Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché, the world’s first modern department store, opened its doors in 1852, and soon became popular for innovations such as fixed prices marked on tags, exchanges, refunds and sales, as well as a reading room and private concerts. Its origins go back further, however, to 1838, when the Videau brothers launched Au Bon Marché, a four-storey haberdasher that also sold bedlinen, mattresses and umbrellas. The brothers’ partnership with Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut 14 years later transformed the store’s fortunes, laying the foundations for the stylish emporium of today.
Le Bon Marché, 24 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris, +33 (0)1 4439 8000
Louis Vuitton began as a trunkmaker in 1854, and its glamorous flagship store, on one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, is a must-visit spot in Paris. The art deco building, dating from 1914, is a listed historical monument, and has a striking façade topped by a dome. The interior is just as impressive, and provides a suitably chic backdrop for the luxury brand’s much coveted bags, shoes, accessories, ready to wear and more. Services include personalised monogramming, a concierge and a fragrance fountain.
Louis Vuitton, 101 avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, +33 (0)1 5357 5200
Shakespeare and Company
The first Shakespeare and Company was opened in 1919 by American publisher Sylvia Beach. The English-language bookstore-cum-library became a popular meeting point for notable writers and poets such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and others, before closing in 1941. The current store was founded by another American bibliophile, George Whitman, in 1951 in an early 17th-century former monastery, who renamed it in honour of Beach. Since then, it has become a Left Bank institution and a haven for Paris’s book lovers.
Shakespeare and Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, +33 (0)1 4325 4093
Founded in 1730, and therefore the oldest venue on our list, Stohrer patisserie owes its existence to the marriage of Louis XV to Marie Leszczynska, daughter of King Stanislas of Poland. Her pastry chef, Nicolas Stohrer, followed her to Paris where he opened his own patisserie, in which conjured up exquisite creations for the French court. Almost 300 years later, Stohrer is still in its original home, and is the place to head for everything from éclairs and lemon tarts to Mont Blancs and macarons fit for a king.
Stohrer, 61 rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)1 4233 3820
À la Mère de Famille
With a history that dates back to 1761, À la Mère de Famille is known for its exquisite chocolates, sweets and cakes. The ‘mother of the family’ after whom the shop is named was Marie-Adélaïde Bridault, the second wife of the founder’s son-in-law, who took over what was then a high-class grocer in 1807 and turned it into one of the city's leading establishments. Nowadays, the brand has 12 shops in Paris where visitors can snap up its handcrafted pralines, caramel bonbons, chocolates, fruit candies and much more, but none has quite the old-fashioned appeal as the original shop, which features antique tiles, wooden counters and chandeliers.
À la Mère de Famille, 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris, +33 (0)1 4770 8369
Famed for being the world’s oldest surviving shirtmaker, Charvet Place Vendôme – or just Charvet, as it’s usually known – opened its first Paris atelier in 1838. The brand is known for the impeccable quality of its made-to-measure shirts and suits, available in a wide choice of fabrics in an array of colours, which has brought it the custom of everyone from royalty to Hollywood directors. The current store in place Vendôme opened in 1877, and is the perfect place to experience Charvet’s legendary customer service at first hand, as well as stock up on its equally impressive ties and pyjamas.
Charvet, 28 place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, +33 (0)1 4260 3070
Mellerio dits Meller
Jeweller Mellerio dits Meller, which claims to be the oldest family-run company in Europe, was founded in 1613 by the Italian Meller family. After serving several kings and queens of France, possibly including Marie Antoinette, the business moved to Paris in 1815 and established a store at 22 rue de la Paix – still the Mellerio address. The company designed jewellery and crowns for many royal families across Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, and now offers bespoke pieces and engagement rings made with the finest cut diamonds and precious stones, as well as sporting trophies and watches.
Mellerio dits Meller, 22 rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)1 4261 5753