If you ever come across me in Paris, I will likely be carrying a shopping bag (or three). I’ve been known to take an empty suitcase with me for all of the extra goodies I’ll bring back home. No street will remain unplundered in my search for reminders of France. Here are 10 of my favorite spots not usually found in guidebooks.
- Graine de Pastel – 18 Rue Pavée, 75004 Paris, France – metro Saint-Paul
This serene shop decked out in cream and blues sells the most wonderful skincare products made from the pastel plant, which was famously used during the Renaissance for its valuable blue pigment. All of their products are made regionally near Toulouse, and the founders, Carole Garcia and Nathalie Juin, are committed to sustainable development, plus respecting the area’s biodiversity. I swear by their Organic Purifying Scrub. It is available for around $25. Sadly, they don’t ship to the United States.
2. La Tuile à Loup – 35 Rue Daubenton, 75005 Paris, France – metro Censier-Daubenton
Probably my favorite shop, La Tuile a Loup (the Tile Wolf) has been in business for over 40 years. It’s cozy interior features all manner of handmade pottery crafted by French artisans from across the country. Products range from colorful café au lait bowls, to plates decorated with lively geese, to mammoth tureens topped by rustic rabbits. The prices here run about as high as a kiln’s temperature, but once you hold one of their plates in your hand you’ll be forever hooked. Bonus! They offer worldwide shipping.
3. La Maison du Savon de Marseille – 17 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris, France – metro Hôtel de Ville
This is the only soap I will use and it is annoyingly hard to find in the US. This chain of 30 franchised boutiques sells over 1.2 million bars of soap a year. I can see why, they have over 200 fragrances, are 100% made in France, they only use perfumes from Grasse to scent their soaps, and they feature no animal products. They also make an affordable gift.
4. Linvosges – 33 Rue Saint-Placide, 75006 Paris, France – metro Rennes
Linvosges has been making quality linens and fabrics since 1923 in the heart of the Vosges Mountains. Their bedding and bath products are surprisingly affordable – especially if you can catch them on sale. Their sheets and towels range from grandma-frilly to urban-masculine, and I hope to one day have a closet stocked to the top with them. Remember to measure your bed in metrics before leaving as the sizes do not run in Twin, Queen, King as they do in the US, rather they are in centimeters. They do deliver to the states, but the delivery fee starts at $50.
5. Bougies De Charroux – 65 Rue d’Argout 75002 Paris, France – metro Sentier
This simple shop offers charming candles in jam jars. They are handmade in Charroux – a village in central France close to Vichy. Priced around $12, they make affordable gifts (or gifts for yourself!). The candles feature iconic scents from Grasse. My favorites are Orange Peel and Citrus.
6. Pierre Talamon – 15 Rue du Temple, 75004 Paris, France – metro Hôtel de Ville
This chic shop in Le Marais is one of the few places I’ve found that sells wonderfully made menswear directly from an independent French designer. The pieces aren’t one of a kind, but they are of limited production. Many items are made in France and the store also offers custom orders. The prices will cost you more than H&M, but for the quality they are well worth what you will pay.
7. Faye – 76 Avenue Paul Doumer, 75116 Paris, France – metro La Muette
In business for over 20 years, this snug shop sells all things luxury gastronomie. Yes, you can get great specialty foods all over town, but what gets me in the door here is their wonderful selection of hard-to-find olive oils. I specifically go for Moulin de Calanquet’s award winning oils. This is the only place I’ve found them sold outside of Saint Remy de Provence.
8. Sources Vives Jerusalem – 10 Rue des Barres, 75004 Paris, France – metro Pont Marie
I’m not particularly religious, but this shop of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem is one of my go to spots for unique gifts, as well as fun treats for myself. In addition to religious items, they offer a great selection of jams, candies, honey and soaps – all made at monasteries around France. They do offer delivery, but it is costly.
9. Le Tanneur – 18 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris, France – metro Sèvres-Babylone
The most chain-style store on our list, Le Tanneur has 60 outlets across France and several in Paris. They’ve been making high-quality leather goods since 1898 and now offer classically styled pieces with modern touches. When I carry my Le Tanneur bag around NYC people always ask me where it came from. The shops have items for women and men. While I am partial to their bags, they also stock belts, wallets and other accessories. Belts are custom fitted in stores.
10. Mandarine – 25 Rue Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris, France – metro Saint-Paul
Part of the ultra-quaint Le Village Saint-Paul antique zone, this stylish shop is where to go when you are looking for something a little quirky, but still elegant. The owner Patrice Pellet specializes in art deco and the store is filled with shiny, streamlined objects. My favorites are the lamps featuring dancing nymphs or playful animals. (don’t be scared of buying lamps in France – it is easy and cheap to get them rewired at your local hardware store.) There are also larger pieces (think desks and tables) and a nice assortment of tableware. The prices are Parisian, but I’ve seen a lot of things here I have never come across elsewhere.
Well, those are my favorite places to poke around during a few days in Paris – let me know what your favorites are in the comments section or on our Facebook page.