Paris Shopping

Nothing, but nothing, can push you into the current of Parisian life faster than a few hours of shopping. Follow the lead of locals, who slow to a crawl as their eyes lock on a tempting display. Window-shopping is one of this city's greatest spectator sports; the French call it lèche-vitrine—literally, "licking the windows"—which is fitting because many of the displays look good enough

to eat.

Store owners here play to sophisticated audiences with voracious appetites for everything from spangly flagship stores to minimalist boutiques to under-the-radar spots in 19th-century glass-roofed passages. Parisians know that shopping isn't about the kill, it's about the chase: walking down cobblestone streets looking for items they didn't know they wanted, they're casual yet quick to pounce. They like being seduced by a clever display and relish the performance elements of browsing. Watching them shop can be almost as much fun as shopping yourself.

And nowhere is the infamous Parisian "attitude" more palpable than in the realm of fine shopping—the more haute the more hauteur.

Parisians are a proud bunch, and they value decorum. So dress to impress—and remember your manners. You must say bonjour upon entering a shop and merci, au revoir when leaving, even if it's to no one in particular. Think of it more as announcing your coming and going. Beyond this, protocol becomes less prescribed and more a matter of good judgment. If a salesperson is hovering, there's a reason; let him or her help you. To avoid icy stares once and for all, confidence and politeness go a long way.

As for what to buy, the sky's the limit in terms of choices. If your funds aren't limitless, however, take comfort in knowing that treasures can be found on a budget. And if you do decide to indulge, what better place to make that once-in-a-blue-moon splurge? When you get home and friends ask where you got those to-die-for shoes, with a shrug you'll casually say, "These? Oh . . . I bought them in Paris."

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Paris Shopping

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Antoine & Lili

  • Clothing

This bright, fuchsia-colored store is packed with an international assortment of eclectic objects and items from Antoine & Lili's...

Artazart

  • Books/Stationery

The best design book store in France carries tomes on everything from architecture to tattoo art: there are sections dedicated to photography...

Centre Commercial

  • Clothing

This store's A-list fashion credentials come with a big bonus—everything here is ethically and ecologically sourced. Peruse racks of...

Des Petits Hauts

  • Clothing

Des Petits Hauts charmed its way into the local fashion idiom with chic yet beguilingly feminine styles. Fabrics are soft, and styles...

Idé Co.

  • Household Items/Furniture

Little items for the home in a riot of colors are sold at Idé Co. But you'll also find fabulous rubber jewelry and funky stuff for kids...

Jamin Puech Inventaire

  • Clothing

These are last season's models, but no one will guess; savings are 30% to 60%. ...

La Trésorerie

  • Household Items/Furniture

No place outfits chic Canal St-Martin lofts better than this soaring eco-friendly boutique. Housed in a historic treasury, it assembles...

Liza Korn

  • Clothing

Liza Korn is that rare designer who seems to do it all and do it well. Whether it's rock 'n' roll (grommeted leather baseball or biker...

Médecine Douce

  • Jewelry/Accessories

Sculptural pieces that combine leather, suede, rhinestones, agate, or resin with whimsical themes can be found at Médecine Douce. The...

Viveka Bergström

  • Jewelry/Accessories

Viveka Bergström leads the ranks of designers who thumb their noses at the pretensions of traditional costume jewelry—these baubles...

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