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The Best Gift Shops

The Best Gift Shops

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In the age of Amazon, it’s completely feasible to cross everyone off your list from the comfort of your desk. That said, so long as you don’t find yourself somewhere too overcrowded, there’s really nothing that inspires holiday spirit more than a day spent picking up special, unique pieces for loved ones in person. Here, our favorite shops for perusing with an armful of shopping bags in tow and Christmas music playing in the background (plus a few online favorites for emergencies).

Cire Trudon

Cire Trudon

78 Rue de Seine, 6th | +33.1.43.26.46.50

In 1634, grocer and wax merchant Claude Trudon opened a store on Rue St. Honoré—and Cire Trudon has been lighting the city’s palaces and homes ever since. Thanks to their superlative wax and rigorous candle-making process, the scented pillars burn for hours—without ever sputtering or smoking. They’re not cheap—after all, as company lore would have it, Napoleon’s only gift to his newborn son was a Trudon candle encrusted with three pieces of gold—but they are exquisite. The Paris boutique, complete with a rainbow wall of tapers, busts cast in wax, and the full expression of fragrances, shouldn’t be missed.

Papier Plus

Papier Plus

9 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 4th | +33.1.42.77.70.49

Archival boxes, photo albums, and notebooks of myriad sizes are mainstays here.

Au Petit Bonheur le Chance

Au Petit Bonheur le Chance

13 Rue Saint-Paul, 4th | +33.1.42.74.36.38

Perfect linens, café au lait bowls, and enamel numbers, line the shelves at this truly eensy shop. There's also a great selection of ephemera—signage, menus, et al.

Nordik Market

Nordik Market

13 Rue Charlot, 3rd | +33.1.57.40.90.65

Throw pillows cut from Joseph Franck's iconic prints, cut glass serving bowls from Orrefors, and two-tone ceramic vases from Ditte Fischer fit right in with the vintage, mid-century Scandinavian furniture on offer here. You'll find low-slung Hans Wegner chairs, sleek unsigned credenzas, well-loved, clean-lined leather couches, along with brass orb pendant lights that look completely ageless.

Think & More

Think & More

108 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st | +33.1.40.26.18.51

This large, gallery-like space sits right on Rue Saint-Honoré—while it's surrounded by ages-old boutiques, it focuses squarely on the future. Beautifully turned out lighting fixtures, wallpaper, and tabletop pieces look pretty great against the all-white backdrop.

De Bouche à Oreille

De Bouche à Oreille

26 Rue Roi de Sicile, 4th | +33.1.44.61.07.03

The handsome exterior—rendered in slate-grey—telegraphs the specifically old-fashioned aesthetic inside. Channeling the feel of a turn-of-the-century laboratory-meets-library, you'll find wonders from the natural world (shells, skeletons, taxidermy), alongside fleur-de-lis bookends and globes. There are a handful of antiques (chandeliers and the like), though a majority of the wares are excellent reproductions, meaning they have all the charm of the originals without the hefty price tags.

Le Bon Marché

Le Bon Marché

22 Rue de Sèvres, 7th | +33.1.44.39.80.00

Though it's often (mistakenly) credited as being the first department store, there's no doubt that Le Bon Marché's founders, Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut, were pioneers, particularly in a culture that so adamantly prizes specialty stores. Launched in 1838 as an extension of the Boucicaut's single market stall, it became a fixed-price department store in 1850 (before that, you would barter), moving into its sweeping, Art Deco home in 1867. While it's been expanded several times since (and now belongs to LVMH), it's still inarguably one of the most beautiful, large-scale shops in existence. Whether you're looking for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Maje, or Iro, it's likely here: Along with lingerie, kids clothing, furniture, household essentials, and shoes and bags. The food hall, La Grande Épicerie, is pretty insane, offering an embarrassingly rich array of specialty products, from Fauchon macarons to Baltic smoked fish. Many visitors concentrate their buying power here in order to hit the spending level required for VAT.

Astier de Villatte

Astier de Villatte

173 Rue St. Honoré, 1st | +33.1.42.60.74.13

Though it's well located on rue Saint-Honoré, this is the sort of spot that's easy to walk right by: There's not really even a sign, and inside it's hushed, dimly lit, cloister-like, and achingly cool, complete with rickety, slightly off-kilter shelves that literally sag under the weight of Astier de Villatte's ceramic tableware. Made from black terra-cotta clay and then finished in the brand's signature milky white, these perfectly imperfect dishes are the hallmark of some of the best-dressed tables we know. You'll also find the house line of geometric-print, gold-rimmed notebooks (made by the last master printer in Paris) and the gorgeously old-fashioned candle and incense collections, along with a handful of oddities, like glassware cast in the shape of skulls and stout little teapots.

