Ah, Paris. I'm sure there are a million guides about things-to-do and places-to-see in Paris. Yes, I saw Eiffel tower, Louvre and Champs Elysees like everyone else - and I thought they were amazing. But being a shopaholic that I am, I also explored one of the shopping districts of this city - and this blog is all about that.
Note that I focused on shopping for myself, so there's nothing about men's clothing or kids wear here.
Non-shopaholics: You've been warned.
Alright, diving right in. I stayed and shopped in Le Marais, one of the trendier locations of the city, and as this wiki explains - home of many fashion houses as well.
Following its rehabilitation, the Marais has become a fashionable district, home to many trendy restaurants, fashion houses, and hip galleries.
Uniqlo (Le Marais) : My first stop of the day was at Uniqlo. Yes, there is a Uniqlo in San Francisco too, but I wanted to see if there was any difference between the stores in SF and Paris (and I'm glad I did). Uniqlo in SF is where you can get great basic stuff - t-shirts, jeggings, and the famous light-weight jackets and vests. But at Uniqlo in Paris - I saw fancy blouses and skirts, pretty scarves and trendy outer-wear (you actually wonder if it's the same store). The Paris store is also much more expensive. Anyway, after looking around a little - I found a trench coat that looked great and fit me very well. I've wanted to buy a trench coat since forever - so I went for it. It did cost me 85 euros - but it has been totally worth it.
Axes Femme: I went to this store after being intrigued by their display. Clothing here definitely feels very vintage-inspired. They had blouses, tops, dresses, skirts, shoes - and everything was lace-y, sometimes with frills as well. They looked delicate, but very pretty and feminine. The colors were rich, but still subtle. I tried a classic blouse here - with lace sleeves that looked very beautiful. For 25 euros, it looked like a steal - so I bought it. I didn't use it myself - but gifted it to a friend, and she loved it.
Art du Basic: This store is one-of-a-kind. They only sell clothes in black and white (basic, as the name states). So if you like color - stay away. But I love black (half my wardrobe is black), so of course I had to take a look. I saw some great shirts, blouses, dresses and skirts here. The material was thick, soft and non-transparent. I tried a black shirt dress that I loved, and to my surprise, the salesgirl told me that this was machine-safe (yayy!). Of course, I bought it (it cost around 50 euros). I have worn it multiple times since, and received dozens of compliments each time. It has not faded at all despite multiple machine washes, and still looks as good as new. Strongly recommend.
Compagnie-De-Provence: Everyone says perfumes are great in Paris, so I stepped into this store to try out a few. The perfumes here were nice (and beyond my budget), so I checked out some body washes and soaps. I got 3 decent sized body washes for 15 euros, and they smelled great - so I bought them. They were fruit flavored - apple, cherry and rose - and having used a couple of them myself - I can definitely recommend them. You'll feel pampered :)
Cheap Monday - Yeah, I know this isn't exactly a Parisian store, but this was where I discovered the brilliance of Swedish design (which made me want to visit Stockholm). Anyway, stepping inside the store, I immediately knew jeans had be one of their specialities - as they focussed the display there. I tried on a few pairs - and trust me, they were incredible. You know a good jeans should not only fit great, but also make you feel great - and Cheap Monday totally made me feel amazing. Their jeans felt like second skin, and it cost me 25 euros (they were on sale). I bought one pair of jeans along with another basic tee that was soft and snuggly. I have worn the jeans like second skin for over 6 months now, and they still make me feel awesome. I regret not buying more.
Barbara Rihl: I was looking around in Galaries Lafayette when suddenly this quirky brand caught my eye. It was unlike any hand-bag brand I'd ever seen before - you usually don't see art and commentary on the bag itself. It appealed to my personality - so I had to buy it. The most expensive purchase I made in Paris was for this hand-bag, cost me over 150 euros. If you're interested, the exact bag I bought is here. Of course, it's my daily-wear bag - and I absolutely love it.
Galaries Lafayette: This store wasn't in Le Marais, but it was one of the biggest stores in Paris - so I went to take a look. It sort of seemed like the Macy's of Paris. Huge store with lots of floors, each floor dedicated to one section. I spent some time window-shopping and looking around various brands, but I finally ended up buying a hand-bag (of Galaries Lafayette brand itself) that was rich blue in color, and very sturdy. I also bought a couple of scarves that have been great use in SF so far.
Honorable mentions: I've only mentioned the stores that I bought stuff from above. I did visit a lot more stores - and thought they were great - but couldn't buy (lack of sizes, budget constraints etc). Here are a few of them that should definitely check-out:
- Paul & Joe Sister: This brand was unique and had very interesting designs. I didn't find clothes my size, but if I did, I would've certainly bought them.
- Zadig and Voltaire: I believe this brand is now famous all across Europe. Very trendy designs.
Last thoughts, Paris is a great city - and one trip is nowhere enough to see it all. But if you're a fashion aficionado - you'll love the variety, design, detail and style over there. Go check it out for yourself!