France: Paris…Where Fashion Began

Paris France and retail shopping are synonymous.This city is touted to be THE place where fashion began. Of course the term wearable art is one more nod to this fashionista city. Read about this art inspired entrepreneurs and boutiques and how the changed the face of fashion.

Paris France Retail Shopping – History

Galeries Lafayette was one of its earliest boutiques, which changed the shape of retail. The idea for this concept was dreamed up by two cousins (Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn) in 1893. Originally dubbed Aux Galeries Lafayette the humble haberdashery started with one store, while the cousins acquired more stores in the surrounding area. Eventually in 1912, an architect Georges Chedanne would design a magnificent building to house everything under one roof, which is what still stands today. The stunning domed roof, which allowed organic light (sunlight) to showcase its luxury products, aided in making the Galeries Lafayette a top tourist attraction.

Paris France Retail Shopping
Galeries Lafayette; photo courtesy of Galeries Lafayette

In close proximity to the Opera House and the Grands Boulevards, this luxury bazaar (as they called it) would attract crowds and celebrities from all over the world. The retail phenomenon provided more than just shopping, it offered its visitors an experience. Through the years Galeries Lafayette continued to update not only its fashions and retail products, but also its building…adding a tea room, reading room as well as a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of Paris. Additional stores were later opened, Le Club 20 Ans (younger fashion), Lafayette 2 (men’s fashion), and finally Lafayette Food & Drink. Fashion along with art events are held here adding to what makes this a popular Paris attraction. Galeries Lafayette has stood the test of time despite wars, financial hardships, and more. If you’d like to find out about its rich history, as well as tours available now – CLICK HERE.

Paris France Retail Shopping
Le BHV Marais; photo courtesy of Le BHV Marais

The Marais

Another legendary retail giant, Le BHV Marais (52 rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris) was created in 1856. Like the aforementioned establishment, Le BHV has multiple locations. The Marai location is housed in a magnificent building. Enjoy views of the Hotel de Ville and Notre-Dame, while you are shopping here. You can find everything you may need under one roof…fashions, home goods, even gourmet food.

The Marais offers a certain je ne sais quoi. Known for its large LGBT community, it exudes luxury and high end fashion in a metropolis setting. Of course you will also find smaller boutiques in the Marais such as Suite.341 (38-40 avenue des Gobelins, 75013 Paris) spotlighting fashions by Maje, Sandro and Claudie Pierlot.

Avenue des Champs Elysées; photo courtesy of


Champs-Élysées is another fabulous place to shop. Officially known as Avenue des Champs-Élysées, this famed street attracts thousands of visitors each day. It has been home to luxury brands such as Cartier (154 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris), Tiffany & Co. (Champs-Élysées), 62 avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris), (101 avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris), etc. Of course smaller boutiques populate the Avenue, along with well known chains such as the Gap, Nike, Sephora, etc. It is also home to Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, another location for the historic company mentioned above. Galeries Lafayette (60 avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris, 75008);

Île Saint-Louis

Île Saint-Louis is an island connected to Paris by four bridges. You can access this island by both banks of the river and to the Île de la Cité by the Pont Saint-Louis.

Diwali; photo courtesy of Diwali

Diwali has three shops throughout Paris. You’ll find one in Île Saint-Louis offering beautiful fashions. Diwali, 52 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris, France. If you are a fan of crystals, visit Carion Minéraux. Here you will find Buddha’s and gems, jewelry, and books on meditation. Its quite a zen shop. Carion Minéraux, 92 rue St Louis en l’île, 75004 Paris;  

Don’t miss the various art booths set up all over Paris. Wearable art is everywhere. You can also find local artists arounds the Seine, as well as at Le Marché de la création de Paris Montparnasse, Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris;

CLICK HERE for additional info on retail stores around the world. Just go to ETG’s Unplug, Retail Therapy Page in the Destinations Section;

For additional info visit the tourist bureau website at

Paris France Retail Shopping
Le Marché de la création de Paris Montparnasse; photo courtesy of


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