E. Dehillerin

E. Dehillerin

18-20 Rue Coquillière, 1st | +33.1.42.36.54.80

Since 1820, E. Dehillerin has been outfitting the kitchens of Paris with copper pots, paring knives, whisks—and a million other ingenious gadgets nobody ever knew they needed. It is a huge store and an incredible resource, though come with full pockets (and plenty of room in your suitcase). They also sell online and ship globally.

Deyrolle

Deyrolle

46 Rue du Bac, 7th | +33.1.42.22.30.07

A devastating fire nearly destroyed Deyrolle in 2008, sending nearly 90 percent of its rarefied inventory up in smoke. Everyone rallied: Customers donated animals purchased in years past back; Christie's held an auction; Hermes reissued their "Plume" scarf to raise funds; and ultimately Deyrolle reopened its doors to a collective sigh of relief. Founded in 1831, it's one of the most special stores in the world, after all, since it's essentially a shoppable natural history museum. As you move past the gardening boutique that occupies the ground floor and climb the stairs, you'll come face to face with lions, tiger, bears, and thousands of exotic birds, butterflies, and beetles—all carefully preserved, and even more meticulously displayed. We love the reissues of the 19th century pedagogical prints (horse breeds, the anatomy of the eye, the trees of France), which are more affordable—and packable—than a giraffe.

Hod Boutique

Hod Boutique

104 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd | +33.9.53.15.83.34

Shark tooth-studded ear cuffs from Jacquie Aiche, feathered collars by Lizzie Fortunato, psychedelic earrings from Tom Binns, and Delfina Delletrez's evil eye-bedecked rings are just a few of the pieces on display here. While the emphasis is on jewelry (every young gun designer is represented, from Mociun to Shourouk), there are photorealistic clutches from Dezso, Jennifer Behr headbands, and tasseled horse hair bag charms.

Les Mauvaises Graines

Les Mauvaises Graines

5 passage Geffroy Didelot, 75017 Paris, France, 18th | +33.1.4013.6740

Whether you have a terrace to landscape, or are just looking for a hostess gift, it's easy to spend the better part of an afternoon here. The Bad Seed is like a garden shop on acid: They're interested in the strange, the otherworldly, and the extreme. It's all pretty amazing, from teeny tiny plants, to shadowboxed insects, to arrangements in wooden boxes named after heavy metal bands, to a vintage motorcycle, overgrown with foliage.

Merci

Merci

111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 3rd | +33.1.42.77.00.33

It's rare to find a store that's so much bigger than its collective parts, but Merci is one of those spots that opened to an endless stream of breathless acclaim—and just as many inches of coverage in the press. This is easy to understand: For one, all profits go to charities for children in Madagascar; for two, it's gorgeous and artful while still feeling accessible to all. Located in an airy, sprawling nineteenth-century fabric factory, this superstore sells the best of pretty much everything. Labels like Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno, and Stella McCartney mingle on the clothing racks; Aesop shampoos and Annick Goutal perfumes line the shelves in the comprehensive beauty apothecary; and there are loads of amazing homewares, too, like Caran d'Ache pens, Muuto pendants, and even washi tape. Fresh flowers and gardening tools? Check. Don't leave without visiting one of the three cafés: The Merci Canteen offers veggie-centric lunches and treats, the Cinéma Café is perfect for a quick bite or glass of wine, and the Used Book Café in the basement is our favorite, as you can flip through any one of the 10,000 preloved books that line the walls while you wait for your brunch.

Centre Commercial

Centre Commercial

2 Rue de Marseille, 10th | +33.1.42.02.26.08

Large and loftlike, this industrial-feeling store has an ambitious mandate: fair-trade clothing and accessories from little-known and established artisan brands, mixed in with a smattering of vintage furniture, art books, records, and indie zines. There are gold tribal earrings from A Peace Treaty, floral-print Suzie Winkle sweatshirts, Véja sneakers, and nubby men's cardigans from S.N.S. Herning. If you've got little ones, don't miss the outpost devoted to kids.

Colette

Colette

213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st | +33.1.55.35.33.90

At this point, Colette feels more like a museum than a place where people actually shop. Back in the day, it was the globe's first concept store, bringing fashion, music, art, accessories (and now, a comprehensive water bar) under one, multi-storied roof. Along with acclaim, the fame brought a lot of hype: While they have a covetable roster of designers (Stella, Alaïa, Givenchy), they also have throngs of people who come to gawk at gold-plated cell phones and Japanese toys. While the early magic is gone, they inarguably land products and collaborations you won't find anywhere else.

