Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès, Lacroix, Lacoste…
The Eiffel Tower might not be the main reason you’ve planned a trip to Paris. The French capital is also a world capital of fashion.
...Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Pierre Cardin.
While all these designer names might leave your wallet wincing, there’s no reason to fear. Parisian fashion doesn’t just come off the catwalk. There are boutiques to suit all budgets.
Second-hand clothing has been in the UK for years, catering from the fashion-forward student to the money-tight mom. Now, over the last few years, more and more second-hand/vintage shops have popped up in Paris. They’re called “Friperies” (from “Fripe” = clothes). And you can pick up some real bargains.
My favourite friperies are in the Marais quarter. It’s great because they’re open on Sundays when the rest of Paris is shut. I recommend Free’p’Star, where last year I picked up a summer tea-dress for ten euro. And the zipper hasn’t broken yet! They’re open from Monday-Friday from 11am-9pm and the weekend from 12am-9pm. While you’re there, check out Vintage Désir, another friperie just around the corner. They’re great if you like creating original looks for low prices.
If you like your clothes good value and ready-to-wear, but not already worn, try the infamous Rue de Rivoli, which gets super busy on the weekends. Here is where you’ll find favorites such as H&M, Zara and Mango. Just don’t wear high heels, or go on Saturday afternoon.
If you prefer malls to the busy main street, Le Bon Marché is a designer department store with not only your favourite international brands, but also a mouthwatering food floor across the road. Another good, luxury-based department store is the Galeries Lafayette, which you should definitely go to if you happen to be in town during the biannual soldes (sales).
That being said, you can’t go to Paris without at least doing some lèche-vitrines (literally “window-licking”) on the Rue Saint-Honoré. Even if you can’t afford to buy anything, act like you’re a multi-millionaire and try on scarves at Hermès (number 24) or ties at Yves Saint Laurent (number 34). You could even treat yourself to a purse from Longchamp, even though you might not have much left to put in it…
Free’p’Star, 8 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004
Vintage Désir, 32 Rue des Rosiers, 75004
Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Bon Marché, 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007
Galeries Lafayette, 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009
Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001