The accurate name of this outdoor market is Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux Cité. That translates to the Cité Flower and Bird Market, which has been in this same spot since 1808. But most people refer to it just as the Flower Market, or the Marché aux Fleurs. At any rate, the birds are only there on Sundays, when they are displayed in their fine gilt cages, including some of the rarest of species. The Paris flower market offers an in-the-countryside bucolic walk through stalls overflowing with flowers of every color, variety, scent and species. It's open every day throughout the year (closed major holidays, of course, as this is France) from 8 am to 7pm. The green metallic pavillions that harbor thousands upon thousands of potted plants and cut flowers have been the subject of just as many sketches, paintings and other artistic tributes throughout the ages.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This market has existed here since 1808. On Sundays it's a bird market, too.
Paige's expert tip: This historic flower market was renamed this year in 2014 in honor of Queen Elizabeth II: Marché aux Fleurs - Reine Elizabeth II.
The Grand Palais is one of the most emblematic landmarks of the Parisian Capital. It was built for the Universal Expo in 1900 and has graced the city with its iconic glass rooftop ever since. Today it has multi-functions, part event space - it is a Chanel favorite for their Pairis Fashion Week catwalks - and part museum. Only the biggest and grandest exhibits are mounted here, such as for Elizabeth Vigée Lebrun, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Hopper and Miro. The boutiques here offer the most unique, handcrafted gifts that are truly one-of-a-kind, or at least limited editions. It is made up of three distinct areas: La Nef, the National Galleries, and the Palais Decouverte (considered a separate musuem). Since 2000 it has been classified as an historical monument and is widely held as a neo-classic architectural masterpiece. From December to beginning January, it is an ice skating rink.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: As emblematic as the Louvre, this art museum and event monument hosts some of the capital's most sought after exhibitions and events.
Paige's expert tip: The gift shops here feature handmade delicately crafted items from jewelry and tableware to notebooks, games and artwork for the home. The time to visit the Grand Palais and its galleries is now since It will be closing for renovation at the end of 2020 for three years, with a planned re-opening in 2023. It is easily accessible, too, just off the Champs-Elysees. At any given time of the year the vast event space (2700 square meters) hosts salons like Paris Photo, Fiac! (an art trade event), Art Paris.
Shopping when you're traveling, especially to fabulous Paris, is often more about finding the right gifts to give friends and family when you get back home. This brand covers all bases and will please anyone on your list - including yourself. The essential oils used in the products here, be that bath gel, candles or hand soap, are concentrated and of the highest quality. There are no chemicals nor anything fake to be found here - these ingredients are all natural and sourced from the best. The packaging is charming, too, reminiscent of an old chemist's shop. So whether that's a geranium candle you bring back home for your bedside table or a jar of scented hand wash that leaves its scent trace lasting for hours, here is where you can tick off just about every little extra on your list.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This boutique, where the native French body care line was borne, sits right at the center of some of the Marais' best shopping.
Paige's expert tip: These products are all natural based and the fragrances are long-lasting. Of course, you pay for quality, but in this case a little bit goes a long way and lasts a good amount of time.
For women (and men!) who seek a luxury hair care experience, renowned colorist/stylist Christophe Robin offers his expertise at his bespoke salon in the ultra-trendy Montorgueil district. His motto is "free your hair," and the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Tilda Swinton, Kylie Minogue and Kristin Scott Thomas have all decided to do so, with him. Christophe Robin = pampering. Dedicated to the use of natural products, his complete and creative product line is silicone free, paraben free and use no colorants either. For example, his Regenerating Hair Finish Lotion with Hibiscus Vinegar, when applied to the scalp, helps dissolve sebum and chemical residues, which allows the scalp to breathe, making hair light and airy. Says superstar haircare expert and colorist, Christophe Robin, "In a personal drive towards better health and well-being, I created this line of hair and body care." The full range is available in his boutique and shop online, too!
Recommended for Best Shopping because: On the weekends you will find just about every other bargain hunter and antiques buyer shopping here with you.
Paige's expert tip: At Robin's new salon in central Paris he has created a beautiful space, replete with an oversized Venus clam shell that serves as a place where you can come, play with his products, and have your hair washed. All for free! Then you get to dry your own hair using his boar-bristle bespoke hair brushes. This is an absolute must-outing for the girls.
This precious shop's tag line is Candles since 1643. Its claim is that it was the candle maker to kings, having once furnished the royal court of the Sun King, King Louis XIV with candles for Versailles. That story is intriguing and can be backed up by archival research with the art of their candle making certainly dating back to that era. These candles are of the highest quality and the scents are sublime as well as unusual. It is the kind of gift â" to use their term, The Art of Gifting - for yourself or someone else, that says class, luxury and elegant good taste.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This boutique in the St. Germain/ Odéon district gives a nice alternative to their Marais location, though both smell divine!
Paige's expert tip: Candles are what they are famous for and the scents offered here will keep your nose delighted for a good many moments. They do also have lovely acoutrements, too, such as room sprays and candle snuffers in gorgeous little gift sets.
