cutting edge, and super-chic, Colette is one of those shops that is
more of a museum than a traditional boutique. (There is even a water
bar in the basement -
http://en.colette.fr/content/menu/eaux/). At first, the shop may appear to
be a little pretentious but ultimately, it offers a lot of unexpected
whimsy to explore. Due to the high prices, we have steered away from
purchasing much of anything beyond the store's innovative and
groundbreaking CD compilations. However if you have a wad of euros in
your pocket, you certainly could go crazy buying groovy little items for
yourself, friends, or loved ones.
Colette boasts the best in design in fashion, household objects, books and music for your highly stylized life! (We still love the book we purchased here in 2004. Private features pages and pages of faux celebrity scandal images dreamed up by photographer Alison Jackson.)
Colette, open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, is definitely worth checking out, even just for inspiration, when strolling down rue Saint-Honoré in the Les Halles neighborhood.
Colette - 213, rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, 011 (33) 1 55 35 33 90
shoppers traveling to Paris will immediately flock, of course, to the
famed Champs-Élysées, a broad boulevard that features many world-class
boutiques and designers. Your "Set of Drifters" suggests the more
quaint neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés instead. Sure, you will
still find a few big names here along boulevard Saint-Germain, but it's
the smaller antique stores and family-run boutiques that will really
charm the euros right out of your wallet. We visited just such a toy
store, the perfect place to buy unique prezzies for those nieces and
nephews back home! Saint-Germain-des-Prés has more than just shopping
though. Like sister-enclave Montparnasse (see "sights"), the
neighborhood was once home to literary greats like Ezra Pound, James
Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. It's no wonder then that
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is home to more brasseries than you could ever
imagine - small art galleries and bookstores as well. You could browse
this neighborhood all afternoon and not nearly see enough of it.
Set of Drifters tip: Make sure to stop off at the chain music store Fnac while strutting around Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Here you can listen to 100's of albums before you commit, which is great because when traveling to new countries you often have no idea what is good or what is not! We highly recommend buying music from the countries you visit while abroad. Listening to the tunes on the plane, or in your hotel room while on vacation, will give back those holiday memories each and every time you hear the same disc back home!
Fnac - 136, rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris, 011 (33) 8 25 02 00 20
The Marais (neighborhood)
Marais is a favorite neighborhood of many travelers to Paris. This
popularity however does not stem from its secret alleyways that lead to
quaint picturesque courtyards or gorgeous 16th Century mansions. And
the fact that much of the city's gay nightspots are found here is only
exciting to particular percentage of the population. Sadly, the
district's rich Jewish heritage may just be a blip on most peoples'
radar. Let's be honest, the Marais is all about the shopping!!! It
is here where you can find the perfect blend avant-garde design
boutiques, utilitarian must-haves, and even funky second-hand or antique
Here are some of our faves...
Muji: True, this simple, clean outpost of all things stationary and style can be found in many cities throughout the globe, but it was in the Marais where we first ventured inside. The Japanese brand prides itself in offering consumers wonderful prices on a variety of practical items - from clothes all the way down to containers. We love the no-frills packaging and the high quality of the items that fit inside. Just try not to spend some euros in here.
Muji - 47 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris, 011 (33) 1 49 96 41 41, http://www.muji.eu/
time to time, everyone needs to pick up a gift for a friend or family
member who already has everything they could possibly need. The beauty
of Pylones (pronounced "Pee-Lone") is its array of brightly colored,
eclectic household objects that scream "buy me," if for no other reason
than that they are, well, cute.
Based in Paris, Pylones translates into energy, and this store has it in spades! The company was started in 1985 by a group of French designers seeking to create everday items that had a sense of fun and whimsy. Can openers, lamp shades, spatulas, you name it! Anything you might have in your house, you will find here at Pylones, but with a unique twist (and probably bathed in a very bright color).
One little guy
that will undoubtedly make an appearance here is "Barbapapa," a French
cartoon character from the 1970's who was immortalized in books and
television, and later merchandised quite successfully in Japan.
