Ooh la la! The 7 best streets to shop in Paris

As the foremost fashion capital of the globe, the Parisian shopping experience offers everything from luxe designer labels to sprawling chainstores. If you’re searching for authentic French labels, or eccentric designer stores, you can take your pick of those too.

Below is the definitive list of where to part with those hard-earned euros:

1.      Rue de Rivoli

Why Go:

From boutique bargains to high-end marques, Rue de Rivoli delivers a great shopping experience. The street’s store directory reads like a who’s who of international brands, including Zara, H&M, Gap and Mango to name a few. There’s a huge BHV department store opposite the city’s Hotel de Ville, and numerous must-see landmarks are located just off this major street, including Museé du Louvre and the Tuilleries Garden.

The old signage of the renowned La Samarataine store can still be seen, paying homage to the Paris of yesteryear.

The dessert mecca, House of Angelina, can also be found on this street – boasting what may be Paris’ best hot chocolate.

What you should know:

There are several tourist shops around the area near the Louvre, selling the usual trinkets and T-shirts, which can become very busy on the weekends.

There is a shortage of dining choices on Rue de Rivoli itself but restaurants and cafés can be found in the close vicinity.

Best Shopping Paris Rivoli

2.      Boulevard Haussmann

Why Go:

For the Galeries Lafayette of course! The upmarket department store located on Boulevard Hausmann first opened its doors in 1895, and has since become a Parisian institute.

The store comprises 10 floors, and boasts a beautiful glass dome and a central staircase in stunning Art Noveau design.  Throngs of locals and tourists alike descend on the store for Paris’ bi-annual sales (les soldes), where goods are marked up to 70% off.

What you should know:

In December, the Galeries Lafayette Christmas decorations become a must-see attraction, with the highlight being the giant Christmas tree, located under the glass and steel dome.

Best Shopping Paris Hausmann

3.      Rue St Honoré

Why Go:

Rue St Honoré with its sophisticated extension, Rue Faubourg St Honoré, is one of the most upmarket shopping streets of Paris. Dedicated almost exclusively to luxury fashion design houses, from the likes of Hermes, Lanvin, Gucci, YSL and Michael Kors; it promises an immense concentration of ‘chic’ along its narrow passages. Just a few steps away is the famous square of Place Vendome with yet more of the top names in the fashion industry. For the über -trendy, there’s Colette; a lifestyle concept store which sells everything from clothing to gadgets. If you’re still not convinced on just how posh this street actually is, it’s worth noting that the home of the French president, the Élysée Palace, can also be found on Rue Faubourg St Honoré.

What you should know:

Watch out for well-dressed thieves in this area! There have been numerous incidents where well-heeled tourists, oozing the scent of money, have been robbed of their bags, cameras, or credit cards on this strip.

Best Shopping Paris saint honore

4.      Avenue Montaigne

Why go:

The only street to rival Rue Faubourg St Honoré in terms of prominence, luxury and prestige; the Grande Dame of Parisian streets is the Avenue Montaigne. Once upon a time it was called the ‘Widows Lane’ as French widows would gather there in mourning. As I stroll along the quiet, understated street, I too, find myself mourning; my card’s spending limit, that is!

From deluxe fashion labels to celebrated jewelers, the regal list includes the likes of Chanel, Valentino, Gucci, Christian Lacroix, Fendi, Harry Winston and Bulgari.

The majestic Plaza Athénée hotel is also located on this street, adding to the glitz and glamour already found in spades.

Best Shopping Paris Montaigne

What you should know:

The celebrity fly-trap of a restaurant, L’Avenue, is located on Avenue Montaigne. But be warned; some reviewers swear that the beautiful waitresses are a feast on the eyes whilst the food itself, leaves a lot to be desired.

5.       Avenue des ChampsÉlysées

 Why Go:

Given the unambiguous honor of being the world’s most beautiful street, the ChampsÉlysées is certainly one of the most famous. Marked at its beginning by the Obelisk of Luxor (Concorde), and lined throughout by bosquets of square-trimmed trees, the avenue concludes at the Arc de Triomphe. The City of Paris tried desperately to prevent the ‘banalisation’ of the street, by attempting to prevent global chain stores from setting up shop, but nowadays the likes of Zara, H&M, Gap and Benetton can be found neighboring designer labels such as Guerlain, Hugo Boss, Lancel and Cartier. The highlight of a shopping expedition on this famed street is a visit to the flagship Louis Vuitton store at 101 Avenue des ChampsÉlysées. The shop’s window décor, which changes regularly, is often a treat to view in itself. The long line of people waiting for a chance to spend hundreds of euros; is another.

 What you should know:

The street is exceptionally crowded, regardless of the season. The cafés along the center of the ChampsÉlysées are a tourist trap, offering humdrum cuisine at exorbitant prices.

Best Shopping Paris Champs Elysées

 6.      Boulevard Saint Michel

 Why Go:

Unlike the high-end shopping streets of Paris, the Latin Quarter’s Boulevard St Michel is a typical neighborhood with a laid-back vibe. Shop the likes of Benetton, Sinéquanone, and NafNaf, together with relatively affordable French chain stores such as Camaïeu, Jules and Etam. The street is also renowned for its bookshops – one of the largest being Gilbert Joseph, and shoppers can enjoy a break from their arduous spending in the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, a stone’s throw away.  With La Sorbonne university located close by, the area is awash with cafés and bars catering to the young and hip.

