While Paris has amazing shopping all around the city, most of my favorite shops are somewhat spread out in different arrondissements and require a special trip. But there is one area of Paris that is an epicenter of unique shopping, where in a ten minute stroll you’ll stumble upon a variety of great shops all in one place– Place de La Madeleine.
Anchored by a gorgeous 18th century church and in spitting distance of the Opera, the Place de la Madeleine neighborhood is likely one you will be visiting anyway. Better yet, base yourself here and you’ll not only have a great shopping pit stop but you’ll also be in walking distance from many of Paris’ most iconic attractions.
You don’t need a map to find all the unique shops in Place de la Madeleine– simply walk the square around the central church and you will stumble right over them, mixed right in with designer shops and adorable cafes. And just a couple blocks off the square are two of Paris’ most iconic department stores– guaranteed to keep the dedicated shopper occupied in between sightseeing jaunts.
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Where to Stay in Place de la Madeleine: Hotel Chavanel
Slightly off the tourist track but still within walking distance to everything, the boutique design Hotel Chavanel is the perfect place to stay in Place de la Madeleine. The personalized service, modern and chic but classic Parisian rooms, and divine breakfasts (the best croissants I had on this stay!) make this hotel stand apart from the others.
I was traveling to Paris with a first-timer and the location of the Hotel Chavanel couldn’t have been more ideal for sightseeing. Even in the middle of winter, we had no problem walking to the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Place Vendome and the Tuileries Gardens. One morning we woke before dawn and ten minutes later arrived at the Trocadero, the best spot for a full on view of the Eiffel Tower.
Shopping La Madelaine for Unique Paris Souvenirs
The gorgeous tiffany blue shopfront and glittering chandeliers will lure you in. But the real treat is safely ensconced behind glass, the one and only macaron. Not to be confused with the similar-sounding, but very different, coconut macaroon, a macaron is a delicate, meringue-based cookie. In the French macaron, two light-as-air, crispy shells surround a creamy center, usually made of ganache, butter cream or jam.
While most everyone is familiar with British tea, French tea is a surprisingly delicious treat. For the absolute best, visit Mariage Freres. Not only will the shopkeepers guide you to the best tea for your palate, but they’ll also package it in chic black tins perfect to reuse and adorn your kitchen.
The Maille mustard shop is not your supermarket mustard. Stocked with a dizzying variety of mustard combinations you never thought possible, it is impossible not to find a unique souvenir here. Don’t miss the fresh mustards pumped out on the premises and packaged in beautiful ceramic containers. Your purchases will be elegantly wrapped in Maille’s signature black paper, perfect for gifting.
Oh how I mourned when the Fauchon on Madison Avenue in New York shuttered its doors. But it only makes visits to the flagship Fauchon at Madeleine even more special. Founded in 1886, like many fancy gourmet stores, Fauchon had its start as a fruit and vegetable stall. Now it’s part bakery, patisserie, wine shop and cafe. My favorite souvenirs here are the chocolates and jams (pricey but worth it).
Masion de la Truffe
I adore truffles, both black and white, Italian or French, no matter. So when I spied an entire shop and restaurant devoted to truffles, I had to stop in. One side of the Maison de la Truffe is a restaurant with the most decadent menu imaginable. The other side is a shop filled with all varieties of truffles (and a healthy assortment of foie gras).
Hediard is a beautiful gourmet grocery store, kind of like the Dean and Deluca of Paris, with prices to match. For a unique gift, look for the Hediard store branded items (cookies, chocolates, tea) in classic red boxes.
Shopping Paris’ Best Department Stores in Place de la Madeleine
If you haven’t had enough shopping, Place de la Madeleine is also home to two of Paris’ most famous department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps. Many visit Galeries Lafayette just to see the stunning architecture. During Christmas season, both department stores decorate the windows and have holiday decor throughout the store. Note: both department stores have multiple buildings (mens, womens) and while some are connected via walkways it’s best to enter the correct building to begin with.
In addition to the usual designer brands, you’ll find a huge selection of french designers not available elsewhere. If huge department stores overwhelm you, stick to the incredible accessories, jewelry and cosmetics on the first floor.
Have you been to Place de la Madeleine? Tell us about your favorite places to shop!
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Disclosure: I was a guest of Hotel Chavanel but all opinions are my own.