My 9 favorite places in Paris to shop
When you read articles about where to shop in Paris, they tend to focus on the admittedly fabulous fashion available in the city or other luxury treats. Instead, having made Paris my home for 6 years, I want to offer you a selection of shops or markets that tick all the boxes for your daily needs and desires in Paris.
I’ve listed some of my favorite places to go for everything from daily fresh food to gorgeous flowers and gifts and souvenirs to books and special treats. Some of the store names you might recognize, others you’ll never come across if you’re just passing through a brief interlude. All are special to me and I hope will inspire you to shop or browse daily necessities as well as decadent little treats.
The list will take you through several boroughs, mentioned right behind the individual place names, and I’ve also added the nearest metro station.
Enjoy shopping like a local in Paris.
1. Market Rue Poncelet, 17andMetro Ternes
There are so many markets in Paris that it is difficult to commit to a favourite, but this one on Rue Poncelet is small, very local and a short walk from my house, so it’s an obvious favourite. No, it does not have the length of the Marché de Grenelle which runs under line 6 of the metro, nor the variety of the Marché d’Aligre in the 12and, but what it does have is a purely local clientele and some great cafes to sit and watch what’s going on. You’ll see normally restless Parisians queuing patiently for their Sunday roast chicken and taking forever to discuss the ripeness of a particular cheese. Then they all grab their baguette, chicken and fresh flowers, and sit down at Café Dada at the corner of rue Poncelet and avenue des Terne for a glass of chilled wine. This is pure Paris, and a great local, non-touristy experience.
Pro Tip: All markets in France are open daily from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., but are closed on Mondays.
2. La Grande Epicerie, 7andMetro Sèvre-Balylone
Even with all the great markets and multicultural shops around Paris, sometimes you just want a treat that you remember from home or found while traveling abroad. The Great Grocery within the stylish Le Bon Marché department store is a feast for all the senses and not only takes food shopping to another level with its stunning displays, but it also offers food items from around the world that you can’t find anywhere else. -not be in your local Monoprix. I envy anyone who can afford to do their weekly shopping in this place, because everything is extremely expensive, but you pay for the places and the atmosphere and the simple pleasure of being there, as much as the very high quality of the products.
Pro Tip: Grab a homemade sandwich from the cooler section and enjoy it in the charming little Jardin Catherine-Labouré just down the street.
3. Deschamps, 17andMetro Pereire
As with the markets, florists can be found in every corner of Paris. So why this one? The fieldsthe name a combination of from and champ, or “des champs”, is the florist who supported me during the pandemic confinement in Paris with his endless colors, his cheerfulness and his aromatic flowers. I can’t tell you how much money I spent there on peonies and later sunflowers alone. I used to go at least once a week to stock up on my apartment, and its must-shop status tells you something about the French joy of living.
Pro Tip: Another magnificent boutique, more widely distributed throughout Paris, is the chain In the name of the Rose which always sprinkles its displays with beautiful rose petals.
4. Center Pompidou Bookstore, 4andMetro Rambuteau
When it comes to finding quirky gifts or the perfect table art books, museum shops are hard to beat. Within the Center Pompidou are two stores which cover all your needs, and you don’t even have to buy a ticket for any of the exhibits – although that would be a great idea while you’re there. As you enter, to your left is the museum shop with quirky but not at all mundane items ranging from notebooks to fridge magnets, while to the right is a cavernous bookshop specializing in art, architecture and design books covering artists around the world. You can browse indefinitely.
Pro Tip: Head upstairs for a coffee or, even better, lunch at George, which offers the best views of all of Paris. Again, no ticket is necessary.
5. Abbey Library, 5andMetro Saint-Michel
I’m an avid reader, to say the least. In fact, my husband keeps lamenting the fact that he says 80% of our possessions are books. This can be an expensive habit when you live abroad, and foreign language books cost more than local language tomes. So I had the chance to discover the English-speaking second-hand bookstore Abbey Books, run by Canadian Brian Spence, whose shop is full of everything you could want to read. And it offers you a coffee while you browse.
Pro Tip: Abbey Bookstore is a block or two behind the fabulous Shakespeare & Co., which is so overrun with tourists that you have to wait in line to get in. So if you’re not after sightseeing, but rather something to read, this is a much easier and cheaper option.
6. Porte De Vanves Flea Market, 14andMetro Vanves
Everyone knows the Puces de St-Ouen at Porte de Clignancourt, and it’s a big flea market. Only it’s not really a flea market. While it’s fun to wander around, the chances of finding a bargain are slim to impossible. Instead, head south to the opposite end of Paris to the market at Gate of Vanves. Every Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., vendors of all kinds line up on Avenue Marc Sangier and sell you everything from furniture to antique dolls, from Hermès scarves to mahjong sets. There are no professional setups here, just tabletops, and you can bargain as you please. I dare you to leave with nothing. I haven’t succeeded once.
Pro Tip: A few hundred meters further, at Parc George Brassens, you will not only find a vineyard, but also the best antique book and map market in Paris.
7. Theater cabin, 17andMetro Ternes
Trying to find theater or ballet, or even any other show tickets in Paris when you haven’t planned ahead, can be nearly impossible. But there is hope. For short notice – and often discounted – last-minute tickets, go to Kiosk Theater Ternes. This tiny kiosk, open Tuesday to Saturday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., does not guarantee you tickets, but knows the day’s cancellations and considerably increases your chances.
Pro Tip: There is another stand in Madeleine, which might be more convenient if you are staying centrally.
8. To Fred’s Marvelous, 16andLa Muette metro station
Do you like sweet things? So look no further than To the Wonderful in the beautiful district of Passy. French for ‘wonderful’, this tiny pastry chef is adorned with a sparkling chandelier and a simple worktop where bakers create sweets, plus a small display stand. He doesn’t need anything else, because the screen drains as quickly, if not faster, than they can replenish it. Imagine a cloud covered in soft, fluffy meringue, a subtle hint of extra flavor, and a whiff of deliciousness that makes you roll your eyes, gasp in delight, and head straight back for more. Really, forget the macaroons or the profiteroles; it’s a delight, and few non-locals know it.
Pro Tip: It’s a chain, and you can find a few other stores around Paris and France, but be sure to wander around Passy with its markets and wonderful boutiques, as well as the superb Marmottan Monet Museum nearby.
9. Lavrout, 2n/aMetro Four September
I don’t know about you, but I love stationery and art supplies. And I don’t even do art. But I could look at colored pencils, nib brushes, beautiful notebooks, and colored ink pen ink forever. Add some nice greeting cards, office utensils, interesting paper and leather goods, and lavrut in the magnificent Choiseul covered passage in the heart of Paris is perfect for a busy afternoon. This store is just a pleasure to be in, so whenever I can find an excuse, I’m in the lovely passage and in this store, just browsing. Or so I tell myself.
Pro Tip: For another quirky shop in another beautiful passage, go to To Material Collections, in the Passage des Panoramas. If you are a collector at heart, you will find countless sheets and albums for all kinds of collections. I have an album for the metal discs on the champagne corks, called caps, from there. Very useful indeed.
I could go on endlessly telling you about my favorite little shopping addresses in Paris. Alas, I’m running out of space. My excuses. Good shopping !
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