L’Eclaireur

L’Eclaireur

39 Avenue Hoche, 8th | +33.1.56.68.10.47

There are very few boutiques that fully embody an aesthetic, but L’Eclaireur does this perfectly—no small feat, considering there are seven very distinct shops scattered around the city, as well as a bar/restaurant that doubles as a shrine to Piero Fornasetti. Armand and Martine Hadida’s original outpost in 1980 was incredibly important for a number of reasons, most notably because L’Eclaireur was the first to break brands like Prada, Helmut Lang, Dries van Noten, and Martin Margiela in France. While the Hadidas have had every opportunity to rest on their laurels, the pace has been relentless ever since as they’ve continued to ferret out the world’s best new talent, in fashion, in jewelry, and in home goods. While the mix at every spot varies, we like the moodily gothic Place des Victoires location best. Under the light cast by a strange and fantastic bird chandelier, you’ll find Fornasetti umbrella stands, chunky chain link bracelets from Mawi, cashmere travel wraps by Denis Colombe, and coated Saint Laurent skinny jeans. If time allows, their most recent project shouldn’t be missed, either: They’ve taken a space in Habitat 1964’s vintage village at Les Puces, where they’re selling a smattering of archival fashion pieces along with furniture.

Arty Dandy

Arty Dandy

1 Rue de Furstemberg, 6th | +33.0.9.81.43.40.36

With few exceptions, almost everything that lines the Crayola-colored shelves here rings in at under a hundred euros, whether it's tribal-inspired earrings, slick little sunglasses, or scarves printed with diamonds and spades.

Tsé et Tsé Sssociées

Tsé et Tsé Sssociées

7 Rue Saint Roch, 1st | +33.1.55.78.22.78

Home to a happy jumble of melamine plates, bedside lamps, chairs, and vases, Tsé Tsé Associées is run by two Parisian designers, Catherine Lévy and Sigolène Prébois, who met in school. Though business is booming, they still insist on designing every piece themselves. We love their porcelain cornet lamps, folded paper vases, and intricately patterned silk scarves.

Librairie Alain Brieux

Librairie Alain Brieux

48 Rue Jacob, 6th | +33.01.42.60.21.98

A bookshop and antiquarian for over a century, Librairie Alain Brieux specializes in rare scientific and sometimes esoteric titles, though the real allure is its cabinet-of-curiosities vibe. The windows and interior displays are continually refreshed with weird and wonderful assortments of vintage anatomical models, glass eyes, unusual toys, and the like.

Buly 1803

Buly 1803

6 Rue Bonaparte, 6th | +33.01.43.29.02.50

The husband-and-wife team behind revamped cosmetics line Buly added a couple degrees of fantasy when furnishing their flagship shop—modeled after a nineteenth-century apothecary—with Tuscan tiled floors, Italian marble counters, intricately carved wooden cupboards, and prettily painted beams. And then there are the products: alcohol-free scents and modern, paraben-free formulations, beautifully packaged in old-fashioned vials and glass jars. Whether you’re in the market or not, this shop is a treat just to look at.

Madeleine et Gustave

Madeleine et Gustave

19 Rue Yves Toudic, 10th | 33.01.40.38.61.02

This three-story home concept shop presents contemporary and affordable French, Dutch, and Belgian brands in a whitewashed and totally serene space, where you can try out the furniture while enjoying a coffee from the upstairs café. The selection of small accessories is on point—especially the flower and garden accessories from Belgian design megalith Serax.

Antoine et Lili

Antoine et Lili

95 Quai De Valmy, 10th | +33.01.40.37.41.55

While this chainlet’s busy, color-soaked printed dresses and quirky shoes might be a little over-the-top for our tastes, the global furniture and home accessory finds are a Parisian go-to for injecting a dose of color into a home. At the shop in the 10th, stock up on printed Nathalie Leté dishware, Mexican oilcloths, woven plastic chairs, and more, which are pleasingly crammed into every last nook in the shop.

Sébastien Gaudard

Sébastien Gaudard

22 Rue des Martyrs, 9th | +33.01.71.18.24.70

Both the original in the 9th and the new Tea Room are the kinds of Parisian pastry shops you might dream of, with pretty tiled floors, powder-blue walls, old-world display cases, and dainty packaging. Both spots are great for stocking up on everything from molded chocolates to macarons, as well as traditional sweets, jams, and marmalades to take home as gifts—you’ll also want to grab a cream-filled pastry for the ride.

Chez Moi

Chez Moi

25 rue Hérold, 1st | +33.6.61.26.23.32

While we primarily love this concept store in the 1st for its coffee table books, there are plenty of other unique odds and ends to ogle, from taxidermied beetles and butterflies, to original works of art, to the most stunning wood-handled toothbrush set. There's a great range of furniture and plenty of quirky gifts for any art-loving friends.