"Barbapapa" is actually the name of the character's species, and refers
to a French translation of cotton candy ("barbe à papa"). An alien
species of creatures made out of wisps of cotton candy - we love it!
You can find Pylones stores throughout the globe, and even online, but you will definitely want to stop by in person while traipsing through the Marais in Paris - where Barbapapa feels most at home!
Pylones - 13 Rue Ste Croix la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, 011 (33) 1 48 04 80 10, http://www.pylones.com/ and http://www.barbapapa.fr/gb/barbapapa.html
Lucky Records: Madonna or Kylie... that is the ultimate question. Lucky Records is an institution in Paris, well at least for those on the hunt for music and collectibles from two of the most popular "gay icons" of recent Parisian history. Looking for that rare vinyl pressing of "Spotlight," Madonna's You Can Dance tune that was only released as a single in Spain or Japan? Chances are Lucky Records will have it. (In fact, the store even produces the official French fan club magazine of the same name.) Or perhaps you are desperate for the rare 1990 Kylie Minogue Japanese Annual and mini-CD boxed set? For a few hundred euros, it can be yours (if you're "lucky").
Of course, if Madge or Kylie are not your cup of tea, Lucky Records is also your one-stop shop for many of France's most popular female pop chanteuses. Vocalists like Mylène Farmer, France Gall, Brigette Bardot, Line Renaud, Jeanne Mas, Ysa Ferrer, Guesche Patti, and Françoise Hardy fill Lucky's vinyl and CD/ DVD racks. Have a question about Vanessa Paradis or Sylvie Vartan? Store manager Georges Vidal, who with partners Christophe Coatanoan and Maurice Robert opened Lucky Records in 1991, will be happy to help out.
The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 12:00 PM to 7:30 PM (closed on Sunday and Monday), and is accessible via the M1 Metro line (Hôtel de Ville station).
Lucky Records - 66, rue Verrerie, 75004 Paris, 011 (33) 1 42 72 74 13,
Fleux: Wow, this place is so damn fun. Featuring some of the most dazzling home furnishings you will ever see, Fleux pushes irony to the hilt! Bloodied cuckoo-clocks with knives impaled in them hang above shelving units set into the backs of cardboard donkeys. Mini-cacti terrariums (on human legs) stand in rows just beyond a series of candlesticks formed our of upside-down bunnies! And then there's the overstuffed comfy lounge chair covered in aluminum foil! This is seriously inspired, and bizarre, stuff here.
Aside from the many dinnerware, stationary and pillow choices, perhaps the most accessible avant-garde items here are the life-sized legos which can be used to construct chairs, table legs or bedposts! In bright florescents, these building blocks will sure make a statement in your very own day-glo home, but they do not come cheap. Individual lego blocks vary from €15 to €25 (about USD $20 to $35). Even if the brilliance in this shop comes at high prices, it sure is a gas to look at! Oh, and that bamboo radio is soooo cute!
Fleux - 39, rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, 011 (33) 1 42 78 27 20,
visitors to Paris flock to ultra swanky streets like rue Saint-Honoré
near the Louvre to peruse the super-chic wares being sold in a variety
of different designer shops. We don't usually roll in this fashion,
but have made some exceptions (see "Colette" in "goodies"). On
the contrary, one of our favorite stores to hit up while in the "City of
Lights" is Monoprix, the Parisian equivalent to Woolworth's or JC
Penney's. Monoprix (pronounced "mono-pree") has it all.
In fact, most locations of Monoprix feature not only a full department store with all the essentials you could possibly ever need, but also a grand supermarket in the basement. These markets feature fantastic culinary delights which will make your mouth water! (Our favorite is the Lindt Creme Brulee chocolate bar - which we stock up on in droves for family and friends back in the United States.) Crisps, cheeses, and wines galore. You name it, they have it.
Most of the clothing is fairly stylish and price wise, not such a bad deal, though check for quality! If you are looking for some basics with a bit of a French twist, Monoprix is a great place to start. Operating hours vary depending on location; most stores closed on Sunday however there are a few open in some of Paris's busier neighborhoods.
Monoprix - multiple locations throughout Paris