Part chocolate shop, part sculpture gallery, this Patrick Roger chocolate shop on the picture-perfect Place St. Sulpice is where you can buy a box of top quality, couture chocolates. And if you'd like to have a look at the chocolate maker's sculpture collection, a monumental work (Hippos 2012) is on display upstairs here and spans the whole second floor. Truly one of those "only in Paris" experiences. His other shops, the one on Place Madeleine is also worth visiting. It won the honor of the Best Boutique in Paris last year out of over 6000 boutiques considered for the competition. There, too, you will find the sculptures in the windows, all made of chocolate, as well as a sculpture gallery on the second floor above the chocolate shop.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: When you're torn between indulging in specialty foods shopping or going to an art exhibit, do both - stop in at Patrick Roger's boutiques.
Paige's expert tip: You can buy the book "La sculpture A Du Gout," by Patrick Roger as well as his chocolates at his boutiques all across Paris. And do yourself a cultural favor while indulging your sweet tooth, ask to see the sculpture exhibits upstairs at his Place Madeleine and Place St. Sulpice boutiques. Each features exquisite displays of this master chocolatier's lifesized sculptures in materials ranging from aluminum to steel.
Nearly everyone has heard of the famous French flea markets. Paris is even more well-known for them. The biggest one is this one just at the edge of the city, within a stone's throw (easy walking distance anyway) from the metro station Porte de Clignancourt. But to categorize this as a 'flea market' is a misnomer. The Paul Bert Serpette is a specialized market within the larger 'flea market' which spand several city blocks. This antiques, valuables and fine furniture market, cherished by the world's top interior decorators, is a clearly defined market zone within the larger one. The art and furniture dealers here are savvy and constantly on the look out for the treasure that others have missed. The market is only open Friday-Monday, because, truthfully, most of their business is done internationally by special order. During Maison & Objet and Paris Design Week, the designers and interior decorators looking for that authentic piece flock here in their 'spare time.'
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Scouring this antiques and fine objects market is actually time-saving. In this concentrated area of the larger 'flea market' are all the best dealers.
Paige's expert tip: Extraordinarlily well-organized, the hundred or so vendors at this antiques and fine, one-of-a-kind art and furniture market have on-site shipping service. So if you fall in love with that Robespierre bronze bust from the 18th c., no worries, someone is there to ship it directly back home for you.
Paris' best wine shop can be found tucked discreetly inside a private mansion on Avenue Franklin Roosevelt in the posh Champs-Elysees district of the city. Hotel Dillon is the private mansion of Prince Robert of Luxembourg who is also proud owner of the legendary Bordeaux estate, Chateau Haut-Brion. It is in this newly opened to the public mansion that there is now housed one of the city's finest wine boutiques. It earns its title as one of the finest not only because you can find the 95 - 100 point bottles of wines here, but also because the curators of the cellar, namely sommelier Antoine P�trus working with Prince Robert, have unabashedly chosen to include their personal favorite wines be they from small and little-known producers from France's diverse regions or superstar wine estates. Surprisingly, wandering into this luxurious setting from off the street you needn't in the least feel intimidated. It is the boutique staff's great pleasure to steer you towards a bottle of good wine that will suit any budget (yes, truly!) and any occasion.
This is the gadget store for guys and gals. On the ground floor entry you have all the smart phone and consumer electronic paraphernalia. Downstairs is where you'll find all the kitchen goods like popcorn makers, ionic hair dryers, electric water kettles and even some James Bond-style sunglasses that are actually a video camera. In a country where many of the electronic goods are sold through monopolistic huge dispensary-like stores (FNAC, DARTY) this shop is refreshing as it's human-sized and you can simply pick your choice off the shelf, take it to the cash register, pay for your purchase, and be done with it. Like normal folk. (At the other shops mentioned above you have to take a ticket, stand in line, pay for your purchase then stand in another line to get the order filled. Meanwhile, half your day is gone!)
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Colorful and playful, this fashion-forward luggage line was created by a duo here in Paris.
Paige's expert tip: This shop tends toward the gadget fanatics so you'll find smart phones, wireless ear plugs, surveillance cameras as well as homeware small appliances. Their catalogue reads like a Christmas wish list.
For bags that are versatile, fun, stylish and oozing with that French Touch, look no farther than Longchamp. Here you'll find a wide range of well made leather bags that last throughout the seasons, as well as an ever-changing collection of the classic Le Pilage bags with leather trim that serve equally as well as totes and as handbags. In Paris, your Longchamp bag wears practically like a Parisian uniform, or badge of style. This family-owned business had its first boutique at 390 rue St. Honore, just a hop skip away from where this Paris flagship now stands. Interestingly, the company was founded as a tobacco store and then branched into luggage in 1955. The rest, as they say, is history. Longchamp's frequent collaborations with designers to produce limited editions of Le Pilage bags keeps its collections ever-fresh and inspiring. And its all-leather high-end handbags are definite keepers, too.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Stylish and wearable bags made with that quality French craftsmanship, Longchamp has long been a staple of every well-dressed woman's wardrobe.
Paige's expert tip: This Longchamp boutique occupies prime Paris real estate and places you squarely in the gilded shopping area of rue St. Honore just near Place Madeleine. What's so perfect about getting your Longchamp bag in Paris is that they are sure to have the absolute newest styles on hand and in stock. Meaning, you'll have that "it" bag well before any of your friends do.