Traveling to France and Paris, it’s not only about discovering amazing landscapes and enjoying yummy food, but also about Shopping! Paris is the world’s capital for Cosmetics, Fashion, Perfumes, luxury items… Doing your shopping In Paris is a part of the Parisian experience, it’s also a good way to save money by getting products at cheaper prices, thanks to Tax-Refund. Finally, it’s also a good occasion to prepare great gifts for your beloved ones.
In this article, we tried to gather all the useful information you need to enjoy your shopping time in Paris: the best areas for shopping, the best places for specific kinds of products, the best discount coupons, and several useful Parisian tips (about tax refund, security, etc…).
While the city is studded with fabulous boutiques and stores, there are some specific areas for shopping with a higher concentration of shops, and ultra-popular shopping districts.
The most emblematic and eclectic area for shopping in Paris is Le Marais: you can find there fashion niche brands, vintage stores, artisan and handcrafted jewelry, antiques, fine art galleries... More info about Marais district on the article here.
Getting there: Metro Saint-Paul (Line 1) or Hotel de Ville (Line 1, 11)
Once described as “the belly of Paris” by Emile Zola, the Forum des Halles used to be the main Parisian main market. This area was transformed in the 70s into a multi-level underground shopping center Les Halles area hosts major chain shops and trendy boutiques where great deals can be made. You can find nearby two of the longest shopping arteries of Paris, Rue de Rivoli, and Rue de Montorgueil.
Getting there: Metro Chatelet-Les Halles (Line 1, 4, 7, 11, 14, RER A, B).
If you are looking for high-end Brands, luxury fashion brands, and designer shopping there are plenty of shops near Champs-Elysées and the "Triangle d'Or" (Golden triangle formed by Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and Rue Francois), with legendary designers like Chanel and Dior lining the street with flagship boutiques.
Getting there: Metro Alma Marceau (Line 9), Franklin D. Roosevelt (Lines 1 and 9), George V (Line 1), RER A (Charles de Gaulle-Etoile).
Rue Saint-Honoré, Rue de la Paix, and Place Vendôme are also studded with flagship shops from classic designers, but you will also find many high-end watches brand flagships (around Vendôme, such as Rolex, Hublot, Blancpain, Boucheron, Patek Phillippe, Breguet...) as well as jewelry.
Getting there: Metro Concorde, Tuileries (Line 1), Pyramides (Line 7, 14)
The area around Bourse is the main area for collection shops (stamps, coins...) with also many antic shops. Also make sure to check out the old-world elegance (and high-quality boutiques such as bookshops, artisan shops...) of the old covered "arcades" (passageways) in the area, such as Galerie Vivienne, Passage Jouffroy, passage du Grand Cerf…
Getting there: Metro Bourse (line 3).
Last but not least, Boulevard Haussmann is one of the greatest areas for shopping, thanks to the Department stores (more info just below).
Getting there: Metro Havre-Caumartin (Line 3 or 9), Opera (Lines 3, 7, 8), RER Auber (Line A).
Paris Grands Magasins are historically one of the firsts Department stores in the world. A novelty shop called Au Bon Marché (that does not exist anymore) had been founded in Paris in 1838 to sell items like lace, ribbons, sheets, mattresses, buttons, and umbrellas... It was famous for its marketing innovations, a reading room for husbands while their wives shopped, extensive newspaper advertising, entertainment for children...
There are nowadays 5 main Grands Magasins: Galeries Lafayette, La Samaritaine, Le BHV Marais, le Printemps, and Le Bon Marché. They all date back to the second half of 19th century. Our favorite is from far Galeries Lafayette, the biggest department store in Europe.
Galeries Lafayette is much more than a department store: it's a beautiful historical building that is worth the visit, with for example the famous "Dôme" as well as the amazing rooftop with a great view of Paris. But Galeries Lafayette provides many activities such as French cooking classes (for more detail, have a look at our article).