What you should know:

Boulevard St Michel connects easily with other famous streets of the Latin Quarter, including Boulevard Saint-Germain (which offers additional shopping choices) and Rue Soufflot which leads to the Pantheon.

Best Shopping Paris Saint Michel

 7.      Rue de Rennes

Why Go:

One of Paris’ longest shopping streets; Rue de Rennes is certainly made for pavement pounding, bags in hand – Pretty Woman style.

Again, the charm of Parisian shopping is that big name designers often rub shoulders with large international chain stores; and Rue de Rennes is no exception. Add to the mix a scattering of quirky boutiques, and you have a shopper’s paradise. Located just on the other side of Jardin du Luxembourg from Boulevard St Michel, the street’s beacon is the Montparnasse tower (Paris’ tallest building).

What you should know:

The city’s largest FNAC (selling all things electronic and literary) can be found on Rue de Rennes.

Take care of crossing the street though, as its sheer width and double-lane traffic in both directions can pose a hazard.

Best Shopping Paris Rennes

This post was featured in A Luxury Travel Blog on 17 August 2013.

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13 thoughts on “Ooh la la! The 7 best streets to shop in Paris

  1. Love it!!! Planning a trip to Paris and Italy in Nov and these tips are extremely helpful!! Thank you Chan!! I will definitely check out your other articles!

      • Yes please 🙂 We want see the Louvre, notre dame, eiffel tower, arc de triomphe, maybe palace of versailles and take Kaitlyn to Euro Disney. Which area do you think it will be best to stay in? are there any good hotels you can recommend? (3 or 4 star) We will arrive in Paris (From Milan) on the afternoon of 1 Nov 2013 and depart around midday on Mon 4 Nov 2013 (to Venice) – is easy jet a reliable airline? Do you think athat we would be able to do all this int he amount of time we are there? Thanks for your help 🙂

      • Hi Nicci,

        Your time in Paris is a bit tight…basically I’d leave the afternoon of 01 November to get you your hotel, and then maybe spend some time in the neighbourhood of your hotel, and perhaps finding a restaurant for dinner.

        I’d also forget travelling too far on the morning of 4 November, as you need about an hour and a half to get to Charles de Gaulle airport from Paris (if your departing from there) with public transport. (If you take a taxi, it will take about 45-60 minutes depending where your hotel is).

        So that leaves only the 2 & 3 November for sightseeing.

        If your trip absolutely cannot be extended by a day or 2, then I would seperate the days as follows:
        – 1 full day Paris sightseeing (visiting Lourve, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe)
        – 1 Full day Disneyland

        If the Chateau de Versailles is not an absolute must, you may have to forgo it, as it is a trip outside of Paris, lines are normally VERY long, and you need time to explore the palace and gardens.

        For a full day Paris sightseeing, you must remember you wont be exploring in detail if you have so many sights on your list. For example, you wont be spending nearly enough time in the Louvre. You can dash in to take a snap of the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but not much else if you have a long agenda for the day.

        You can either accomplish this sightseeing day by public transport (metro & bus)…in this way you will have to strictly plan all the stops and routes in advance to ensure you get the most out of your time; or you can do the Paris sightseeing hop on hop off bus.

        I normally wouldnt recommend the hop on hop off bus, as its quite expensive, and SO touristy, but its a quick way to ensure you see all of Paris’ major sights in 1 day.

        For the second day, I’d take the public transport (cheapest) RER C, which goes from several major stops in Paris, right to the Disney Parc.
        Again, I would have recommended a 2 day pass for Disneyland, so you could make the most of ALL the rides and especially seeing as there are 2 Parcs (Parc Disneland and Parc Disney Studios).
        But they can be done on the same day, if you plan ahead, and decide which rides are must-dos.

        When my family were over in Paris, we managed to do the 2 Parcs on the same day just by planning ahead. However, we went on a weekday, and the lines were very short compared to what they normally are. Remember, you are in Paris over the weekend, and its a public holiday in Paris on 01 November, so its a long weekend at that! Expect VERY long lines in Disneyland. (sorry about the bad news!)

        If at all possible, I would really consider adding 2 more days in Paris, so you can do teh Disneyland trip on a weekday, and to ensure you see all of Paris’ amazing sights. Its a shame to come all the way from SA, and miss something major!
        If thats not possible, then try to seperate your days, as above, and plan ahead to what are the must sees.

        Easyjet is a lowcost airline, where you pay for drinks/food, and seats are unassigned, so its on a first come first serve basis during boarding.However, I never had any major delays when using Easyjet, and the planes are fine (modern, clean).

        Regarding the best area in Paris to stay, again, it really depends on you and your tastes. There are numerous hotels in every arrondissment, ranging from hostels to five star. All areas of Paris are linked by the metro and bus, so getting around from anywhere isnt a problem. Unless you have a real preference for a particular sight/area…Id just book where you get the best value for money.

        Its a lot of info for a comment, but I hope it helps!

      • wow thanks that does help a lot! ok so our tickets are already booked from Rome to SA on 8 Nov. Would you suggest we rather go to venice from Milan then Paris then Rome? I could really use your expertise here 🙂

  2. I like shopping in the Marais, but its true its not a luxury shopping experience, but it is more typical of Paris. Nicely written.

  3. Pingback: 24 Hours in Paris | THE WOLF WILL TRAVEL

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