7th Arrondissement Shops
7 Rue de Lille, 7th
Karl Lagerfield is thoroughly modern polymath: He’s a fashion designer, photographer, illustrator, collaborator, and…bookworm. 7L is Lagerfeld’s very well-situated (the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and Saint-Germain are all close by) shrine to design. The shelves stretch up the height of two floors and are heavy with books, which are stacked rather than lined up horizontally. After an hour or two spent rummaging for titles across interior and fashion design, photography, garden landscaping, and, of course, tomes produced under 7L’s own imprint, collapse into the long sofa and start reading.
26 Boulevard Raspail, 7th
Now three locations strong (a brand-new outpost just popped up in Courcelles), Sentou has built their business up over 60 years by distributing some of the biggest names in design, including Alvar Aalto, Eames and Vitra. They're not solely fixated on the past, either: You'll find a healthy mix from soon-to-be-institutions like HAY and Muuto, along with their own line.
130 Rue du Bac, 7th
Clean-lined, cloth-wrapped photo albums and journals in every conceivable shade are mainstays from this Swedish company: For those who love the promise of an ordered, color-coordinated office—or just want to get their family pics all in one place—this is a useful resource.
38-40 Rue de Grenelle, 7th
Sure, you’ll find Christian Louboutin’s full range of red-soled stilettos and studded loafers here, but you’ll also find unparalleled customer service. They maintain a strict 1:1 ratio of salespeople to clients, and while this might seem like it would result in helicopter-like hovering, it doesn’t. Instead, they swoop in only when you have a question or need a size. There are also two other locations, one in the 1st, and one in the 8th.
11 Place du Palais Bourbon, 7th
As seems to be the way in Paris, Pierre Hardy was many things before he was a shoe designer. Initially, the Parisian-born Hardy was a professional dancer. And then he was an illustrator for Vogue Hommes. And then he went to Christian Dior to design shoes, before moving on to Hermès. While he launched his own, iconic collection in 1999, he’s never stopped working for other brands. He’s still the creative director of Hermès’ fine jewelry, and he does men’s and women’s shoes for Balenciaga. His space in the Palais Royal is dark and gothic, which is a pretty epic backdrop for his day-glo shoes and cube-patterned clutches; his second location in the Palais Bourbon is equally (wonderfully) gloomy. There's another store located in the 1st.
7 Place Vendôme, 7th
While JAR (a.k.a. Joel Arthur Rosenthal) may have a shop—and that shop may be in Place Vendôme—there’s no point in swinging by unless he’s accepted your appointment. After all, there isn’t even a sign, much less regular hours. Making only 70-80 pieces per year, this reclusive designer and Harvard grad may have come from humble roots (he’s the child of a biology teacher and Bronx postal worker), but he’s made jewelry for some of the world’s most beautiful women. Those who can’t get an original (he won’t sell a piece to someone unless he’s convinced it’s a match), can always pick something up at auction: A 2006 Christie’s sale of Ellen Barkin’s JAR collection featured 17 pieces, including a 22.76-carat diamond ring that fetched more than 1.8 million.
Maison Martin Margiela
13 Rue de Grenelle, 7th
Nothing Martin Margiela turns out is particularly basic, but thanks to a muted palette and exquisite tailoring, everything is supremely wearable. The Belgian designer’s boots are always classic (if cerebral), and his jewelry is pretty cool, too. MM6, Maison Martin Margiela’s more reasonably priced line, just found a home on 22 place du Marché Saint Honoré in the 1st. There's another location in the 9th.
24 Rue de Sèvres, 7th
Japanese designer Tsumori Chisato cut her teeth working for Issey Miyake after she graduated from Tokyo's Bunka Fashion School in the '70s, though when she launched her line in the '90s, it was with an aesthetic that was undeniably her own. Though they’re frustratingly hard-to-find in the world at-large, Tsumori Chisato pieces are pretty unmistakable, and are a total siren song for anyone who isn’t sartorially timid. Vivid colors and patterns, intricate embellishments, and offbeat details are mainstays, along with slightly avant-garde cuts: While they look challenging on the hanger, they’re transportingly cool when on. (If you’re too shy for one of her dresses, test-drive one of her metallic patchworked wallets.) The Paris shop—her first location outside of Asia—is as wonderland-like as her clothing.
24 Rue de Sèvres, 7th
With a palette of muted tones, and pieces that look like they belong in a sand-washed cabin on the beach, Caravane is a useful resource for unfussy linens—both for the bed and the table. There are other locations in the 4th, 6th, 12th, and at Le Bon Marché.
Le Bon Marché
22 Rue de Sèvres, 7th
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.
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