In terms of shopping, Galeries Lafayette is definitely a heaven: its 70,000 m2 display a very wide range of brands (more than 3500!) and products to suit all budgets, from ready-to-wear to haute couture. One building is dedicated to men's shopping, an other to Food and Home. The main building, la Coupole, has many floors dedicated to different types of products: Wellness center (underground), beauty cosmetics and accessories (1st floor), women's fashion (2nd to 4th floor), lingerie and accessories (5th floor), children fashion and toys (6th floor), books and souvenirs (7th floor). If you plan to shop in Galeries Lafayette, don't miss our exclusive offers here.
Address and transportation: 40, Boulevard Haussmann 75009 Paris. Metro line 7, 9 (Chaussée d'Antin-La Fayette station), Metro line 3, 7, 8 (Opéra station, RER line A (Auber station), RER line E (Haussmann-St Lazare).
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00-20:00 / Sunday & holidays 11:00-20:00.
If you are searching for a less hectic Department store, you can also try Le BHV Marais. It is considered the Parisian favorite department store (whereas other department stores are more tourist/foreign customers oriented). Located in le Marais, it has a very large range of products: from luxury fashion brands, popular affordable clothing, stationery, kitchen appliances, home facilities, food or drink for souvenirs, interior decorations, furniture, DIY items, and so on.
Address and transportation: 52 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris. Metro line 1 or 11 (Hôtel de Ville station).
Opening hours: Mon - Sat 10:00 - 20:00, Sun 11:00 - 19:00
An outlet (or factory shop) is a store in which manufacturers sell their stock directly to the public. The stock can be from previous years' collections but is sold a very discounted prices, much cheaper than the original prices (even though it's not secondhand). So if you are ready to wear products that are not form the latest collection, it's the perfect place to make good deals on high-end brands. There are no outlet in Paris itself, but several in Paris Region (1 to 2 hours transportation from Paris center).
The best Parisian Outlet is from far La Vallée Village. It is not too far from Paris (around one hour, more information on how to get there by clicking here) and very near to Disneyland Paris. The outlet is very nice to explore since all the shops are inside traditional French style houses: you really feel you are shopping in a Village! There are also several options for eating in the Village.
In terms of shopping, there are more than 110 shops with many high-end luxury brands. The discounts are up to 70% off. And with O'bon Paris coupons, you can get extra discounts and a free treat in La Vallée Village. In order to enjoy it, download your VIP Pass on the link on that page. Once you arrive in La Vallée, go directly to the Welcome desk, show your VIP Pass and get your discount and treat cards.
Address and transportation: 3 Cours de la Garonne, 77700 Serris, RER A (Val d'Europe station).
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00 - 20:00, Sat-Sun 9:00 - 20:00
France is the world leader in cosmetics and has some of the world’s most famous beauty brands. As a result, buying cosmetics in France is usually much cheaper than in other countries, with a huge range of choices adapted to different types of skin.
Parapharmacie Monge is the ultimate Parisian destination for skincare and cosmetics. The place is famous for its very competitive prices and its very tourist-friendly policy, with a 15% tax refund and a 10% O'bon Paris discount coupon. You can find there all the mainstream cosmetic brands such as Bioderma, Avène, La Roche-Posay, Nuxe, Darphon, Sisley... but also new and trendy Parisian brands that might not be yet famous abroad.
Address and transportation: 78 rue Monge, 75005 Paris, Metro line 7 (Place Monge station).
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8:30-20:00, and some Sundays (check on this page).
If you are searching for Perfume and makeup products, the perfume shop in Front of Monge, Burdin, has a large choice of brands. You can also enjoy additional discounts with O'bon Paris coupon.
France is also a great country for bargain hunters! There are plenty of places where you can find second hands or antique products, and make great deals if you like Vintage items. Second-hand shops can be found anywhere in Paris, but there are usually more concentrated in a few areas, such as Le Marais. There are some focusing on vintage luxury products, and some others selling more casual vintage ones, such as the Kilos shops (where you pay a price according to the weight of the clothes you buy).
You can get more Infos about second-hand shops in Paris in this article. You can also discover great items during "Brocante" and "Vide-greniers". Brocante are flea markets ((led by professional sellers) and vide-greniers open air jumble sales (with individual sellers). These events are usually in the open air, mostly during spring and summer. Each town, each city quarter organizes its own flea markets, which usually last for a day and are mostly on weekends.
