The French make some of the cutest children’s clothes. It’s like buying doll clothes for babies. Tartine et Chocolat and also Bonpoint are two of the most famous and their shops near Place Vendome and in St.-Germain-des-Prés, respectively, have a selection from 0 to pre-teen.
On the other hand, shopping for large sizes in Paris can be a challenge. A few years ago I was shopping the Paris January sales with a friend of mine. He happens to be 6’4". Long story short, it proved tough to find a shirt and pants that fit him. So, here on this list, you’ll find included a shop that fits the big and tall kind, as well as one that specializes in tuxedos and men's formalwear rentals. When you're in a bind as to what to wear to that black-tie affair, this shop, Au Cor du Chasse, comes in handy for the gentlemen.
For us ladies… If I could shop at one store and one store only that would be Hermès. Or Chanel. One day, I will. But for now I will just fake it with previously loved designerwear jewels from Didier Ludot's fabulous vintage boutique in the Palais Royal where it's all about the little black dress. That, paired with one of their silk scarves, and you really wouldn’t need to wear anything else…
But, for those of us who still pull our fashion looks together on a budget, I’ve listed some great shops for men, women and children where, paired with your eye for style, you can dress like the best and demurely tell everyone, I got it in Paris, darling, where else ?!
For sporty-minded guys and gals there's a shop called The Kooples. They have a spin-off boutique just for sportswear. Here you can spend some fun together-time shopping for his-n-hers.
Didier Ludot La Petite Robe Noir
Didier Ludot is the famous haute-couture vintage shop located at the Palais-Royal. He opened a complimentary boutique on the other side of the gardens, in the Galeries de Valois, that carries exclusively little black couture vintage dresses.
It's true, you can't help but feel like Audrey (Hepburn, that is) when you're browsing through his racks. His taste is impeccable and you'll find only the best labels: Balenciaga, Dior, Chanel, Chloé, Hermès, etc.
If you have time to shop for more than just that one exquisite black dress that will have you looking fabulous no matter where you go and with whom, then do head over to the Montpensier side of the Palais-Royal galleries for a peek into his main boutique. Yes, it's all vintage, too.
Tartine et Chocolat
Clothing shopping for the kids is one of the most entertaining kind of shopping you can do in Paris. Some of the little bon-bon like shoes, tops, ensembles and accessories that these kids' clothing shops come up with are so sweet they're tempting to eat.
This is one of the best and even the name of the shop is what you often eat for breakfast as a child in France. Both boys and girls clothes can be found here and for expecting mothers, this is a much appreciated, high-end registry for the newborn. The other shop in Paris that is convenient and well-stocked is their Blvd. St. Germain location. (0147421068)
Herve L. Leroux
This couturier is famous for sculpting women's bodies. In the age of curves, his is a good address to know. Most of his dresses are made to order, but this shop here in the heart of St. Germain-des-Pres has a few racks of ready to wear. These dresses are the epitome of elegance and femininity. Who wears these dresses? Think Dita von Teese and Monica Bellucci, women who look, well, like women.
This look hugs curves and also shows curves off to their best light. Anyone familiar with the Herve Leger brand will instinctually recognize these designs and, indeed, this is the couturier who originated that brand. Now he designs his own creations under this brand name. (01 40 46 91 64)
The story of Bonpoint, the luxury children's clothing store, begins in 1975 (officially). Prior to that Marie-France Goutal, one of the five founding sisters, was a stylist at Dior. She and her sister Dominique dreamt of dressing their children in the kind of clothes they adored. BonBon was born.
Their meeting with an antiquarian, a man who owned a shop called The Point, was the alchemy that created Bonpoint. 120 shops worldwide later, this children's clothing brand dominates in the highest circles (think princesses, princes and celebrity royalty).
Their concept shop in St.-Germain-des-Prés really is worth stopping into. It's housed in its own self-standing townhouse. Each fabulous themed room leads to the next even more fabulous room. During the warm months, its terrace café offers a secret little spot in which to relax and repose. Toys and books complete the children's shopping scenario. (01 40 51 98 20)
I wandered into these boutiques for a solid year without having any clue that it's a sustainable fashion line. A sustainable French – as in Made In France – casual wear fashion line. That's saying something.
The boutiques are all over Paris, from Passy to the Marais and their new collections each season have just enough originality to make you feel like you have exerted at least a bit of your personal taste on the trends of the day. Case in point, when everyone was sporting orange, Ekyog revealed its bright yellow jackets. That was nearly two years ago, well before the yellow you see everywhere today in, say, Zara shop windows.
