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It may have just turned 143, but this grande-dame department store near the Opéra Garnier is anything but stuffy. All the famous fashion names are represented here as well as lesser-known boutique labels and what’s claimed to be the largest accessories department in Paris. Other great sources for souvenirs are the revamped home-decoration department—throw pillow, anyone?—and miles of beauty counters. Here’s one place where it pays to flash your foreignness: Show your passport and you’ll receive a 10-percent store discount card. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the staggering inventory and sprawling layout—three buildings, multiple levels—stop for a snack under the stained-glass dome or at the rooftop Le Déli-cieux with its million-euro view.
Rue de la Pompe, 16th arr.
If you and your fiancé are contributing to your own wedding, chances are you won’t be shopping till you drop at the likes of Chanel, Prada and Hèrmes. What you can do is head to this eight-boutique discount consortium along Rue de la Pompe, near the Bois de Bolougne. (To get there, take the 9 Metro line to Rue de la Pompe.) Essentially a warehouse that sells overstock, remaindered and ever-so-lightly used—think runways and photo shoots—designer clothing and accessories, it can’t offer the luxurious atmosphere of a Rue Saint-Honoré salon, but it can provide a shot at possessing a famous label you could otherwise not afford. How do you think all those chic Parisian shop girls manage to dress like models?
71-73 Rues des Saints-Pères, 6th arr.
Only the French would pack a street named for the holy fathers with sexy-lingerie shops. One of the best of these Saint-Germain-des-Prés emporia is Sabbia Rosa, a small, tasteful shop that stocks sweet nothings of the silk and sensual kind. Whether you’re an A-lister like Catherine Deneuve, Madonna or Naomi Campbell or an unknown, looking for something demure or daring, the eponymous owner is welcoming, helping you find just the right fit and style of cami, negligée—think Brigitte Bardot—or undergarment,. (If you don’t, she’ll custom-make sizes not in stock.) You may flinch at a pair of panties that cost 50 euros, but can you really put a price on feeling like a French film goddess?