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More for perusal than serious book-buying, Les Bouquinistes (book peddlers), with their characteristic green metal lockers and sit-around-all-day attitude, form a vital part of Parisian folklore. Most vendors are out along the banks of the Seine come rain or shine, selling an array of antique and not-so-antique books, manuscripts, prints, and postcards. Don't miss them, having no legal status, they may disappear one of these days.
The place to go if you're looking to add the mystic touch in your life is 2 Mille & 1 Nuits. Taking off from the Arabian nights, the name itself gives away all that the store has to offer. They have intricately carved furniture, chandeliers, lamp shades and glass artifacts, as well as knickknacks that enhance the aesthetic appeal of your house and become a piece of conversation. Step into 2 Mille & 1 Nuits without saying "Open Seasame."
Founded in 1730 by the former pastry chef of Versailles, Patisserie Stohrer is Paris' oldest and arguably tastiest pastry shop. Here you'll find a glistening array of delicacies such as Tarte aux fraises des bois (wild strawberry tart), Puit d'amour (lemon and saffron custard-filled pastry), and, the Stohrer specialty, Baba au Rhum (rum-soaked pastry). If you can tear your eyes away from the culinary goodies, spare a glance for the store's ceiling and wall panels: the elegant murals date back to the mid-19th Century. One can well understand why Queen Elizabeth II specially visited this shop in 2003; it's thoroughly sublime.
At E. Dehillerin, it's not hard to imagine what the store was like when it began selling cooking utensils in 1820. The shop is dim and dusty with extremely narrow aisles and towering rows of shelves, groaning with cookware. But you don't go to E. Dehillerin for aesthetics; you go for the abundance of copper pots and pans, the variety of professional-grade knives, and because you can find fun items like serving dishes for oysters and copper crème brulée ramekins. The knowledgeable staff and reasonable prices won't turn you off either. This store will delight anyone who loves to cook.
Going to La Grande Epicérie on an empty stomach would be terribly unwise. Resisting the sights and smells of this sprawling world market is nearly impossible; you will leave with plastic bags on the verge of bursting with goodies. Though La Grande Epicérie sells various sorts of interesting international foods, the French products are front and center. The cheese counter can be smelled before it can be seen, the wine department is the size of a small supermarket, and the bakery produces somewhere near 800 kilograms (1764 pounds) of bread per day. La Grande Epicérie is the perfect place to find a souvenir, like a jar of homemade jelly or a box of Paris-themed chocolates for a foodie back home. But always buy in pairs, so you can enjoy one for yourself.
Le Grenier à pain looks like other bakeries in a district like many others in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It is one of the 20 bakeries owned by Michel Galloyer and received the 2010 best baguette of Paris award. Walk in here to savor fresh baked breads, pastries and patisseries. Check out the website for more details.
This open-air flea market is not as big as the one in Saint-Ouen but is nevertheless a fun place to be. Shops offer old books, old furniture and antiques. The market consists of professional shop keepers and stall owners who set up shop only on weekends. This flea market is the smallest in Paris but is a good place to pick up some interesting souvenirs to take back home. If you're lucky, you could also find something historic and original. Happy shopping!
With baking in his genes and a lifetime of experience, it's no surprise that Pierre Hermé's eponymous venture has won him many accolades. From French Pastry Chef Of The Year to Presidential honors, the patisserie is at the forefront of 21st Century pastry making. He is most famous for his colorful macarons, which must be tried when in the city. Cakes, cookies, candied dried fruits and other sweets are sold in inventive flavors like balsamic vinegar, olives and cheese. A designer of all things sweet, indulge in his line of seasonal confectionery at this shop.