I stood outside the shop window, drooling at a dress.

“Let’s go inside,” urged Mr. French, grabbing me by the elbow and steering me towards the doorman. 

“We can’t go in there,” I whispered, “It’s Dior.”

 “Of course we can go inside. It’s a store. It’s here for us to go in.”

 “But we would never spend that kind of money on a dress.” 

“That doesn’t mean you can’t look.”

Luxury shopping in Paris made easy with these tips, including how to find stylish bohemian dresses like this one on a woman standing under the arches of the Palais Royal Gardens.
Top: Cartier / Melanie Pongratz. Above: Flaunter Com

I recently learned that a lot of Anglophones are intimidated by walking into Paris’ luxury shops, even when they have the budget and know what they want. 

Get the Parisian look with these shopping tips, like where to buy the right handbag (left) and sunglasses (right).
Sai de Silva / Boucheron

Maybe it’s our culture, or the conviction that every Parisian is born with inherent elegance, but I’d like to break that myth and put your mind at ease. First of all, most of the sales people in those stores are not Parisians.

How to shop in Paris? We have some tips here, like where to buy the right outfit like this frilly skirt paired with a rucksack and pumps.

In fact, on a recent trip to Chanel, I couldn’t find a salesperson on the floor who spoke French! They spoke English, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese, but, “We are very sorry, Madame, only our manager speaks French and he is at lunch.”

Paris shopping tips for where to buy the right suit like this yellow Dior number (left) and multi-colored clutch bag on a bistro table (right).

Paris wants to be the fashion capital of the world and international brands pour a fortune into their flagship stores because they want visitors. But to make things even easier, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you venture into the world of couture:

The best places to shop in Paris. Be prepared to step out with more bags than you thought.
Freestocks Org

Ask for assistance. Even if you’re shy and don’t intend to buy, it’s OK to ask for help. Good salespeople are passionate about their brand and enjoy your interest, happily answering questions about how pieces are made and the thinking behind a design. 

Get the right Paris fashion accessories lilke this retro Dior cap hanging on the mirror of a convertible car (left) or this silk printed scarf (right).

Salespeople are just that; salespeople. They are there to sell you something, so listen to them, but if you have the budget and you’re considering on splurging for the pleasure of saying to friends, “Oh, this old thing? I bought it in Paris,” then do it because you love the piece.

Celine is the name to know when shopping in Paris for its sleek suits (left) but also the interiors of the flagship store alone, like this period stone staircase (right).

Don’t listen when they tell you the silk camisole is perfect, while your inner voice screams it’s two sizes too big. You know what you’re comfortable in, and when it comes to your personal style, you’re the expert. 

When shopping in Paris, don't forget the accessories, like these flower Boucheron rings (left). Paris stores also have wonderful interiors (right).

There’s really no reason for the curious to abstain. If you want to admire that dress, buy the bracelet, drool over a handbag, slip your feet into an iconic pair of pumps…walk right in and write your own Cinderella moment.

Cartier is a must when shopping in Paris, for its watches and jewelry (left) as is Chanel for picking up the right perfume and Mademoiselle Coco is a sure bet (right).
Cartier / Chanel

In general, the more luxurious the brand, the kinder the salespeople tend to be. Let’s be honest, the staff at Zara likely deal with more traffic and garments in a day than the team at Gucci do in a week . They are tired and often confirm the rumor that Parisians are rude.

Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysées is the temple of shopping in Paris with queues often snaking right around the corner (left). Make sure you know where to shop in Paris for your makeup essentials (right).
Serge Kutuzov / Stil

Even if you think you don’t belong in a boutique and you’re not dressed in designer labels, the high-end shops have taught their staff not to judge, because you just never know. The client may be a star in disguise, a discreet millionaire, or maybe a poor nobody who may be somebody someday. If the staff are rude, ignore their attitude and don’t let it stop you from enjoying your adventure. 

Cartier should be top of your shopping list also for its perfumes (left), as well as Dior for its striking outfits like this casual orange dress (right).
Cartier / Dior

Where to shop:

For Fashion: Avenue Montaigne, off the Champs-Elysées is a dream street for brands like Dior, Prada, Chanel, Fendi, Celine, Chrome Hearts, Bottega Veneta, Versace, and Valentino. 

The view of the Champs Elysées in Paris against a blue sky (right). Where to shop for the right handbag in Paris like this smart black leather piece (right).
Gautier Salles / Flaunter Com

For Jewels: Head to the Place Vendôme and up the rue Royale to hit Cartier, Chaumet, Chanel Jewelry, JAR, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, and  Dinh Van.

Get the right perfume from Chanel in Paris (left), and the right jewelry from iconic Place Vendome (right).
Plush Design Studio / Leo Serrat

For a brands you won’t find at home: The rue St.-Honoré has a lot of international designers; including Louboutin, Hermès, and Goyard; but the area is also full of shops selling unique fashions like the tailor-made bags at La Contrie, Lydia Courteille jewelry, Notify jeans, and cashmere sweaters at Exemplaire. 

Boucheron on Place Vendome in Paris is one of France's most-loved jewelry brands for its rings (left) and Chanel is a to pick for makeup including foundation like this classic compact (right).
Boucheron / Glow Repose

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Written by Sylvia Sabes for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation, or long term, rental in Paris, Italy, France or elsewhere in Europe.


Sylvia Sabes

Sylvia tells stories through images and words. She has worked as a Creative Director for international ad campaigns like Cartier and LOreal, and as a National Award winning Polaroid photographer. She writes and shoots all things Paris and beyond… She lives in Paris and the French Basque Region.

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