The Ultimate Paris Shopping Guide (Updated 2020)
Are you looking to do some serious shopping, in between all that sightseeing, during your Paris trip?
Below, we’ve got you covered on all the deets for the best shopping malls in Paris, destinations for the most fashionable finds, and the all-important: tips of navigating the infamous Paris sales, “les soldes.”
In order not to waste precious browsing time, and in case the weather turns bad, you may want to check out some of the malls in Paris.
This “centre commercial” (or, mall), Beaugrenelle, is located down the river from the Eiffel Tower. (Eiffel Tower tour on the brain? We’ve got you covered with tour options.)
Beaugrenelle is host to a hundred or so stores, a cinema, and restaurants with a gorgeous view looking out over the river Seine. The mall’s architecture is contemporary, with clean lines, graphic shapes, and bright colors, making it a very pleasant space in which to shop. Here, you’ll also see an art installation by world-famous sculptor Xavier Veilhan.
📍Address: 12 Rue Linois, 75015
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One of the city’s largest malls can be found in the 13th arrondissement, on the southeast side of the city above the Place d’Italie metro station (lines 5, 6 and 7). There are 130 stores, and the center is open from 10am – 8pm Monday through Saturday (Sunday hours are 11am – 7pm).
📍Address: 30 Avenue d’Italie, 75013
The Passage du Havre is a small but charming mall in the center of Paris, opposite the Saint Lazare train station. It was renovated in the late 1990s when the district started attracting more commerce, thanks to the train station. But it still retains its architectural charm, with arching glass ceilings and beautifully tiled marble walkways. Set over two stories, it’s easy to navigate, and there’s a pretty terrace in the middle – ideal for a quick rest or dropping off tired partners! The arcade is open from 9:30am – 8pm Monday through Wednesday, 9:30am – 8:30pm Thursday and Friday, and Sundays 11am – 7pm.
📍Address: 109 Rue Saint-Lazare, 75009
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At the heart of the business district in northern La Defense, Les Quatre Temps may be technically outside of Paris, but you’re still only ten minutes by metro from the center of the city. If you’re in town for a business trip, it may well be that you find yourself under the tall towers of La Defense. And if you do, why not pick up a few souvenirs for loved ones (or yourself) on your lunch break! Les Quatre Temps holds over 200 stores, and it ranks as the largest mall in Europe, and it’s also France’s most-visited shopping center.
📍Address: 15 Parvis De La Défense, 92092
One of the biggest and most central malls is le Forum des Halles, located underneath the busy streets around Châtelet. If you think Rue de Rivoli is crowded, you’ve not had the experience of Les Halles on a Saturday! With over 125 stores to choose from, you’ll have your pick of the shopping litter here.
📍Address: 101 porte Berger, 75001
Fashionable Finds in Paris
At the above malls, you’ll definitely find fashionable looks to boot. However, for the purist fashionistas, you may want to dig a little deeper to find your Louis Vuittons, Yves Saint Laurents, Lacostes, Chanels, and more.
And while all these designer names might leave your wallet wincing, there’s no reason to fear. Parisian fashion doesn’t just come off the catwalk. There are boutiques to suit all budgets.
In recent years, more and more second-hand/vintage shops have popped up in Paris. They’re called “Friperies” (from “Fripe” = clothes). And you can pick up some real bargains.
Some of the best friperies are found in the Marais quarter. It’s great because they’re open on Sundays too, when the rest of Paris is closed. I recommend Free’p’Star (five locations available throughout Paris). The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 10am – 8pm, and Sundays from 12pm – 8pm. While you’re there, check out Vintage Désir (32 Rue des Rosiers, 75004), another friperie just around the corner. They’re great if you like creating original looks for low prices.
If you like for your clothes to be of good value and ready-to-wear but not already worn, try the infamous Rue de Rivoli in the 1st arrondissement. Here is where you’ll find popular favorites like Zara and Mango.
Le Bon Marché (24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007) is a designer department store with not only your favorite international brands, but also a mouthwatering food floor across the road. Another good, luxury-based department store is the Galeries Lafayette (40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009).
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And you can’t go to Paris without doing some lèche-vitrines (literally “window-licking,” or, what Americans call “window shopping”) on the Rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement. Even if you can’t afford to buy anything, pretend you’re a millionaire and try on scarves at Hermès, or ties at Yves Saint Laurent. You could even treat yourself to a purse from Longchamp (even though you might not have much left to put in it…).
How to Navigate Winter and Summer Sales (“Les Soldes“)
Who doesn’t love a good sale?
If you happen to be traveling in Paris in January or July, consider yourself lucky. During these months, there are country-wide sales on everything from clothing, shoes, furniture – you name it!
The twice-yearly event is so popular that most French people save their shopping for the sales – or soldes – when price tags can drop by 80 percent.
Both winter and summer sales are government-regulated and last for six weeks. Prices are gradually cut over the course of the sale period.
If you’re planning to shop in Paris during les soldes, be prepared to fight to the death for that perfect item. The French claim to be mystified by America’s consumerism during the Black Friday sales, but France’s soldes have been known to get almost as harried. This is especially true in Paris, where the city is already packed for normal day-to-day shopping trips. Here are five essential tips for shopping during les soldes.
- Decide on a strategy
If you wear an average clothing size, or if you’re shopping for something specific, it’s best to hit the sales early in the month to make sure your desired item is still in stock. Otherwise, it will probably be gone in the blink of an eye, and you’ll be left with too-small, too-large, or not-quite-right. However, if you’re not picky about what you buy and are just looking for some fun new items, wait out the sales until the bitter end when the best deals come out to play.
- Leave your bulky coat and purse at home
Shopping in Paris is already stressful due to the constant crowds, but when these numbers are doubled or even tripled, you’ll wish you’d left cumbersome belongings, like bags and big coats, at home. Traveling lightly is the name of the game here.
- Shop at off-peak hours
It’s not recommended to go to the sales on the very first day. Also, try to avoid Saturday afternoons, when all of Paris hits the shops. Weekday afternoons are best, when you’ll even have some stores to yourself.
- Check the quality
In recent years, there has been a trend – especially in Paris – of stocking stores during sale time with cheap imports. Because of all the soldes excitement, you may not realize that your 50-euro sweater is actually a cheap knock-off. How to know the difference? Compare prices between stores, read the labels, and check the quality of the item as best you can.
- Be polite
No matter how overwhelmed you may feel at times, try to keep your cool. Remember, shopping is supposed to be fun!
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