed high-end fashion finds. Now the family-owned company’s fifth—but far from chainlike—boutique is doing double duty not just as a source for women’s clothing, accessories, and objets, but also as a chic watering hole. Enter from the street and check out all the latest arrivals in the gallery-like space with multiple vignettes: a bejeweled shoe and evening bag strewn on a thoroughly modern slipper chair; a taxidermied peacock strutting among feminine dresses from Italian label 6267; and handbags displayed like artwork on lacquered shelves. Then move on to the cucumber martini, vanilla mojito, and berrytini “mixologie” in the bar and lounge next door, which was inspired by the famous Dulciora patisserie and decorated in vintage and specially commissioned Fornasetti drawings.
Formerly of Christian Dior and Hermès, impeccably pedigreed shoe designer, Pierre Hardy, displays his sculptural shoes at a black-lacquered space at Palais Royal Gardens. Resisting the trendiness of other designers, Hardy crafts relentlessly modernist boots, slingbacks, pumps, and wedges in a recognizable design style. Criticized by some for not straying from his typical designs more often, Hardy keeps his emphasis simple: clean lines, exquisite shapes, and jaw-dropping details characterize his footwear lines. In addition to mens and womens shoes, Hardy's distinctive handbag line is also sold.
Surface to Air
Since launching in 2000, this cutting-edge boutique in Le Marais has expanded with a multidisciplinary studio and film division that covers everything from music videos to TV commercials. S2A has a stylish private label and uses up-and-coming French designers to create casual haute pieces for both men and women with a bit of a punk edge, ranging from up market print t-shirts and skinny jeans to fedoras. The social media savvy brand has expanded to New York and Sao Paulo and has even collaborated with rock bands like Kings of Leon, who designed a few pieces for them.