City Center Shopping Malls And Outlet Malls Outside Paris

For an easy, unstrenuous afternoon of shopping, a look in at Baby Dior and Chanel, followed by a café on the exquisite terrace at the Village Royal is always a treat and it being so close to Place de la Madeleine makes it ever so convenient. And let’s not forget that the Champs-Elysées is really and truly one big outdoor shopping mall, specked with cavernous galleries, like Le 66, that offer more specialized boutiques and now with free WiFi along the Champs and one Sunday a month designated as a pedestrian zone day, it's getting to feel more and more like an outdoor mall. 

Of course for the real shoppers, scheduling a trek out to One Nation or La Vallée Village for a day of outlet shopping therapy can't be beat. But for those who need or want to stay central, the Forum Des Halles and Les 4 Temps offer plenty of distractions on top of shopping such as restaurants and movie theaters.

The Gare St. Lazare (yes, I am talking about the train station) has been re-done into an indoor shopping mall. It offers more than just the shops for things you’ve forgotten to pack and in fact is as much a destination shopping center now as is its nearby Passage du Havre, just across the street. This little gem of a shopping center will see a new store opening summer '18 of the Danish Sostrene Grene (home decor). 

On the horizon and something to note is the scheduled opening of the massive Post Office on rue du Louvre in the 2nd arrondissement not far from Place Victoire. This post office-indoor mall will house shops, cafés and even a hotel when it opens in the not too distant future. 


In French innovative fashion, the city has quietly begun to renovate existing old structures into newer, dynamic and modern functional attractions. Several decades ago we saw the old Orsay train station turned into a world-class museum. Now, we have the old St. Lazare station, already an anchor in the historical main shopping district of Paris' Grands Boulevards into an indoor shopping center. With 80 boutiques and counting plus the requisite fast food - Burger King and Starbuck's - dining options, this station-cum-shopping center gives you plenty of reason to show up for your Deauville train early. Most of the shops are open until 8pm and its central location, just behind the big famous department stores of Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and C&A on Haussman Boulevard make it an easy stop. And if you don't find what you're looking for in here, you can always pop just across the street to the Passage du Havre, a separate shopping center but one that feels sort of like an exterior annex. Shoes, makeup, clothes, books, toys, games, stationery - there's really not much that you can't find here.

16th Arrondissement - Auteuil Pa
Passy Plaza
Photo courtesy of Passy Plaza, entranceway photo by Paige Donner for USA Today copyright 2014

Passy Plaza is a tucked away little secret of the uppercrust 16th arrondissement. Unless you live in Passy, once home to Benjamin Franklin, you probably have never heard of this little shopping mall as it's rarely listed anywhere. Its main entrance is from rue de Passy, a substantial little shopping street that rivals the best of them in St. Germain. The shops you'll find inside this shopping mall that takes up the ground and lower levels of a high-rise residential building are Zara Home, H&M, Gap, L'Occitane, Monoprix along with luxury clothing, shoes, make up and accessory boutiques. A very large grocery store on the basement level completes the scenario. If you take the back exit, you will pass a parapharmacy and a fantastic kitchen supply shop on your way out. By the way, there is complimentary WiFi throughout the Plaza.

1er Arrondissement

The facelift is now complete, the Forum des Halles renovation is now finished and this is a must stop for shopping. What's more, it's surrounded by all the funky and offbeat boutiques and cafés that make Les Halles a magnet for the youth crowd. The shops both indoors and outdoors are all open now for business. And while it's gotten some criticism for letting in the rain, the sweeping exterior roof lends a graceful accent to this iconic Les Halles landscape. Inside you'll find 180 shops and retail outlets on five levels descending downward. The Espace Créateurs at level -1 showcases young, talented designers. Otherwise there's : Zara, Muji, Petit Bateau, Sephora, Esprit and more. This indoor mall also has movie theaters and direct access to the Metro and RER lines. And there's even an indoor swimming pool.

La Galerie du Carrousel du Louvre
Photo courtesy of Printemps du Louvre au Carrousel du Louvre

Surely only the French are audacious enough to put an indoor shopping mall underneath the world's most famous and revered museum. Nevermind that the Louvre was once home to kings and queens, it is now still home to Mona (Lisa) and Venus (de Milo). That aside, this is one of the loveliest shopping malls, and certainly the most conveniently located one, in Paris. Last year the luxury department store, Au Printemps, opened up a new location at the Carrousel to much fanfare. Among the boutiques you can find here are a Fragonard perfume shop, Lalique, Nature et Découverte and Yellow Korner, which is a chain store of high-end frameable art photos. The Point WC â€" privately run public toilets - here is also convenient and clean. There is actually even a food court here, too. It offers a dozen or more choices and seating for hundreds.

