4 of the Coolest Paris Concept Stores for Alternative Shopping

4 of the Coolest Paris Concept Stores for Alternative Shopping

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© The Broken Arm

An entertaining alternative to shopping, be it at a department store or a chain boutique, is the Paris concept store. It is a space conceived by a talented founder who wants to present fashion as a player in the spirit of the times. This vision results in the creation of an emporium not only dedicated to fashion, but to design, to food, to music, books, magazines — all under the same roof.

This is fashion as experience: personally curated to give the shopper the confidence that they are ahead of the trends before they hit main street.

Gucci fashion wear available at L'Eclaireur © leclaireur
Gucci fashion wear available at L’Eclaireur © leclaireur

Here are four top-notch concept stores I like to check out frequently in Paris:

L’Eclaireur

Founded in the 1980’s by visionary Armand Hadida and his wife Martine, L’Eclaireur is the pioneer of the genre. Their three major locations in Paris have sumptuous displays of cutting edge designers, from Haider Ackerman to freshly-found, unconventional talent such as Poell.

Each store has its own peculiar design and atmosphere. Hadida loves to surprise his customers with new elements, such as launching the No Name Kitchen at the rue Herold store. It is in a secret room, which formerly housed his astounding cabinet of curiosities.

Colette store in Paris © Colette
Colette store in Paris © Colette

Colette

Now celebrating 20 years in the concept store business, this is the go-to store for fashionistas who want to have the inside track. It consists of an art gallery, water bar and restaurant, displays of books, magazines and cutting-edge gadgets — not forgetting the clothes of course. Labels such as Alexis Mabille, Lanvin and Balenciaga are displayed on dummies as in a museum. Colette is a true fashion experience. Book signings by famous fashion figures such as American Vogue’s Grace Coddington or cooking sensation Mimi Thorisson are frequent, and window displays are provocative.

Where: 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris

Organic bonnets knitted by Finnish grandmothers © Merci
Organic bonnets knitted by Finnish grandmothers © Merci

Merci

Founded by the family who started the exquisite children’s line, Bonpoint, this is a three-floor mega store located in a renovated printing factory. Thanks to Merci, the area around it has become a vital fashion and design community. A steady stream of visitors from around the world flock to this cavern of cutting-edge delights, which range from bobo fashion to luxuriously raw home design, perfume and interesting paper products. All this is rounded out by three eating areas: a café, a fresh food restaurant and a cozy library space serving light snacks.

Where: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris 

© The Broken Arm
© The Broken Arm

The Broken Arm

This is the latest exciting concept store to open in Paris in the upper Marais. This two-level emporium has an Antwerp feel to it, hosting established labels for men and women as well as featuring young designers. Here you can find a mixture of well-curated items by Balenciaga, Celine and Loewe. Solo labels such as Jacquemus, Vetements and Lemaire give the selection a surprisingly tempting twist.

Original accessories and books and magazines round out the offerings. For a well-earned rest after serious shopping, try their cozy café serving light food and excellent coffee next door.

Where: 12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris

Madeleine Czigler
Madeleine Czigler was born in Budapest, Hungary and raised in Toronto, Canada. She holds degrees from the University of Toronto and the Sorbonne in Paris and has pursued a career in TV broadcasting and print journalism for three decades. As a field producer for major media such as CTV, CBC, Discovery and PBS, Madeleine reported on topics ranging from political elections, Olympic sports and fashion shows. From 1989 to 2009, she was the Paris based producer for the internationally acclaimed CBC TV series Fashion File seen in over 150 countries around the world. Madeleine has covered hundreds of fashion shows and back stages interviewing celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Linda Evangelista and Karl Lagerfeld. Madeleine now divides her time between Paris and Toronto, freelancing and teaching communications at the American University of Paris.

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