In a league of its own when it comes to shopping, Paris is not exactly lacking in interesting addresses. But therein lies the problem. When there's a beautiful store around every corner, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Luckily, we've done the legwork for you (it's a hard job etc) and picked out 10 of the city's must-visit independent shops and boutiques.
From a vintage emporium and a historic chocolate maker to a vegan concept store, every one of these establishments offers something a little bit special.
10 of the best independent shops to discover in Paris
Stohrer. | Photo credit: Alexandre Guirkinger, Martin Bruno
Les Merveilles de Babellou
Tucked away in the sprawling Saint-Ouen flea market, just north of Paris' 18th arrondissement, this vintage emporium contains the most beautifully curated collection of iconic French fashion. From Chanel handbags to Hermès scarves and Christian Dior shoes, all the most coveted pieces can be found here. Opened in 2008 by Isabelle Klein, known for her forensic fashion knowledge, this is the kind of place where you go for that one special item to keep forever. So, prices don't come cheap, but everything comes fully authenticated. Also, something of a rarity in the fashion world, the staff are both helpful and friendly. Check the opening times before travelling: they vary throughout the week.Stand 12 and 77, Allée 1, Marché Paul Bert, 93400 +33 6 80 63 26 89 lesmerveillesdebabellou.com
The oldest patisserie in Paris, Stohrer was founded in 1730 by King Louis XV's pastry chef, Nicolas Stohrer, and continues to wow customers with the best of classic French pastry today. Located on the famous foodie street, Rue Montorgueil, which is home to all manner of irresistible edibles, both the shopfront and elegant interior are listed as a historical monument. Together, it all adds up to a dreamy setting in which to pick up your elevenses. Everything is also made on site - and the rum babas, which were devised by Nicolas Stohrer himself, are the stuff of legend.51 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 +33 1 42 33 38 20 stohrer.fr
This small chain of second-hand shops won't win any awards for being the chicest in Paris, but could well scoop the prize for the best bargains. Brimming with every conceivable item of clothing, rails require a deep dive, but there are gems to be found. Spread over three floors, the store near Rue de Rivoli is one of the best-curated. It also has a section for premium items, going for around £13 each at the time of writing, but prices start from next to nothing. You have to steal yourself a bit, as the smell is definitely eau de charity shop, but there's nowhere better for vintage treasure-hunting at vintage prices.
8 Blvd de Sébastopol, 75004guerrisol.fr
The Red Wheelbarrow
This beautiful bookshop is packed to the rafters (literally) with a wide selection of English-language works including classic and contemporary literature, poetry, history and politics. It also has a neighbouring children's store, The Red Balloon, with books in both English and French. At the heart of it all is the charismatic owner, Penelope Fletcher, who is sometimes described as "the book whisperer" because of her uncanny ability to recommend just the right thing for every customer. Found within a leaf's fall of the lovely Jardin du Luxembourg, the main store also hosts book signings, poetry readings and author talks.
9 Rue de Médicis, 75006+33 1 42 01 81 47 theredwheelbarrowbookstore.com
Run by a collective of 220 creators, this small group of stores provides a showcase for their work, ranging from jewellery and gifts to interior decor. As such, there is no better place to get a feel for the current creative zeitgeist. Look out especially for the origami-esque creations of Avec du Papier, the plant terrariums of Niwa and the steampunk-style embroidered insects of Atelier Noboru. The stores are staffed by the artists themselves and there's something for all budgets, with the colourful hair clips starting from around £2. The outlet in Rue Popincourt is a perennial favourite.
24 Rue Popincourt, 75011pooow.fr
À la Mère de Famille. | Photo credit: Alexandre Guirkinger
À la Mère de Famille
When it comes to chocolate, À la Mère de Famille is the original, and arguably the best in the business, having opened back in 1761. Today, although there are several outposts across town, the flagship store in the 9th arrondissement remains an institution. Untouched since the late-19th century, the shop is straight out of another age - its elegant green-and-gold facade is listed as a historical monument. Using traditional, time-tested recipes, the team produces the finest chocolate candies, spreads and confectionery, among other delights, all beautifully wrapped in the company's distinctive brown-and-orange packaging.35 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 +33 1 47 70 83 69 lameredefamille.com
Herboristerie de la Place Clichy
One of the oldest herbalists in Paris, this ancient apothecary was founded in 1880 - and has hardly changed since. The shop's facade is a portal to another century and, inside, the wooden shelves are piled high with all manner of lotions and potions. Everything about this store feels totally out of time: you go in and talk to the herbalist about whatever your ailment may be and they duly rustle up a remedy from one of the shelves before handwriting the instructions on the label. The service can sometimes seem a little stern but that's all part of the experience.87 Rue d'Amsterdam, 75008 +33 1 48 74 83 32 herboristerie-de-la-place-clichy.business.site
The first vegan concept store in the city, Aujourd'hui Demain combines a food shop, fashion area, beauty section and restaurant/coffee bar all in one place. While there are several decent vegan shops now in Paris, this one is doing something a bit different, with its combined offering spread over 150sq m. In short, it's nice to be able to get your groceries, buy a new pair of boots and have a delicious vegan dinner all in the same place. Open since 2017, the store is located in a cool, buzzy neighbourhood and attracts a diverse crowd. Regular events include screenings, tastings and pop-ups.42 Rue du Chemin Vert, 75011 +33 9 81 65 20 01 aujourdhui-demain.com
Festooned with flowers made from the most delicate paper, L'Aparté is like a glorious garden in the middle of Paris. From gorgeous garlands of camellia-clad fairy lights to decorative strings of dangling leaves and vases of voluminous floral blooms, each piece is handcrafted, so therefore unique, and every one is finished to a "haute-couture" standard. Co-founded by François Louis Périssé and Isabelle Chupin, the store takes floral art to a whole new level - and all against the beautiful backdrop of the 19th-century shopping arcade Galerie Vivienne, which is well worth a visit in its own right.48 Galerie Vivienne, 75002 +33 1 42 60 05 89 laparte-paris.com
This quirky little wine boutique, on the Île Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris, specialises in organic, natural and biodynamic wines - including those without added sulphites. Open since 2012, it stocks an eclectic selection of some 300 products, with an emphasis on independent winemakers that respect the environment. At the helm is the effervescent Hervé Lethielleux, whose hilarious videos about the world of wine - recorded in English - have garnered something of a cult following. The shop hosts regular wine-tasting events, too - also available in English - but this is definitely a place for those in the know rather than hordes of tourists.10 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004
+33 1 44 07 99 27letiquetteparis.fr