Apart from the temporary summer flea markets, there are also permanent flea markets in Paris. The most famous one is "Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen", the biggest in the world, which was created in 1870. You can find almost everything there from rare and expensive antiques to trinkets. However, since the sellers are all professionals, it's difficult to make a very good deal (and you need to bargain the prices).
Getting there: Metro Porte de Clingancourt (Line 4) or Garibaldi (Line 13)
Opening hours: Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Another option is the Vanves Flea market (Puces de Vanves) and its 300 stalls, located in the south of the 14th Arrondissement of Paris. The Flea market in Vanves is more of a place to find knick-knack and hotchpotch: vintage dinnerware, all sorts of collectibles, old photographs, and some vintage clothing.
Getting there: Tramway Line 3 (Didot station), Metro Line 13 (Porte de Vanves station).
Opening hours: Saturdays and Sundays & Mondays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Finding souvenirs in Paris is easy: there are hundreds of shops around tourist areas, selling the same products: small Eiffel towers, berets, Parisian tote bags… but most of them are usually not made in France. It’s a bit awkward to bring a souvenir from France, which has been made very far away. That’s why recommend you to focus on Made in France souvenirs. There are few shops focusing on selling only made-in-France products. Our favorite is “Paris est toujours Paris”.
It is located in one of the most beautiful covered passages of Paris, Passage Jouffroy. The shop has a huge variety of souvenirs, from traditional Eiffel-Tower-related ones (but made in France!) to porcelain, clothes, umbrellas... It's the perfect place to find souvenirs if you don't have a clear idea about what to bring for your relatives. Click here to download a 10% discount coupon for you purchases there.
Location and opening hours : 47 Passage Jouffroy, 75009 Paris (Metro line 8 Grands Boulevards). Opened every day, 11:00-19:00.
Berets are also very emblematic of France, but most of the cheap berets sold in Paris are made in foreign countries. The only brand to produce Beret in France, near Pyrénées moutain, is Laulhere. Click here to download our exclusive 10% discount voucher for your purchases at Laulhère Heritage.
Location and opening hours: 7 Rue la Vieuville, 75018 Paris (Metro line 12 Abbesses Station). Opened daily, 11:00-19:00.
In this section, you will find all the info you need to know to enjoy fully your Parisian shopping time: Coupons and discounts, Tax Refund, Sales, Security, Returns, exchanges and consumer rights, Opening hours and Holidays...
O'bon Paris has built partnerships with many Parisian stores to help you get better prices through discount coupons. You can check all our coupons by clicking here.
How to use your coupons? it's very simple. For most of them, you can download them, and you will receive them directly to your mails (with a unique QR code). In case you haven't received them, check your spam box! Then you just need to show them prior to payment to enjoy your discount. Check carefully the conditions, some might not apply to certain brands / already discounted items. For Galeries Lafayette coupon, you can directly show the bar code from the coupon page to receive your advantages. For La Vallée Village, follow the link on the coupon page to download a special coupon: with this coupon, you can get vouchers on your arrival at the "Welcome Desk".
Tax Refund is a very good chance to shop at a cheaper price, but the process is not always easy to understand. Here are the information you must know about Tax-Free shopping in France.
If your primary residence is in a non-EU country at the time of your purchase, you may be eligible for a refund of the VAT on the price of goods you purchased in France. You also need to be at least 16 years old and to have been in France for less than six months. The total amount of your purchases, inclusive of all taxes, must be greater than €100. They must have been bought in the same shop and on the same day. At the time of purchase, request the retailer a VAT Tax Refund Document, which must be signed by both the retailer and you. You also need to show your Passport at the shop to do this step.
When you leave European Union from France, you need to get an electronic stamp on your VAT refund form, using a PABLO terminal (the easiest way). You can also do the manual procedure, French Customs will stamp and return the two sheets of your VAT refund form to you (you then need to send the stamped form to the retailer). Make sure you have your purchases on your carry-on for the customs officer to check (This doesn’t always happen, but it can). Drop your tax refund form in the mailbox at the refund station. You will receive your refund within the Next 30 – 90 days on the same credit card you purchased the item with.
