Selling nothing but handmade umbrellas and parasols since 1834, this shop is still in business probably because of their attention to detail and passion for this particular accessory. You can find dainty women’s umbrellas in bright pink, violet, emerald green, all with contrasting trims as well as wooden-handled men’s versions and elegant walking canes suitable to become family heirlooms. A great source for gifts for people who have everything; these umbrellas are recognizable to those in the know, so it’s you’re access to a secret club as well as a way to stay dry.
Bonton Filles Du Calvaire
Gorgeous children’s store Bonton took over a huge space on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire (down the street from Merci), and the soaring rooms are filled with the company’s memorable children’s clothes as well as small toys. The window displays are as imaginative as the embroidery on the little frocks, many of which you wish came in adult sizes. Whimsical decorative touches include a vintage photo booth in the center of the store out of which you expect Amélie to emerge any moment.
With a selection of 200 handmade papers from all over the world, these adjacent shops are the addresses for precious and unique writing paper and instruments. Parisians consider Calligrane the ultimate source for calling cards and personal stationery.
As Hermès is to saddles so is Causse to gloves. Never heard of them? Well, that may be because until a few years ago, the glovemaker, or gantier, made exquisite leather gloves for the great couture houses like Chanel and Dior, as well as Hermès and Colette, but didn’t have its own retail outlet. Now, Causse, which was founded in France’s glove capital, Millau, in 1896, has opened a little jewel of a boutique just between the Place Vendôme and the Rue de Rivoli. With blond wood walls lined with elegant drawers and sculptural metal hands modeling gloves of all kinds, the small shop has the fetishistic allure of the world’s top shoe stores. Standout models: the pale grey elbow-length lizard; vibrant red lambskin with patent leather bows; metallic and fingerless driving mittens. All are still made at Millau’s last glove-making factory, which has another boutique and a museum devoted to past collections. (Visits to the atelier at Millau can be made in advance.)
The ultimate men’s shop, Charvet, has been one of the secret weapons of the world’s best-dressed men for decades. Now the legendary haberdashery has begun to sell fabrics for the house, including wonderful striped linens. The first floor sells exquisite silk ties and scarves and accessories (the suede slippers in a rainbow of colors are great gifts for frequent fliers). Upstairs, you’ll find shirts, pajamas, robes and custom-tailoring. There’s even a room of children’s clothes with miniature button-down shirts, blazers and shorts for tiny dandies, just to the right of the elevator on the ground floor.
Cire Trudon has been making bespoke candles for centuries, and chic Parisian ladies, like designer Isabel Marant, know there is no better house. You can specify the color, shape, size and scent of your custom candle or buy one of the wonderful signature examples. The company was granted the royal warrant in the 17th century and has created candles for legendary design houses including Guerlain, Hermès and Dior.
The fantastic taxidermy shop that Adam Gopnik wrote about so memorably in the New Yorker is worth a visit, especially if you are trying to entertain children or husbands who are being dragged along on a shopping spree. On the bottom floor of the 19th-century Beaux Art building is Le Prince Jardinier. Climb the winding wooden stairs, though, and you will think that you have entered a natural history museum set in a palace. The grand salon rooms have ornate wood paneling and chandeliers fit for diplomatic entertaining but the creatures that inhabit them are stuffed elephants, polar bears and tigers. One room is devoted primarily to stuffed birds, from sparrows to a five-foot-tall ostrich. Another room contains many sea creatures and another insects. Small glass shadow boxes of butterflies and beetles are among the easiest exports, but they do ship larger specimens around the world regularly. The shop was destroyed by fire in 2007 but entirely restored; the restoration was so masterful you would never know that it had ever been damaged.
M. Ludot, the world-known vintage-fashion merchant, has a treasure-filled boutiques in the galleries of the Palais Royal, specializing in 20th-century couture, ready-to-wear, accessories and the 'little black dress'. The inventory turns over constantly, so there’s no time to dither—that vintage Hermès scarf, Chanel suit or Dior dress could be gone by the time you decide to bite the bullet.
Even though you can now find French cookware and accessories on this side of the pond, Dehillerin still surprises with kitchen gear you’ve never even thought of. If you’re in the market for copper saucepans, you’re in the right place, and they ship.
Éditions des Parfums Frédéric Malle
This boutique, which has several locations in Paris, is the place for wildly exclusive and unusual perfumes. The original outpost on Rue de Grenelle, opened in 2000, is the one to visit. The ingenious interiors were imagined by the late genious designer Andrée Putman and Frédéric Malle, and they ressemble a mix of Parisian apartment of fragrance lab.
The Belgian version of Conran’s, Flamant has been the most stylish house wares shop for Belgians since the late 1970s. The aesthetic mixes Scandinavian and Provencal influences for a semi-rustic, yet Parisian chic look with lots of vintage looking leather club chairs, inviting wooden dining tables, sumptuous linens and fantasy flea market finds, such as old-fashioned looking toys, stemware, baskets and objets from antlers to leather rugby balls. Flamant now has branches all over Europe, including this one in Paris, which wends over multiple rooms and floors. As you move through the model rooms, (living, dining, library, child’s room, kitchen and bedrooms), you will find a café, the paint room (where custom colors are blended), and a garden room full of flowers, vases and gardening tools. Interior designers are on hand so you can decorate an entire house or just pick up special linens, glass urns, kitchen items or unusual gifts.
This concept store in the Marais spreads over two floors, providing a spacious day-lit showcase for a wide assortment of hip clothing, accessories, and home goods. In addition to FrenchTrotters’ own line of well-tailored basics for men and women, the boutique carries luscious leather bags by Jerome Dreyfuss, jeans by APC and Acne, shoes by Michel Vivien, and sunglasses by Super Future. The small selection of home goods on the second floor range from simple linen napkins and table clothes to decadent fragrant candles by Byredo with exotic names like “Baudelaire” and “Black Saffron.”
