Any fashion insider worth her Blahniks knows that the winter sales in Paris provide top-notch shopportunity. Enjoy mon-dieu-worthy discounts (we’re talking savings of up to 70 per cent) on leading fashion, accessory labels at big-name department dollies and indie boutiques.
Begin at the beginning, with Paris’ gorgeous department dolly, Galeries Lafayette. Hit up the swish flagship on Boulevard Haussmann and browse a dizzying array of garms, accessories, homewares, cosmetics and more; seek and ye shall find...
Le Bon Marché gives Galeries Lafayette a run for its euros, thanks to an impressive stash of designer togs, nifty customer service and an eagle-eyed fleet of personal shoppers. Pick up some sartorial tips from the expert stylists, pamper yourself with a treatment courtesy of the beauty department or refuel at one of the worthy eateries – shopping is thirsty and hungry work, after all.
Completing the department-store-triumvirate, Printemps Haussmann will woo design lovers and retail junkies alike. Its building, which occupies a prime Parisian postcode on the corner of Le Havre and Boulevard Haussmann, was designed by the celebrated 19th-century architects Jules and Paul Sédille. This vast – 45,000 square metres and counting – space champions the dreamiest French and international brands. There are 27 floors spread across three sections: Printemps de la Mode; Printemps de la Beauté et de la Maison; Printemps de l'Homme. Incroyable.
Next up: spend some time ticking off Rue St Honore’s petite-but-powerful boutiques, which dish up top-notch bling, glamorous threads and covetable homewares. Do as the smart stylistas do and shop for your off-to-the-Riviera wardrobe at 55 Croisette, a St. Tropez-born fash cache featuring myriad big guns from Alaïa to Zimmerman. Ready, jet-set, spend!
Likely it’s still cold outside, so snuggle into Barrie’s luxurious Scottish cashmere, knitted into bold, high-fashion silhouettes that have caught the eye of Karl and co. Barrie’s plunder is hot to trot, in more ways than one.
Stock up on dazzling, knock-your-socks-off rocks (think green tourmalines, white diamonds, yellow sapphires and onyx), intricately set in black rhodium at Lydia Courteille. Lydia does a fine line in exquisite antique jewellery, too. How can your bank manager possibly blame you when she hears about the generous seasonal discounts?
Jay Ahr (pronounced J-R) and no, nothing to do with Dallas, silly – aces drapey, vampish, dress-to-kill gowns and daywear that'll leave a trail of tongues and a-popping eyes. You’ll be dazzled by the couture, off-the-peg temptations; statement jewels and bags complete the look. Zing!
Le Bon Marché / 24 rue de Sèvres, 7th / +33 1 44 39 80 00 / 10am-8pm Mon-Sat, until 8.45pm Thu / 24sevres.com
Printemps Haussmann / 64 Blvd Haussmann, 9th / +33 1 42 82 50 00 / 9.35am-8pm Mon-Sat, until 8.45pm Thu, 11am-7pm Sun / departmentstoreparis.printemps.com
Galeries Lafayette / 40 Blvd Haussmann, 9th / 9.30am-8.30pm Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm Sun / galerieslafayette.com
55 Croisette / 56-58 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th / +33 1 42 68 34 43 / 10.30am-7.30pm Mon-Sat / 55croisette.com
Barrie / 380 Rue Saint Honoré, 1st / +33 1 44 50 68 67 / 11am-7pm Mon-Sat / barrie.com
Lydia Courteille / 231 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st / +33 1 42 61 11 71 / 10.30am-6.30pm Mon-Sat / lydiacourteille.com
Jay Ahr / 2 rue du 29 Juillet, 1st / +33 1 42 96 95 23 / 10am-7pm Mon-Fri, from 11am Sat / jayahr.com