The newest metro line, Line 14, delivers you straight to Bercy Village. So, if you leave from the Madeleine stop, it's only about 10 or 15 minutes. For the summer time especially, this is a great choice since the way the outdoor mall is laid out is really more like a village. Amidst quasi-cobblestoned streets and stone façade storefronts, you'll find in your wanderings here an Agnés b., Alice Délice, Sephora, Arteum and more. And Eric Kayser, the famous Parisian baker, has a lunch room here at Bercy. Nice. When Bercy Village opened a good few years ago, people were as excited about the dining choices as its shopping options. I guess it's a matter of perspective. The thing is, when you're traveling, you often have several perspectives to please all at the same time. Bercy Village, then, can serve as a very pleasing choice.

La Defense

With just about 46 million visitors per year, this indoor shopping mall at La Defense is one of the biggest that is the closest to the city. La Defense looks like it's far away but it really is only a couple of metro stops after the Champs-Elysees. In this modern-feeling shopping center, you will find all the usual stores such as Comptoir des Cotonniers, American Vintage, Claudie Pierlot, Bose, Darty, FNAC etc. The metro stops just at the shopping center and you can get off at Grand Arche La Defense. The Grand Arche is the imposing architiectural reference that you can see from a great distance (such as from Place de la Concorde) that marks this area just at the outside of Paris that is known as La Defense.

This St. Lazare area is known mostly for the big French department stores of Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette who have their main branches nearby. But once you've had your fill of those, it's worth trekking around the corner to this little indoor shopping mall, a converted Passage. Paris is riddled with « passages » which are traditionally indoor walkways often built between buildings. They are forerunners, if you will, to indoor shopping malls. This one, Passage du Havre, has been top-to-bottom renovated. There is also a FNAC for the electronic gadget-geeks among you, a Sephora and an Yves Rocher for the ladies looking to stock up on beauty supplies. And there's even a Louis Pion for the luxury inclined. The only suprises you'll get here are how big and spacious the interior is and how lovely it is to enjoy escalators that actually work.

Outside the City
One Nation Paris
Photo courtesy of One Nation Paris

One Nation Paris is the city's newest outlet shopping mall. It is located just 10 minutes away from Versailles and is easily accessible with its shuttle service from both Paris city center and Versailles. The shops here are both high-end couture like Courreges as well as chic daywear fashion such as The Kooples and Zadig & Voltaire. It has the very first, and still only, Galeries Lafayette outlet store. There are simple dining options here of the mall variety meaning soups, salads and sandwiches primarily. The discounts every day here that the shops boast are at least minus 30% from retail. During the sale times of the year (January and July) the discounts are even deeper.

Le Marais District
Photo courtesy of Le Marais Paris Photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014

This is what I call my Perfume Walk. The beautiful Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, right in the heart of the cobble-stoned streets of the Marais, is lined with the boutiques of some of the best perfume makers in the world â€" Diptyque, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Penhaligon's. You will also find darling little boutiques selling other fashionable finds and many of the shops are open on Sundays, too. To focus on the perfume... Start at the Place des Vosges at this « most beautiful square in the world's » only perfume shop, Christian Louis (18 Place des Vosges). Pick up the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois at the top of the square and walk direction Les Halles. You will pass perfume shops including L'Occitane, Guerlain, Fragonard and the aforementioned Diptyque (makers of wonderful candles, too !). When you stop in at Penhaligon's, be sure to have a sniff of Bluebell, Lady Di's favored perfume.

8éme Arrondissement
Village Royal
Photo courtesy of Village Royal Shopping Center Paris, photo by Paige Donner for USA Today, copyright 2014

This is by no means a shopping mecca, but rather a secret garden shopping experience. Baby Dior and Chanel are sure to get your attention immediately, but the other shops, such as the fairly new hair color bar, Bar des Coloristes, at the opposite end speak to a lady's soul. (They whip up tailor-made hair color potions, with or without ammonia, after a thorough consultation and analysis of your hair). Guy Degrenne is another of my favorite shops here. If you have a soft spot for dishware, cutlery, candlestick holders, crystal ware and other kitchen essentials, you can easily be completely unaware of the time slipping by while browsing in there. Of course, the middle part of this petite outdoor, secluded shopping arcade is dominated by a lovely caf� that offers welcoming tables and chairs at which to sit and enjoy a light meal, or a conversation, or both.


Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige