12 Feb 2010

Thinking of Paris: Department Stores

Le Bon Marche in Paris, vickiarcher.com


Paris should be less about shopping and more about beauty, art and culture. We all know that, but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. The most famous Parisian department stores are the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on the Boulevarde Haussmann. They are grand buildings full of good stuff but they are not my first pick when it comes to department store shopping.

Bazaar de l’Hotel de Ville, BHV, in the Marais area of Paris is a shopping mecca. Not for fashion, that’s for sure, but for the more practical needs BHV (pronounced bay hash vay) has it all. My favourite departments are the art supplies and the home wares floors. They have well priced merchandise that is often sold at cheaper prices than in the smaller boutiques. If it is glamour and glitz you are after then don’t bother because BHV is neither; if you have time to spare and the energy to cope with a large store like this then it is worth taking a look.


14 rue du Temple
75004 Paris 

Le Bon Marche Rive Gauche, on the other hand, is all about luxury shopping. This left bank emporium opened in 1848 is another ‘die and go to heaven’ experience. Where the macaron breaks the diet this place blows the budget. Indulgence here is a dangerous game. Le Bon Marche is home to the most beautiful designer fashion for men and women, perfume and make-up lotions and potions, hats, hosiery, lingerie, hair-care and home wares. Riding the escalators at Le Bon Marche is staring temptation in the face and pushing the limits of restraint. If the urge to shop becomes too overwhelming La Grande Epicerie, the foodie sister, is next door and full of edible treats to help calm and ease you through the deliberations.

Good luck resisting anything in Paris, xv. 



38 rue de Sevres
75007 Paris

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Vintage by LOU LOU

mmm tempted to dust off my passport and have credit card at the ready…it might just be the music in the background and my glass of red but if I could, would be there tomorrow :)


Loving all your 'thinking of Paris' posts Vicki – more great stuff to add to my 'to do' list and address book! I do sometimes find department stores a tad overwhelming (what an admission coming from such a committed shopper!) especially when it's unfamiliar territory but I shall be brave when we eventually make it to Paris! Happy weekend, Susie x

Deja Pseu

We stayed quite near the BHV on our last Paris visit, and found it to be a godsend. When our adpater gave out the first day…BHV had one. When mon mari discovered that he'd forgotten to pack a black belt…BHV.

Le Bon Marche is such a treat, especially the gourmet food section across the way.


I've been to Bon Marche and it is beautiful but I came away empty handed. Of course my delightful glass of wine and salad were delightful!

BHV, oh well that is just plain FUN. My friend and I spent a lot of time in the art/stationery dept. It's wonderful.

And may I mention that the Monoprix has some terrific children's clothes at VERY reasonable prices. We stock up for the grandchildren whenever we go. When my luggage was "misplaced" at CDG last summer, the soldes at the Monoprix save my life!

Paris has something for everyone. Sigh


Parisienne Farmgirl

Oh, you're killing me. It's been six years since my last visit and having just had baby number three I imagine in could be another six..
These are all my favorite places too.


Thanks for all of the shopping tips, Vicki.
It's really good when a 'local' tells us about the non touristy shops. I will make a note of them for next time I visit Paris. XXXX


We really enjoyed Lafayette but have not seen BHV or Bon Marche, another great reason to return :-) Happy weekend, Kathy.


I remember my first visit to DJ's in Sydney Vicki. They had a little salon near the Elizabeth St. entrance where the Eastern suburbs ladies would wait with all their purchases for their chauffeur to arrive to drive them home in the Roller. Ahh those were the days! I do love a good Dept. store. I remember once spending 7 hours in a Saks – the endorphins sent me on a natural high that's yet to be repeated!
Millie ^_^


I ADORE BHV. Oh, good googly-moogly, the housewares in that place!!! The lamps & mirrors & cabinet knobs! The hardware in the basement!! Like Deja, I bought an adapter there — it was a multi-country marvel that solved all my problems.

Porchlight Interiors

We had a fabulous time shopping at Galleries Lafayette. I bought 5 new pairs of boots. I was not thinking at the time of how i would get them all home under 25kg. Oh well, I made it! Hayley x


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