A high-class restaurant on the world's most famous avenue, Ladurée (founded in 1862) also boasts a bakery. You can try the famous “macarons” (moist jam-filled cookies), a specialty of this establishment, or enjoy the raw and cooked vegetable salad along with a variable of other dishes served for lunch and dinner.
Despite the invasion of big name stores such as Gap, Zara, and H&M, the flagship branch of Galeries Lafayette, along with nearby Printemps, has remained one of the last bastions of Parisian chic. Built in 1894, this shoppers' paradise has continually reinvented itself and kept customers coming back. The resplendent main hall has an impressive array of perfumes, accessories and other products. The department store stocks all the best designer labels and also has its own deluxe grocery counter, restaurants, a travel agency, fashion shows, Internet access and more. Its incredible Christmas window displays are a Parisian institution.
Stretching for two kilometers (one mile) and lined with trees, les Champs-Élysées has become the center for festivities and official parades in Paris. The avenue was originally created in 1667 by André Le Nôtre, Louis XIV's gardener, in order to improve the view from the Jardin des Tuileries and its palace. The avenue was lengthened at the end of the 18th Century to run from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Today, this famous boulevard is a magnet for tourists and for the multitudes who enjoy evenings spent strolling along the broad and picturesque street. The many cinemas, cafés, and restaurants tempt visitors to rest their legs for a few hours, tired from walking by the designer boutiques, banks, and embassies also situated in this chic neighborhood.
The world's biggest flea market welcomes 200,000 visitors each weekend. You name it and this place will have it: furniture, pictures, new and second-hand clothes, all at rock-bottom prices (especially if you're a dab hand at haggling). There's a jovial fairground atmosphere with the aroma of food wafting around and people crowding round the stalls, hoping to pick up a 1970s leather jacket or a rare Louis XV chest of drawers. Make sure you have cash on you, as stallholders seldom accept credit cards and the nearest available cash machine is always lined out.
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.
This department store is right inside a heritage monument, and ladies will go crazy for the collection of clothes, jewelry and other accessories on display. The most famous and trendiest brands have a corner at Printemps: Chanel, Dior, Gucci, YSL, Stella McCartney, and Louis Vuitton. The fourth floor is devoted to promoting new designers such as Zadig & Voltaire, Isabelle Marrant and Vanessa Bruno. For men, there is a separate six-floor section. For your home, you will find home furnishings, china and silverware, and anything else you could think of for your wedding registry. Speaking of weddings, visit the wedding salon to try on your future bridal gown. If you care to indulge in some post-shopping pampering, Printemps even houses its own salon and spa. What else could Printemps possibly offer? A fashion show every Thursday! Gastronomes also have the opportunity to fill their baskets with delicacies at Printemps Gourmet-take a break in the restaurant or café before embarking on one more fix of Parisian fashion.
At Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville (BHV), husband and wife team can go shopping at any stage of marital life. The kitchenware in the main arena offers a wide range of utensils and crockery, while the hardware section in the basement will keep the men glued forever. The most convenient way to shop your separate ways and then meet up at the checkout counter. Call +33 9 7740 1400 or check out the website for information.
Le BHV Marais L'Homme is the first of the chain's boutique for men. This Parisian store is spread across four levels and has a fine collection of apparels from designer brands and accessories. Though pricey, the quality is high and is worth the money spent.
L'Ecritoire is a tiny boutique that specializes in all things writing. A rainbow of colors and styles of paper, envelopes, notebooks, and the like stock the shelves. Scrapbookers might find a thing or two of interest, but most of L'Ecritoire's goods are designed for those who take pleasure in writing letters or notes. Since almost everything in the store is created and packaged by the owners, every single sheet of paper, pen and bottle of ink has a personal touch. If you're looking for a good souvenir or gift idea, check out L'Ecritoire's wall of writing kits. Each comes with a combination of matching inks, pens, stickers and papers. - Betsy Mikel
Flanked by iconic French landmarks like the majestic Notre Dame and the Conciergerie, Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux has been in operation since 1808, making it the oldest and lone surviving floral market in Paris. Located in the heart of Ile de la Cité, the avenue sees an array of shops featuring exotic flowers, plants and shrubs. From primroses and orchids to violets and myrtles, the seasonal blooms paint a beautiful and tranquil picture in the tourist-dominated area. Open throughout the week, Sundays see bird traders set up shop with rare species of parrots, macaws, doves and budgies, as well as cages, seeds and accessories.
This Parisian pastry shop stands out from its competitors not only for the celebrity status of its owner and head chef, Christophe Michalak, but also for its innovative pastry and chocolate creations. Fusing top-notch ingredients with culinary expertise and a fresh outlook, the store showcases such signature desserts as the Fantastik, Michalakettes, and Krak Krak. Located in historic Marais, this shop is a top-pick with Parisians as well as visitors attracted by the stylish interiors and eye-catching display of pastries.