Looking for more tips on how to shop in Paris like a local? Be sure to get our 2019 INSIDR Paris Shopping Guide! The Eiffel tower is certainly iconic. The Louvre museum and Versailles palace are beautiful, historical landmarks and the crêpes are to die for. But let’s be real – Paris is the fashion capital of the world – we came here to SHOP! Parisians make impeccable fashion sense seem like second nature, the city’s well-dressed locals make even the most casual look elegant and chic. Our guess is that the array of amazing boutiques and designer shops in Paris has something to do with it. Far beyond the cliché of wearing all black, the French capital is home to an astounding number of brands and shops spanning all fashion genres.
No matter the style, the budget or the occasion you’re shopping for, you’ll find what you need in Paris. Each neighborhood in the city has a different shopping vibe, from classic luxury to bohemian chic! The hardest part is deciding where to begin. To help you out, we’ve put together our top tips to make your shopping adventures in Paris a success including recommendations on our favorite stores and brands.
All you need to know about shopping in Paris
Stores opening hours in Paris
Most stores are open from Monday to Saturday from 10AM to 8PM. Some close at 7PM or for an hour during lunch. On Sundays, most of the stores in the Le Marais and Champs Elysées neighborhoods will remain open.
This is something of a small revolution in France. Stores were required by law to close on Sundays until very recently, so expect most stores in other neighborhoods to remain closed.
For the most flexible shopping, head to the Galeries Lafayette department store. This fashionista’s paradise is open until 8PM, seven days a week.
Tax refund in Paris
If you’re not a resident of one of the European Union nations, when traveling and shopping in France you can claim a tax refund of 12% if your purchases exceed 175€. The tax refund can be done at the airport, before leaving the EU using a PABLO affiliate machine.
However, there are often long lines for the refund machines at the airport, so expect to wait, and there is no customer service available.
There is only one store in Paris that offers immediate cashback of VAT – the Galeries Lafayette department store. The seamless process is much easier than getting your refund at the airport since you’ll get cashback immediately (more shopping, anyone?) and the friendly staff speak multiple languages.
You just need the receipt of your purchase and your passport, the cashback is only available on the day of your purchase and does not apply to Lafayette Gourmet and Louis Vuitton. One last tip, download the app Lineberty and save time in the detaxe line.
The exchange policy in Paris is probably similar to the stores you shop at everyday. Most purchases can be exchanged or refunded with 3 weeks or 1 month.
Detailed information concerning exchange and refund policies can be found on your receipt. If you don’t speak French, you can ask staff at the store or at your hotel to explain.
You must keep your receipt, though! No receipt often means no refund and the French really are a stickler for this rule. Clothing must be in perfect condition in order to return or exchange items.
Sales in Paris
There are two major sales periods for stores in Paris. Winter sales start of the 3rd Wednesday of January and last for about a month. The Summer sale period starts on the first Wednesday of July and also lasts for a month.
If you’re not in Paris during these dates, you can still find deals and sales almost all year round, but you’ll have to know where to look! Parisians love their sales and will often wait in line early in the morning to get the best deals.
You need to be strategic about what stores you go to. We recommend hitting a department store first, you’ll have the largest selection and be able to grab both clothing and shoes at great prices. For all you shoe lovers out there, the Galeries Lafayette’s shoe department has the largest selection in town – from chic heals to cute sandals. We recommend starting there.
Main shopping areas
Being the fashion capital of the world, Paris is home to the flagship stores of most of the globe’s top luxury brands.
If you’re looking to do some shopping or perhaps just admire these iconic brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel , head to Place Vendôme. This historic plaza in the 1st arrondissement dates to the 18th century and is home to some of the oldest fashion brands.
The Champs Elysées avenue is of course another great location for some luxury shopping. Try and head there early as most stores require you to wait in line.
If your style is more independent boutiques, Le Marais is the perfect spot for you. Spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, the neighborhood is full of lovely shops. You’ll find Parisian brands as well as some more global names.
The rue des Francs Bourgeois and rue Vieille du Temple are two of the main shopping streets. You can also head to rue de Bretagne for more local and unique options. There are also tons of shoe stores and other accessories – think beautiful scarves and jewelry. Le Marais is home to numerous great restaurants as well, to fuel up after a long day of shopping.
Despite its chic and luxurious reputation, Paris is a great city to do some bargain hunting. The entire Chatelet area is full of budget-friendly fashion. You’ll find more “fast-fashion” options including Zara and Mango but items still retain that classic French touch. These stores are perfect if you’re looking to renew your work wardrobe without tanking your bank account.
INSIDR’s favourite department store in Paris – The Galeries Lafayette
The French capital has four amazing department stores.
On the left bank is the iconic Le Bon Marché, not too far from the rue de Rennes shopping area.
There is BHV, located near the Seine River and rue de Rivoli and Le Printemps store near the Opera Garnier.
Finally, the INSIDR team’s favorite pick – Galeries Lafayette. It’s our top choice because it has the largest selection of brands: from reasonable priced brands to extreme luxury brands.
The Galeries Lafayette has a stunning “coupole”, or dome, that floods the store with natural light. The beautiful stained glass window panes are a delightful touch while shopping.
Galeries Lafayette totalizes 65 000 square meters and composed of three different buildings: Coupole building which is the main one with the beautiful Art Nouveau glass coupole ; L’Homme – a building dedicated to Men’s fashion ; Maison & Gourmet building – which hosts a delicious food court, a gourmet groceries store and home decor brands. You foodies and design lovers must stop by.