If you leave France by train, you must have your VAT refund forms stamped by customs, either during your journey or at the border crossing station (at the EU exit point). If you leave the European Union from another Member State than France: after an inspection, the customs office of the Member State will stamp and return your forms. When you return to your country of residence, you send the stamped form to the retailer.
Last but not least, some shops offer "Immediate Tax Refund" options: when you pay with your card, you directly pay the price without taxes. However, you still need to get the stamp at a PABLO Terminal, and then send the documents to the Tax-Free company dealing with the retailer (it can be Planet, Global Blue...): if you don't, the tax will be taken again from your card.
Sales in France are highly regulated. French shops can have special promotions, but it’s not the same. During “les soldes”, shops are allowed to sell at a loss, in order to sell their stock, and that is why you get such incredible values.
Winter sales (soldes d'hiver) start in January (usually the 2nd Wednesday of January), Summer sales (soldes d'été) start in June (last Wednesday of June), they both last for four weeks, and discounts keep increasing during that time. There are huge bargains to be made. During the sold period, the product sold are often not refunded and can't be exchanged.
Paris is pretty safe compared with other major cities. However, like in other touristic cities, there are thieves targeting tourists. Usually, the concentration of pickpockets is much higher near touristic places (airports, famous museums, Shopping malls...) so be extra careful especially in public transportation or in the crowds. While shopping, always keeps an eye on your stuff. Don't drop your bag or your purchases for even a single minute. Keep your personal belongings in your bag, check that it is well closed and wear it in front of you. Try to keep just the minimum amount of cash in your wallet, and don't show it openly when you pay. If you remain vigilant, you will be able to enjoy fully your trip and will not face robbery. In case of emergency, the police number is 17 in France. The French emergency services are also available by calling the Europe-wide emergency number (112).
Before leaving any shop, always check at the counter that all the products you paid for are in the bag. After that, if you realize that one product is missing, it will be very hard for you to prove it.
Under French Consumer law, you are entitled to return a purchase within seven days if you change your mind. But of course perishable goods, audio/video and computer software, magazines are not covered by this law. Keep all packaging and do not remove price tags, you also need to shop your receipt/facture.
Generally, goods such as, for example, electrical goods, come with a Commercial Guarantee. This allows the consumer to be reimbursed, or the item repaired or replaced. Each seller or manufacturer is free to decide their own terms and for how long these terms exist.
The standard shopping day in France, from Monday to Saturday, starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 7 p.m. Most large stores and shopping malls will remain open all day, and close later. Most traditional shops, especially in smaller towns, will close for two to three hours at lunchtime. Sunday in France is still for most people a day of rest, and most shops are not allowed to open, except main stores and malls in Paris.
You already know that France is famous for the high number of holidays. But this could somehow disturb your shopping plans while traveling to Paris, so check the dates before not to miss shopping opportunities: On Christmas, New Year's Day, 1st May and 14th July, virtually all shops are closed (there can be some exceptions like Grands Magasins, but if you plan to shop on one of the days, check carefully before). There are some other public holidays in France when many shops might close: Easter Day (April), May 8th, Whit Monday (early June), August 15th (Assumption Day), November 1st and November 11th. Internet info might not be updated so it's always better to contact the shop before to be sure. Local shops/family shops are more likely to be closed during school holidays (especially between Christmas and New Year, and during Summer time).
While spending your energy shopping, you must have worked up an appetite. Luckily, there are plenty of options to eat nearby shopping areas. If you shop in Galeries Lafayette, you have plenty of options inside the mall such as EL&N café Paris or MamaSens. Near Pharmacy Monge, you will find plenty of good and cheap options in the famous "Rue Mouffetard". You can also try the Restaurant Terra Nera, where many scenes of Emily in Paris were shot. In la Vallée Village, you have different options, such as Menu Palais (fancy one) or Prêt à Manger (cheap and quick). While shopping in Marais, you could try La Table Cachée or the famous Les Pinces.
Author and photos: O'bon Paris team