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.
Always mentioned in conjunction with a similar store, Sic Amore, Mi Amore sells costume jewelry, gifts, scarves, gloves and hats created by different artists and fashion designers. The store is literally packed with original, innovative collections: an alternative colorful fashion made of a mixture of wool, velvet and silk combined with feathers, sequins, pearls, glass or galalith beads. Beautiful scarves made of petals of shot silk are on display next to a large choice of costume jewels shaped as dragonflies or necklaces of waxed paper flowers. For the cold season fleece hats with flowers and scarves originally cut and shaped as ruches, flames, strips and plaits.
At first glance, Shakespeare and Company is nothing more than another English bookstore. But just a few steps inside the door, you start to see why the storefront is just as much a museum as it is a legendary bookshop. Between the books stacked to the ceiling, there are notes, announcements and fliers left from visitors all over the world. Since 1919, the name Shakespeare and Company has been a refuge to writers. The original bookstore was the stomping grounds of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce and others. Today, writers from all over the world come to share their work. Unknown writers have a place here, too; Shakespeare and Company lends sleeping space in exchange for a couple of hours of work in the store.
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.
Located in the heart of Paris, this plaza was the city's principal market in the middle ages. Today, it has become the largest shopping center, almost entirely underground. A paradise for the reckless consumer, this huge shopping arcade offers a selection of chain shops catering to a young and mixed crowd, as well as cinemas and a swimming pool. The Espace Créateurs (Porte Berger, Level -1) is a special section where you can browse and buy the creations of young and up-and-coming Parisian designers.
Sandwiched between the National Archives building and the beautiful Place des Vosges Rue des Francs-Bourgeois is a trendy Parisian shopping spot. This area is one of the few where shops are open on Sunday. The chic shops, restaurants, and historical buildings have all maintained their original store fronts adding to the ambiance. Join the many visitors and locals and explore this picturesque area of Paris for yourself!