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A Girl's Guide to Paris

By Laura Blake

Posted: 22nd July 2014 14:01

From tiny stores showcasing independent fashion labels to the epitome of infamous designer luxury, Paris is a haven for the retail minded.  Whether you plan on some serious window shopping or you’re busy seeking a unique bargain, the boutiques and fashion houses of this designer city offer an unrivalled shopping culture.  Forget diamonds – Paris is a girl’s best friend. 

Best for: Designer Vintage

Didier Ludot

20-24 Galerie Montpensier

Didier Ludot specialises in immaculately preserved haute couture, ranging from the styles of the 1920s to the 1980s, with items from the famous names of Dior, Pucci, and Chanel gracing the rails.  For an immersion into fashion’s past, it doesn’t get better than spending a few hours thoroughly exploring Ludot’s Paris boutique, which first opened its doors in 1975. 

Across the street, Ludot has opened a second boutique which is home to his own line of vintage inspired clothing.  Called ‘La Petite Robe Noire’ – or little black dress – the designer plays homage to fashion’s most worshipped style. 

Best for: Beauty

Sephora

70-72 Avenue des Champs-Elysees

Sephora is a cornerstone of Parisian beauty.  It was founded by Dominique Mandonnaud in France’s capital in 1970, and since has gone on to house over 12,000 French and foreign beauty products, across more than 100 brands, in 27 countries worldwide.  They specialise in renowned designers and exclusive labels of make-up, skincare, hair care, and fragrance. 

Although Sephora is a huge chain, there is something of a boutique shopping experience still to be had here, whether you simply want to browse the stunning array of beauty must-haves, or get some advice from the helpful and knowledgeable staff. 

Best for: Fragrance

Diptyque

34 Boulevard Saint Germain

Diptyque opened its doors in 1961 selling printed fabrics, but changed direction towards the production of fragrance with the creation of its first eau de toilette, L’Eau, in 1968.  Today, its palette of classical perfumery makes it a Parisian staple, and their scented candles and fragrances are highly sought after worldwide.

Celebrating 50 years in 2011, Diptyque set out to create a fragrance to capture the history of its flagship location, titled ‘34 boulevard saint germain’.  To discover the inspiration behind this fragrance, check out the Parisian boutique and inhale a little of the original Diptyque magic. 

Best for: Quirky Style

Arty Dandy

1 Rue de Furstemburg

Store creator Axel Teinturier studied art history in Paris and previously worked in New York’s Marlborough Gallery.  Living in these cities, at the forefront cutting edge fashion, has given him a real sense for trends, quality and originality. 

Arty Dandy is a conceptual gallery-boutique containing a quirky mix of fashion, books, home wares, jewellery, and perfumes.  The stock rotates along with changing fashions and the whims of Teinturier, who picks items based on whatever he finds interesting or clever.  The result is a quirky and adventurous store which repeatedly surprises and intrigues, and there’s a real mix of extravagant and downright reasonable items to be found. 

Best for: French Simplicity

A.P.C

39 Rue Madame/20 Rue Audre del Sarte

Designer Jean Touitou’s minimalistic designs, clean lines and simple patterns have made him a staple of French fashion since 1987, and A.P.C is popular with the hipster crowd and those seeking uncomplicated, everyday classics.  Raw-denim selvage jeans are popular today, which (unlike many designers using this material) remain slim cut and fashionable, in line with the brand’s philosophy.

For the true boutique experience and the latest styles, the original A.P.C store is found at 39 Rue Madame.  However, bargain hunters should head to 18th Arrondissement, where an outlet store stocking last season’s styles at half price is waiting to be discovered.

Best for: Lingerie

Princesse Tam Tam

5 rue Montmartre (more locations across Paris)

Princesse Tam Tam is a lingerie chain originating in Paris, with a cult following worldwide.  The sisters who created the brand began with silk boxer shorts for women, and today their lines feature exotic colour combinations hinting at their Madagascan roots.  Their underwear is as much cute and playful as it is sexy; made from the most luxurious fabrics, their range is surprisingly affordable. 

There are 32 locations across Paris and more worldwide, but the flagship store in Paris’ artistic Montparnasse quarter is definitely worth a visit.  Inspired by Parisian casual-chic and uniquely refitted in 2010, it makes for an enticing shopping experience.

Best for: Accessories

La Boutique de Louise

32 Rue du Dragon

This unashamedly girly boutique is the home of pastel cutesiness blended with a twist of retro design.  It’s quirky and fun, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously; think rabbit-print plates, unicorn cushions and necklaces with cupcake pendants. 

You get a real sense of the personality of the owners when you shop here; the fact that the store is named after a grandmother is testimony to this.  They sell pieces from a range of French designers, including pillows from Bordeaux couple Bonjour Mon Coussin, cute and quirky jewellery from Clementine Pontavice’s Hop Hop Hop, and cute and practical kitchen items by La Cochette. 

Best for: Shoes

Mi-Prix

27 Boulevard Victor

So much of shopping for bargains is knowing where to look.  From the outside, Mi-Prix is looking a little faded – haggard, even.  Don’t be fooled; beneath its unassuming exterior is a messy jumble of which can only be described as heaven for the footwear fashionista. 

If you browse with dedication, you could uncover brands such as Gucci, Prada, Philippe Model, and Michael Perry at up to 70% off of retail price, although it can take a bit of searching to find your size.  They also have a selection of handbags, formal wear, and jewellery to complete your look.