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Where to Shop in Paris

posted by LIM College

By Erin Cornell

Paris is the fashion capital of the world, and as a result, has some excellent places to shop. I’d like to share some of my favorite places and new discoveries that I’ve made.

Since I was studying abroad in the fall semester, I was lucky enough to be in Paris for the holiday season.  Christmas decorations go up right after Halloween over here since Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated. Christmas markets open up all over Paris around mid-November, and the most popular ones are located at La Défense and along the Champs-Elysées. These markets are great places to find holiday gifts and sample the vin chaud (mulled wine). The Christmas Village along the Champs-Elysées is especially beautiful and stretches the entire length of the avenue. There’s even an ice skating rink and a Ferris wheel!

Vintage shops abound in Paris, and they’re much more affordable than the ones in New York. The stores are filled with fur coats, military jackets, and fabulous costume jewelry. I recommend a visit to Kilo Shop and the Free ‘P’ Store, which are conveniently located right next to each other in the 4th arrondissement. Kilo Shop has strange hours, and you pay for everything based on how much it weighs. There are scales located throughout the store to check the cost of what you’ve picked up, and you can find some great bargains here. The store also carries its own vintage-inspired clothing line and smaller accessories at fixed prices. The Free ‘P’ Store is a smaller establishment but it’s still filled with vintage goodness. You might have to dig a little to find something good, as the store isn’t very organized. Both shops are worth a visit and are perfect places to find something that gives you that French je ne se quoi.

Paris is also home to some great concept shops. Merci and Colette are two of my favorites.  Merci is located in the 11th arrondissement, and carries a wonderful mix of clothing and home goods. It even has its own restaurant. There’s also a bookstore attached to the restaurant where you can spend the day reading and drinking café au lait. The store is a great mix of vintage and contemporary, and it features a charming cobblestone courtyard with a cheerful little red car parked out front. The shop has a very relaxing atmosphere, and the staff is both helpful and fluent in English. Colette is located on the trendy Rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement, and is always full of exciting collaborations and limited edition items. I was so excited to be able to see one of my favorite Instagram artists, Donald Robertson (@donalddrawbertson), at Colette when he was promoting his collaboration with Smashbox Cosmetics and handing out personalized drawings on Colette bags. Getting my own work of art drawn by Donald Robertson was definitely a highlight of my study abroad experience. Colette carries high-end designers like Valentino, Dior, and Balmain, in addition to innovative streetwear brands. A visit to their second floor is a must to see the latest designer clothing and shoes. The store can be a little crowded, but I would recommend visiting it at least once just for the experience.

There are many more stores to visit in Paris, but the ones I’ve mentioned are great places to start! And, there are just as many Zara and H&M locations here as there are in New York, so it’s fun to find places you can’t visit back home. It really adds a unique perspective to the study abroad experience.

A Christmas market in Les Halles.
The Merci car in front of the Merci shop.

Donald Robertson’s work at Colette.

Topics: study abroad, Paris