Shopping in Paris
The Big Department Stores are behind the Opera on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th district ,metros Opera, Havre Caumartin or RER Auber. The largest are Galeries Lafayette (at number 40) and Printemps (at number 64). The Rue de Rivoli is also a main shopping street with familiar high street names seen anywhere else in Europe. However the unique Samaritaine department store has now closed and so the only original one left is BHV (Bazar of the Hotel de Ville) at metro Hotel de Ville. On the left bank there is only one department store called Bon Marché ,it means ‘cheap’ in French but it isn’t that anymore. Perhaps it is the most elegant of all the department stores and is to be found at metro Sevres Babylone. Next to it is the Grand Epicerie food hall.
Traditionally the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré has been the fashion centre of Paris – a bit like Bond Street in London. The best part starts from Place Beauvau ,close to the official entrance of the President’s Elysée Palace and goes along the faubourg Saint Honoré until the rue Royale passing stores like Hermès for scarves and ties (at number 24)and Gucci. The rue Royale is known for its Crystal shops such as Lalique and the chocolate and macaroon shop Ladurée. Nearby is the Madeleine Church and this square is known for its food shops, high class grocery stores as well as Caviar, Truffle and Cheese shops.
The Avenue of the Opera has lost its sparkle but go down the rue de la Paix(at the top end) towards the Place Vendome and you are in the jewellery shop district including Cartier (on rue de la Paix), Boucheron(26 place Vendome) and Van Kleef and Arpels. Nearby in rue Cambon behind the Ritz Hotel is Chanel at number 31.
Another revamped fashion area is off the Champs Elysées in Avenue Montaigne with famous names such as Prada (number 10) ,Valentino, and Christian Dior at number 30. The Champs Elysées offers a showcase to leading worldwide brand names and is a mix of fast food and flagship stores. Louis Vuitton at 101 is famous for its luggage, it is on the corner of Avenue George V and opposite is Fouquet’s ,the restaurant where Nicholas Sarkozy celebrated with his showbiz friends his election as President of France.(metro George V) Further down is a Nike and a Disney Store and a Virgin Mega store as well as car showrooms and fast food restaurants. Heineken opened a trendy Culture de la Bière at number 65 where you can escape the bustle of the Champs Elysées on the first floor.
The Left Bank is the place to go for the really interesting one off shops. Art and antiques are to be found in rue Jacob and in the rue de Seine as well as the expensive Antique shops along the Quai Malaquais facing the Louvre. The Saint Germain des Prés district is a good starting place to explore the narrow side streets leading to Saint Sulpice, try rue Bonaparte, rue du Four, and the streets surrounding the covered marché Saint Germain. Metros Saint Germain des Prés and Mabillon.
There is some sort of market in most areas of Paris but here are four suggestions of typical Paris market streets that run most of the time. Fruit, Vegetable , cheese shops , boulangeries and patisseries selling mouth watering bread and pastries- Rue Cler in the 7th district (metro Ecole Militaire), rue Lepic in the 18th district at the foot of the hill of Montmartre (see Strollon Walk of Montmartre), it is worth having a drink in Amelie’s Bar ,actually the café is called Les Deux Moulins but was Amelie’s in the film of that name. (Metro Blanche). Rue Mouffetard in the 5th district starting from Place Contrescarpe and going down to the church of Saint Médard (metro Cardinal Lemoine) will plunge you back to Hemingway’s Paris. Finally rue Montorgueil in the 2nd district starting from near Saint Eustache Church on the edge of the former market of Les Halles district (metro Les Halles or Etienne Marcel) look for Stohrer’s where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was presented with a special cake, or the interior of L’Escargot , this street specializes in Oysters around Christmas time – as well as coquilles saint Jacques,sole,bar,salmon,lobster, also chicken and turkeys, foie gras,champagne,caviar and truffles.
The Best known Marché aux Puces is between the Portes de Clignancourt and St Ouen on Saturdays and Sundays. Metro Porte de Clignancourt.It is split into different sections of varying quality. Try Marché Paul Bert and Jules Vallès, Marché des Rosiers and Serpette for Antiques/Bric à Brac . Marché Biron is up market and opposite it is Marché Dauphine. Tip: The Porte de Vanves Flea Market in the south of Paris is smaller and less well known but it is not as crowded and overwhelming in Avenue Marc Sangnier and Avenue G. Lafenestre. (Metro Porte de Vanves).