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Paris Shopping Areas
Paris is internationally recognized as the fashion capitol of the world, so Parisian shopping is an entire event of itself! From elbowing your way through the crowds at the Saint-Ouen Flea Market, or enjoying the fashion-forward designer wear at boutiques in the Marais or Boulevard Haussmann, French shopping is an experience like no other in Paris.
Boulevard Haussmann is 1.75 miles of tree-lined walkways, and a premier shopping destination in Paris. Here you’ll find top of the line Paris Couture, the latest in French fashions, and other high-end designs.
In 1864, Boulevard Haussmann opened as a seamless blend of natural beauty and Parisian city flavor. Baron Georges Haussmann embarked on the boulevard project, to bring more nature into the bustling city of Paris. Named after its creator, Boulevard Haussmann extends from the 8th and 9th arrondissement of Paris, and was initially a street largely for residential apartments. Now, notable department stores on this route include Galeries Lafayette, Anu Printemps, and Marks & Spencer, which opened in 1975.
Since it’s opening in 1893, Galeries Lafayette has been a staple of Parisian fashion. From Couture to home furnishings, high-end jewelry, to off-runway clothing, and even gourmet food, Galeries Lafayette is a true Paris shopping experience. The building is constructed in Belle Epoque architecture, after the style of a middle-eastern bazaar.
Saint-Ouen Flea Market
The town of Saint-Ouen, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, is world famous for its flea market, known for its antique dealers and second-hand furniture. The market is open every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Also known as the “Les Puces de Saint-Ouen” or, the Fleas of Saint-Ouen, the market covers over 17 acres of space with an average of 120,000 to 180,000 each week, with 2,500 to 3,000 stalls to choose from. Located at Porte de Clignancourt the Saint-Ouen Flea Market remains the largest in the world to this day.
The Saint-Ouen Flea Market is a classic antique market, so expect lots of upholstery, Art Deco, and other decorative furniture. Vintage clothing, and all the other traditional flea market wares, including useless junk, is also up for sale. Whatever you’re in the mood for, make sure to arrive early; the market gets extremely crowded around lunch time. Be sure to carry only what’s necessary, pickpockets are a problem.
“Le Marais,” or “The Marsh” or “The Swamp” in English, is an architectural district on the right bank of the River Seine, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement of Paris. These days, it’s a high-end neighborhood, with fine dining, Paris Couture, and famous churches, residential buildings, and other architectural sites.
As early as 1240, the Marais was home to several religious institutions, such as the de Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonneriem and des Carmes-Billettes convents. Over the years, various royal families took up residence: King Charles V constructed the Hôtel Saint-Pol in 1361, and in 1605, King Henri IV built the Royal Square, or Place des Vosges. Wealthy nobles erected mansions and luxurious hotels, some of which stand today: the Hôtel de Sens, the Hôtel de Sully, the Hôtel de Beauvais, and the Hôtel de Soubise.
A vibrant Jewish and Chinese community grew in the Marais towards the late 1800s and early 1900s. After years of disrepair, the Marais was officially sanctioned as a secured area, and restored to reflect its classic Parisian roots. The Marais is now home to several distinguished art galleries, gourmet restaurants, and designer boutiques.