Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché Review
Founded in 1852, Le Bon Marché has emerged as the city's chicest department store. Long a hunting ground for linens and other home items, the store got a face-lift that brought fashion to the fore. The ground floor sets out makeup, perfume, and accessories; this is where celebs duck in for essentials while everyone pretends not to recognize them. Upstairs, do laps through labels chichi (Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Lanvin) and überhip (Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Ann Demeulemeester). The newly refurbished menswear department, under the moniker Balthazar, has now consumed the entire basement level and keeps pace with designers like Saint Laurent and Paul Smith. Zip across the second floor walkway to the mode section (above the next-door épicerie): home to streetwise designers and edgy secondary lines, it also has a funky café. French favorites include Athé by Vanessa Bruno, Zadig & Voltaire, Tsumori Chisato, Isabel Marant's Étoile line, and Helmut Lang jeans. Best of all, this department store isn't nearly as crowded as those near the Opéra. Don't miss the spectacularly renovated La Grande Épicerie and Cave (wine shop) next door: it's the haute couture of grocery stores. Artisanal jams, olive oils, and much more make great gifts, and the luscious pastries, fruit, and huge selection of prepared foods beg to be chosen for a snack.