What's more, these clothes, crafted from all sustainable textiles and even some organic cottons, are built to last.
Let's face it, North Americans, for the most part, are just a bigger breed than their European counterparts. This can make shopping in Paris for a man taller than 6' a bit of a, shall we say, challenge ? Thank goodness for Capel Store. The shop specializes in sizes for Big and Tall men or, as they say in their promotional materials, Extra Tall and Extra Large men. For us coming from the US or Canada that translates to normal-sized.
Brands you can find here for your guy include Boss, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren. Their house label, Blue Capel, is aimed at a bit younger, or younger-dressing, client. A nice bonus is that they do on-site tailoring at any of their three Paris locations. (01 42 66 34 21)
The Kooples Sport
This is a Paris cult brand. True to its name, too, it's a his-n-hers clothing store. The ad campaigns always features couples (real couples not photo fake couples) wearing their fashions. And while their street clothes boutiques can be relied upon to feature a heavy dose of black, their sport boutiques offer lighter, more playful fashions for workout wear and leisure.
This clothing brand skews young but that's not to say that there won't be something to be found for all ages. You can dress yourself head to toe here, too. Meaning, you'll find t-shirts, sweatsuits and even tennis shoes. Think young and playful with each season brining a refresh of styles and colors. (01 46 34 83 36)
Chanel has defined class and couture for over a century. Her original boutique on rue Cambon is still there and for fashionistas wanting to make a pilgrimage, is a must-see.
These boutiques on Avenue Montaigne, one of Paris's most glamourous shopping streets, are big and beautiful and always crawling with the best-dressed. The one boutique is across the street from the other, which makes it convenient.
The lady who started it all. Gabrielle Chanel. Aka Coco. The legend lives on under the creative direction of Karl Lagerfeld.
The original boutique at 31 rue Cambon is worth the pilgrimage. History has it that the grande dame herself, Mademoiselle Chanel, used to stand at the top of the staircase and watch her clients being fitted in her creations below.
Chanel never seems to stop dazzling and the house's latest dictum of "tennis shoes to the grocery store" means everyone is sporting tennis shoes and "trainers" absolutely everywhere this season.
At least they are easier to walk in than stilettos on Parisian streets. (01 40 70 82 00)
Au Cor du Chasse
Sometimes when you'r sojourning in the City of Lights, you have to dress the part. And since who ever packs a tuxedo in their suitcases when traveling these days, this shop is there to save the soiree. For 150 years it has specialized in renting tuxedos and tails. Some of the men's suits look they'd be quite fitting for the Versailles Ball while others will easily allow you to guide past the Maitre d' at Paris' one, two and three-star Michelin restaurants.
Likewise, if you've been invited on a hunting trip, you'll find all the required togs in this obscure little shop on the Left Bank, just near Odeon. In other words, dressing the part has never been so easy, nor affordable. (01 43 26 51 89)
The luxuriousness of Hermès. My favorite of their Parisian boutiques is the one on rue Faubourg St. Honoré, just behind the American Embassy. Why ? I find it the most welcoming, the most redolent of the Hermés signature scents of leather horse saddles, printed silk scarves and the scent I remember from childhood, Calèche.
For the sake of this listing, however, I'll leave out the horse bridles and perfumes for now and focus just on the clothing. Available here are men's, women's, children's and babies' clothing in standard sizes. Need I explain that these are clothes that last a lifetime ? The silks are the finest, the cashmeres the softest, the cotton the highest weave and most vigorously brushed, the tweeds and wools sourced from the world's best suppliers.
For a thoroughly different Hermès experience, check out their St.-Germain-des-Près boutique. (01 40 17 47 17)
About Paige Donner
Paige is a transplanted Parisian. She first arrived as a young bride in the early 90s to live in Paris, having uprooted herself from her native California.
From then on it has been an on-again, off-again love affair with the City of Lights, one that has grown fonder over time.
Paige hosts Paris GOODfood+wine which airs on World Radio Paris and is also available on iTunes. When not in Paris Paige often visits vineyards and wine regions. She is also founder of Paris Food And Wine.
As a journalist, Paige writes/has written for the NY Times,LA Times, Michelin Guide, Fodor's, Blackbook, Variety
Read more about Paige Donner here.
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