The leather goods of this French luggage house, founded in 1853, can now be found in exclusive department stores from Bergdorf’s and Barneys in New York to Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, but there’s a wider selection— and, of course, added cachet to buying it—at the original Right Bank flagship. Providers of custom leather luggage since the early 20th century, Goyard formerly stamped its cases with the family crests of its aristocratic customers; today, its monograms are the most popular bespoke request. They will create custom cases from sleek CD cases or ipod sleeves to trunks for polo equipment or tea kits in any of their ten available colors. The dog collars and traveling food and water case are great gifts for animal lovers.
The designers behind the label, Alix Petit and Delphine Delafon, met while both working for Michel Klein. Uma Thurman bought one of their bathing suit designs from a friend, and ethereal French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg is a fan. The feminine side comes from Alix, who claims only to wear dresses, and the edgier cool comes from Delphine who favors jeans. The result: styles that mix flirty with rock n’ roll or gamine goes grunge. One of their major hits is the mini military style suede jackets with lurex trim. The whole line is available in this retail outlet on one of the great shopping streets of the Left Bank.
IMH (India Mahdavi)
Travelers have been swooning over the work of designer India Mahdavi in hotels and restaurants, from London’s Connaught to Left Bank bistro Café Germain. Now it’s possible to buy her curvy stools, Jetlag sofas and Dog’s Life wooden chairs for your own house at her showroom on the Left Bank.
Isabel Marant is one of those designers who may have boutiques in Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York, but making the pilgrimage to one of her Parisian outposts is still absolutely special for the fashion-obsessed. More than a decade after she opened her first boutique, Isabel Marant still inspires the kind of obsessed-fan devotion that one rarely encounters anywhere other than at an Apple Store. Her bohemian, chic designs are hipper than Chloe or Prada, and at a fraction of the price. There are several boutiques in Paris, but it's worth visiting the one on Rue Jacob, thanks to the proximity of her husband's cool accessories store, Jerome Dreyfuss, located just next door.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is a phrase that could be used to describe the birth of this French handbag company. Isabelle Puech and Benoit Jamin fell in love as students in 1988 and bonded over their passion for fashion. Working in a design district, they plucked discarded remnants from the trash and since they were not large enough to use for dresses or shirts, they used them to adorn handbags. A distinctive style was born and, soon after, fashion houses from Balmain and Chanel to Chloé were taking their bags down the runway. Since opening their first Paris boutique in 1996, the duo have opened in Milan and Tokyo as well as distribution in many countries. Bags are produced in limited editions, though, with twice yearly collections.
On the street where so many notable French and Americans (from Delacroix and Racine to Hemingway) have lived, Jerome Dreyfuss, a bad-boy designer in the ‘90s, opened his first shop. (Now he also has outposts in New York, Taipei and Seoul.) The handbags that have made him a cult figure among fashion editors and couture cognoscenti are on view, with styles that range from brightly-colored leather envelope-sized zippered purses to his vast, multi-pouched carry-alls in Ikat-like painted fabric. This boutique is located next to his wife’s wildly popular clothing boutique, Isabel Marant. Other locations are at 127 Galerie de Valois Jardins du Palais Royal 75001 and 25 rue de Saintonge, 75003.
Even those not in the market for an artisanal canvas bag, can appreciate the design of this minimalist boutique. The narrow space, decked-out with floor to ceiling white shelving, is a perfect showcase for brightly colored canvas duffels, totes, backpacks, and briefcases all fabricated in the South of France's Carcassone.
La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin
Jacques Genin calls himself a chocolate artist and at his atelier in the Marais you can purchase his sweet masterpieces. Trained as a chef and pastry chef, Genin invents new concoctions in his Parisian laboratory, including his famous “eclair au caramel” and chocolate bonbons. In his gorgeous space in the Marais, fans can view his open workshop/laboratory (up the winding staircase) as well as sample his products in the ground floor tasting room. The menu features desserts of the day and fresh chocolates and candies.
La Galerie MiniMasterpiece
La Galerie MiniMasterpiece partners with contemporary artists to create limited edition jewelry and objets d’art. Artists whose custom creations have been exhibited and sold include Claude Lévêque, François Morellet, and Lee Ufan.
La Station par The Different Company
Ignore the uninspiring name. This beauty company was successfully built on the idea that putting together a team of super creative people could result in a new kind of luxury product. One artist conceives of the bottles, another works on the scent and others on the brand concept and store design. The results have caused a sensation with all sorts of discerning tastemakers clamoring after their scents, like Jasmin de Nuit. You can try the scents and buy candles in their Paris boutique.
Tucked behind the Place de la République on a small side street, La Trésorerie is a bright and airy home-goods emporium stocked with thousands of items, from l’art du table to l’art du bain. Here you will find elegant everyday essentials (lovely country-style enamel sauce pans, ladles, and measuring cups), as well as luxury items like porcelain, bronze-coated flatware and lambs wool throw blankets. Thirty percent of the store’s offerings are made in France, which makes La Trésorerie a great resource for tasteful (and useful) regional souvenirs.
Often referred to as the “Dean & Deluca of Paris,” this modern epicérie fine opened in 2015 to much fanfare. Selling fresh organic produce and high-quality delicacies sourced from top-tier purveyors, Maison Plisson prides itself on a wide array of French products. More than 80% of the goods for sale are made in France, which makes this an ideal place to stock up on comestible souvenirs from honey to champagne. Plisson’s onsite restaurant, whose canopied terrace overlooks the Boulevard Beaumarchais, is a comfortable place for breakfast, lunch or a snack.