Paris, next to all the historical attractions, offers world renowned shopping so we have the shopping list Paris edition. This is my list of some shops I follow my wife around to. Wimp you say, following your wife around. Not a chance I say. Parisian, French, women put an effort above and beyond into looking good. Paris provides the opportunities and then some. To see the rigor of this ritual, the dedication the Parisian women put into this task is a pleasure. The benefits of seeing my wife in the European styles (not all the choices on the list are French but are all readily available in Paris) is the cherry on top. Many women around the world, of course, make the extra effort to look good (keep on doing it, we men do appreciate it) but, in Paris, it goes to the next level. Paris, being the top tourist destination, means mixed in with the numbers of Parisian women partaking in this ritual are the many tourists who want to join the club, my wife included (although we did live there for over two years so my wife was a bona fide member for a while). In addition to basking in the watching of the attractive French women (tourists and my wife as well) engaged in this ritual (could be better than lining up to see an old building that quite possibly is covered in scaffolding as ancient structures do need care), some of these shops on the list do offer men’s apparel as well. For me, having a slimmer build, Parisian shopping also works with the more tailored European styles being more appropriate for me (I don’t like to think of myself dressing stylishly, rather, I like to think I dress appropriately).
So the list:
I once made the comment on posting Zadig in Pinterest, that I was sure they must own Paris by now. My wife and I started shopping there years ago when there were only a few shops. Yes, I shop there as they do have men’s wear as well but not in all the shops. They now have a multitude of their own stores and they are in every major department store. Looks like they are starting to get to North America as well but the last time we talked to an employee in a store, they checked and the only retail store they had in North America was in New York at that time. I think the biggest individual store and perhaps our favourite is at 3 rue du Vieux Colombier steps away from St. Sulpice so you can shop after visiting a major church attraction (this is the St. Sulpice church of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code fame). Careful at this Zadig location, though, as there are two store fronts, one with only small main floor displays while the bigger major shop is a store front that goes up stairs to a significant women’s and men’s area.
Zadig does have much of their line with their trademark skull or wings on their apparel. I once picked up a nice polo but the one underneath had the skull embroidered quite largely on the back. Not quite my style but it does say you have a Zadig et Voltaire garment. I opted for the plainer style and there is certainly plenty of choices from the plainer to the wilder street ware. The trademarks can be more subtle as well. My wife has a cashmere sweater where the buttons are understated skulls.
Every picture tells a story. Nothing for guys here; everything for guys here, if you catch my drift. Actually I did see a homme line advertised; never saw it in the stores but I may have been distracted. Lingerie in Paris is a complete different level. Look at North American store displays and then at Parisian displays and tell me which one might entice a male shopper to come in with his wife. But the Parisian women are there, with or without the distracted husband or boyfriend. There are many quality lingerie boutiques and La Perla is up there with any. Again they are in all major department stores but the boutique we like is at 20 Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. La Perla is my wife’s favourite, mine too, perhaps different garments for different reasons.
The Parisian women are not shy about their sensuality. My site here exists because I am a writer. In my novel, ‘Ralph and the Girl From Mayfair Towers’, I take a stab at some sensuality although I add a mystic twist unique to the characters involved. Needless to say, the sensuality part was influenced by my time in Paris, the Parisian women’s sensuality and boutiques like La Perla.
May as well stay on Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré (it is the quintessential Parian shopping street), across the street and up a block from La Perla is Tod’s at 21 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Again Tod’s is in all major department stores and there are a few other boutiques. When I walk into my wife’s closet, the first thing that strikes me is the number of Tod’s shoe boxes. Now, my wife is not a shopaholic. She does buy small quantities of quality items that last and Tod’s shoes are quality products. By the way, there is a Tod’s shoe box in my closet as well. Again as an Italian shoe maker, a narrower fit, which suits me. Beyond shoes, my wife might happen to have a Tod’s purse as well. These quality leather products make Tod’s another favourite of ours.
… And further up Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré is another non-French store, Burberry. Actually our favourite Burberry in Paris is 8 Boulevard Malesherbes but again, a number of locations including department stores. While this British brand, Burberry, has grown internationally, still we find the selection in Paris rivals what we would find in London.
Better go back to an actual French brand for shopping in Paris and there is none more recognizably French than Lacoste. I think the traditional Lacoste polo is still king of the polo shirts. With more trips to Paris, I have branched out to Zadig and Cerruti, but nothing is more known than Lacoste. Where to find Lacoste? Hmm, if you can’t find a store, wait the minute or so it takes to see someone wearing something Lacoste and ask where they got it (if you do and speak as little or less French than I do, don’t forget the language barrier; it is always best to start, excusez-moi, est-ce que vous parlez Anglais). For my wife and while more known for men’s wear, my wife has a fair amount of Lacoste, and myself, having lived just outside Paris in St. Germain en Laye, we go to the local Lacoste shop there. When we lived there, it was about a five minute walk from our front door, which may be the average time it takes to find somewhere that sells something Lacoste in Paris.
With respect to my wife and women’s wear, she has a number of comfortable knee length Lacoste dresses. These casual sporty dresses go with some comfortable but stylish walking shoes (she has Campers, Salamanders even Adidas but Lacoste themselves has some), which don’t look like you should be at the gym, to make an outfit that makes it comfortable to get around without looking too touristy.
French casual wear for women only. You guessed, available in all major department stores but many individual boutiques as well. While my wife has a nice selection of clothes from Comptoir, I don’t think we have a favourite shop yet. Perhaps because of a bit lower price (not that low, this is Paris) and many of our purchases being during the two big sales times (January and June), it has always been best to combine other purchases at department stores to qualify for the detax. For those who really like to stick with the individual store, I would suggest one kitty corner to the Zadig I mentioned earlier, at 12 Place Saint-Sulpice.
This left bank area that I mentioned for Comptoir and Zadig store locations also includes the couple other shoe shops I briefly mentioned, Camper at 1 Rue du Cherche-Midi and Salamander at 125 Boulevard Saint-Germain. Again, no problem finding them elsewhere but we do like this left bank area bordered by one of the Grands Magasins, Le Bon Marché and St. Sulpice and Boulevard Saint-Germain. All the boutiques and you can stop at the famous Poilane at 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi for some baked goods. But then bakeries and eating in Paris would be a whole other blog than the shopping list Paris edition.
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