Holiday Season is almost here, so Interior Design Shops prepared an excellent shopping guide with the best places for Christmas shopping in Paris, the city of light. What could be better that make our Christmas shopping in the city of love?
Christmas markets in Paris and elsewhere in France have their origins in the northern Alsace region, which has belonged to Germany at various junctures in history and therefore draws on German Christmas market traditions stretching to as early as the 14th century. The most famous– and largest– marché de noël in France is in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace.
First inaugurated in 1893, the Galeries Lafayette department store is a Paris fashion institution. Located near the stately Opera Garnier, this is an essential stop for fashion enthusiasts: men and women’s designer collections are always kept right at the cutting-edge, and the latest trends in jewellery and accessories, home furnishings, or cosmetics can also all be perused under one roof.
Colette on Rue St. Honoré in the 1st arrondissement isn’t merely a destination for fashion victims– it’s a spot where the style-conscious flock to soak in the latest arrivals in design, electronics, beauty products and books. And let’s not forget the designer clothes (established and up-and-coming creators share the floor here). The basement-level “water bar” offers cave-like conditions to retreat from the muggy streets during the summer, albeit with somewhat overpriced food and drink.
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Fans of unique, elegant and even bespoke fragrance will find Paris to be a veritable dream: some of the world’s most prestigious and expert noses work here, contributing to a tradition that goes back centuries to the medieval period, when fragrance was mostly used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. These prestigious perfume shops in Paris — some classic and world-famous, such as Fragonard, and others niche and trendy, like Serge Lutens– may not proffer scents at bargains, but you can be sure that you come away with something of high quality.
When you think of traditional French perfume houses, you’ll likely conjure up the name “Fragonard”. Established in 1926 in Grasse in the south of France, Fragonard has built its reputation on classic, elegant scents blended with tradition in mind. If you’re feeling nostalgic or are looking for a gift for someone with decidedly classic tastes, this might be the ideal house to browse. Also check out the Fragonard Perfume Museum near the Opera Garnier for a fascinating look at the history of scent-making and the complex development of perfumes from the period when the synthetic molecule was developed.
Another classic name in the French “art du parfum” is Guerlain, launched in 1828 by Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain as a single shop on Rue de Rivoli in Paris, and now a globally recognized brand with scents often cited as embodying French elegance mixed with a touch of sexiness. There are several boutiques around the city, including in the Marais and the Champs-Elysees neighbourhood.
As one of the great culinary capitals of the world, Paris counts an honourable roster of artisan chocolate-makers among its residents: cocoa experts who bring genuine artistic flair to their chocolates and concoct the finest in both traditional and eclectic recipes.
Dark chocolate is a real speciality among French chocolate artisans, as are ganaches: chocolates made with cream, yielding rich, silky, intensely creamy centres.
The award-winning and famously quirky chocolate maker Patrick Roger opened a flagship store in the St. Germain neighbourhood a few years ago, expanding from his original base is in the south Paris suburb of Sceaux. As good at tradition as he is at innovation, Patrick Roger won the title of best French artisan (meilleur ouvrier) in 2000. He is well-known by food connoisseurs like David Lebovitz for his rochers (featuring a contrast of smooth praline filling and crunchy hazelnut flecks), ganaches, or dark chocolate complemented by flavours like lime or hot pepper.
It’s with good reason that Shakespeare & Company remains the most famous of English bookstores in Paris. Inspired by the original shop founded by Sylvia Beach and frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, this multi-level bookshop was in turn opened by George Whitman (he passed away in December 2011, sadly). It’s still the place to head to find the best selection of English books in town, while also serving as a monument to the “lost generation.”
Old typewriters and cushioned benches continue to be available to those artists and students in need, while a select few working on their craft, affectionately known as “tumbleweeds” are still given lodging in exchange for work in the shop. The English-language writing workshops are also immensely popular, and every two years a prominent literary festival called “Festival & Co” is organised by the bookshop.
Whether you do your Christmas shopping in Paris or elsewhere in the world, I am sure you will buy special treats to the ones you love. Interior Design Shop wishes you the best Holidays!
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