In Paris, the historical world capital of style and fashion, every aspect of life can fall into the stylish category – it’s almost a question of philosophy. Whether it’s the clothes you wear or the way you cook, the coffee beans you grind or the bed linen you choose for your home, it’s all carefully thought out and assembled. But you don’t have to be from Paris to buy into the fantasy – just pay a visit to one of these uniquely Parisian stores next time you’re in town …
For curated fashion
Set up a few years ago by young designer Morgane Sézalory, who wanted to do things differently and start as an online-only fashion label with no shops, Sézane has since grown, with 1.3m followers on Instagram, but still operates in the same innovative way. There is now a lovely appartement in the heart of Paris where you can try on clothes, shoes, accessories and jewels, and a conciergerie where you can order them online. Committed to sustainable fashion, the label’s materials are all sourced, and everything is mostly made, in Europe. Delivery is ace and extra reliable. The style is effortlessly chic.
*Sézane, 12 Rue Saint-Fiacre, 75002 Paris. sezane.com
An alternative to Sézane is the equally sustainable and organic fashion label, Ekyog.
Ekyog, 23 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris. ekyog.com *
For bags of style
Dominique Picquier is a Parisian woman with fizzing ideas and natural chic. An artist, she started drawing designs for fabric and wallpapers for others before setting up her own fabric label and shop and acquiring a small leather factory in the south of France, so she could control all the different stages of the production. The result is great quality and products that last. Her bags have thus become a must-have. My favourite is the pochette style in the mimosa pattern (from €59).
Dominique Picquier, 10 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris. dominiquepicquier.com
For sustainable cool
Eco-friendly chic finds an ideal home in Paris, where some French habits have been championing sustainability for decades. Take, for instance, the Parisian love for secondhand vintage: Paris has been a leader since it created flea markets in the 1890s. And this includes furniture, jewels, paintings, ceramics and more. For a time-travelling experience, and the opportunity to pick up vintage beauties at smart prices, head towards the north of Paris, to Saint-Ouen. My favourite part is Marché Biron, but you can also pick up great one-off pieces from the other existing 15 markets. Last time there, we spotted Pete Doherty, Vanessa Paradis and Léa Seydoux.
Marché Biron, 85 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen. Saturday to Monday only. marcheauxpuces-saintouen.com
For haute homeware
A recent trend in Paris has been the conversion of former warehouses or factories into galleries and shops. Merci, standing halfway between République and Bastille, is a grand magasin whose range of products, from knitted clothes to kitchenware, bed linens and stationery, have been carefully curated by Merci’s army of scouts travelling the world for the best of independent designers. Their cafe, sheltered in their secondhand bookshop, offers a nice place for a quick rest.
Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris. merci-merci.com
Paris museums’ shops can sometimes offer the ultimate stylish experience with products as carefully curated as the exhibitions. One of my favourites is the Musées des Arts Décoratifs’ boutique, near the Louvre, where you will find the latest French design in glassware, ceramics, jewels and stationery.
Musées des Arts Décoratifs, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. madparis.fr
For keen foodies
Last time you walked around Les Halles, right in the heart of Paris, you may have wondered why there were so many kitchen utensil shops. Les Halles was, as writer Émile Zola called it in the 1870s, “the belly of Paris”: a 24-hour-a-day market where all the food products of France converged to be sold to chefs and restaurants. This marvel of 1860s architecture by Victor Baltard – which has provided the setting for scenes in many novels, such as James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room – was demolished in 1971, but many restaurants have remained, some still open day and night, as well as those famous kitchen shops. Two, almost facing each other, at the beginning of Rue Montmartre, are worth a detour. Mora was founded in 1814, and La Bovida in 1921. Feel like a pro and step inside the two temples of cooking to discover devices you never thought existed.
For coffee connoisseurs
You don’t think chic applies to coffee? Head straight to Café Vernet, founded in 1880, and you’ll change your mind. The small café, recently restored to its belle époque cosiness, is a hidden gem and a shelter after an exhausting day of shopping. You’ll be able to sip your coffee from a selection of around 50 different varieties and house blends and, more importantly, you may buy it in whole beans or pre-ground. Try the Grand Pavois, created in 1921 by Auguste Vernet: not too strong, it has rose notes (8€ for 250g). Vernet is also well-known for its homemade fruits confits, candied fruits, which usually get passersby to stop in their tracks.
Café Vernet, 256 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris. verlet.fr