On top of the main building, there is one of the nicest rooftop terrace in Paris, with a stunning view over Paris’ skyline, open all year round. There is as well as a secret garden rooftop which is accessible to everyone during special guided visits. The guided visits are organized every Thursday at 4pm and every Saturday et 11:30am. Duration in one hour which includes: tour of the terrace, tasting of the product picked, generous gift bag including goodies made of the garden’s goods.
Tours are lead in English, available for children above 12 years old. And tickets costs 39€ (get 10% off with our special promotional code “INSIDR”) Book your tour in advance with us.
Largest range of brands
You’ll find the best selection of French fashion and French brands here. From high-end European luxury brands like Jacquemus, Karl Lagerfeld and Alaïa ; to affordable and chic pieces for everyday wear. There are options for all budgets, styles, occasions and ages. Children also have their own floor.
For you makeup lovers out there, they have an absolutely huge selection of cosmetics, perfumes – Chanel has a dedicated beauty salon on the 3rd floor and there is even a luxury hair-dresser – Alexandre de Paris on the 2nd floor.
For jewelry and accessories, there are all the most prestigious brands for women – Chaumet, Cartier, Tiffany, Bulgari. And for Men – Baume & Mercier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, Rolex.
The most VIP shopping experience
If you’re looking for an unforgettable shopping experience, Galeries Lafayette is the best option for you. They offer a large range of VIP services for Fashionistas! You can request the support of their delightful personal shopper for your shopping session. She will guide you through the shop to help you identify the brands and items that will be the best for you (according to your style, size, budget). You will have access to a private fitting lounge where everything will be set up for you to have the nicest shopping experience.
If the personal shopper is a little bit too much for you, you can still benefit from the tremendous services of the Concierge located 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th floor. At every concierge’s desk, multilingual staff will help you do the detaxe, they can offer to deliver your purchases directly at your accommodation. And you will have access to the VIP Concierge suite – with complimentary drinks, wifi, toilets and International newspaper.
Finally, if you have always dreamt to attend a Fashion Show in Paris, you will be happy to hear that every Friday at 3pm and Saturday at 11am, a real Fashion Show is organized. This is a unique opportunity to live the Paris Fashion dream life and discover the latest trends! Tickets for the Fashion Show can be purchased online – cost 1€ for adults, 9€ for children (get 10% off with the code “INSIDR”).
Wondering how to meet your personal shopper in the Galeries Lafayette? Contact the INSIDR team through firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and reserve a day for an ultimate deluxe shopping experience!
Limited edition and special collection launch
Galeries Lafayette is the exclusive reseller of many luxury brands. The Made in France luxury accessory brand Létrange is exclusively sold at Galeries Lafayette which has always been the pioneer reseller of Fashion and Luxury brands in Paris.
Many European luxury brands choose to launch special collection at Galeries Lafayette. Dolce Gabbana offers a unique service of sneakers customization on their corner. Bvlgari recently unveils new sets of colors of their iconic bag Serpenti Forever at the Galeries. And this is the only place where you can buy the Burberry’s Trench Coat Heritage.
Same for cosmetics and perfumes, exclusive and limited edition products will be mainly available at Galeries Lafayette.
French experiences and lifestyle provider
The French art de vivre is often envied but hard to replicate and understand. Galeries Lafayette is a great place to take advantage of your time in Paris and really live the French lifestyle. We recommend starting with a cheese and wine tasting, it really is square one. You can move on to a macaron cooking workshop or the beauty masterclass to understand the secrets of French style. For some exercise and to see how the French keep in shape despite all those croissants, go for a sports class. Other options include touring a secret garden or historical visits to see the underbelly of French history.
Top things to buy in Paris
That effortlessly chic style and je ne sais quoi of French women is certainly alluring. It might seem impossible to understand where they get it from. We suggest starting with the basics – that is lingerie. There is nothing like finding that perfect ensemble to spice up your time in Paris. Especially since the French are known for their beautiful and delicate lacework, that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. From couture creations to everyday styles, check out our guide on Paris’ best lingerie.
Trendy French clothing brands
If you want to bring a piece of Paris home with you, go for one of the items from the trendiest French clothing brands. Our favorites include Sézane, Maje, Sandro, Claudie Pierlot, Le Mont Saint Michel, Maison Labiche and Maison Kitsuné. They are high-quality, mid-range brands with both women’s and men’s lines. They represent the quintessence of the Parisian and fashion scene and lifestyle. Your friends at home will sure to be jealous of your chic and sophisticated look!
Made in France brands
There are also options for 100% Made in France brands, if you want to support locally produced clothing. Aigle and Saint James have items for the whole family. The value for money is outstanding with quality-made pieces at affordable prices. Petit Bateau is another iconic French brand whose origins date back to 1893! There is of course Lacoste, one of the country’s most well-known brands. The famous crocodile brand was created in 1933 and still remains the best choice for everyday chic.
Whether you’re a hardcore soccer fan, rugby is more your style or you wouldn’t miss the French Open for the world, you can find your favorite French sports memorabilia in Paris. The main chain stores, or team-specific stores (Paris Saint Germain, Stade Français, ets.), will have both player and team jerseys as well as accessories. Department stores, including the Galeries Lafayette, also carry a wide selection of sports gear and French national team items. No matter what team you support, a sports souvenir is a great way to remember your Parisian travels.
Shoes and accessories
After finding a few cute new outfits in Paris, you’ll need accessories to match. The quality of French leather-work is recognized worldwide so you should definitely consider a Made in France souvenir to bring home with you. We’d definitely go for a nice handbag. Two of our favorite brands are Longchamp and Lancel. They both have classic and more eclectic options, depending on your style. Footwear-wise, you can’t go wrong with Bocage. Their shoes are fashionable and comfortable, with a wide range of options for both men and women. They also have sunglasses and jewelery to further accessorize your looks!