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Christmas Shopping Guide: Paris

Travel Intelligence

At this time of year some of the world's most exciting cities have a special sparkle - a perfect reason to combine a mini-break with a Christmas spending spree. Here, we round up where to shop in Paris, the City of Light.

Few places in the world will offer the sort of Christmas shopping opportunities that can be found when heading out to Paris this winter.

If you're thinking of taking your Christmas shopping overseas, Paris really is the perfect destination. A vibrant hub of high-end arts, culture and couture fashion, you're bound to stumble across unique gifts for your loved ones, whatever their interests.

A festive trip to the French capital gives you access to a world-class retail experience - from famous department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, down to concept boutiques selling distinct designer pieces.

Shopping in Paris is an experience like no other - this is obvious when people-watching in the ultra-stylish capital or by visiting a backstreet boutique. Sometimes too much choice can make it difficult to narrow down a search for the perfect present, so it is important to think about how you can optimise your precious shopping time in the city.

Shop vintage

Indisputably one of the world's fashion capitals, Paris is a city where trends are set and discarded season after season. However, some of the best stores it has to offer are those offering timeless vintage designer pieces that will be wearable for decades to come.

Espace Kiliwatch

Those who venture to Espace Kiliwatch, which is situated in the heart of Rue Montorgueil - a trendy city centre neighborhood, will find themselves in a vintage haven.

Among those in the know, this shop is famed for its classic designer pieces and hidden gems. However, the boutique also stocks new clothing, and boasts an onsite fashion bookshop.

Find it at: 64 rue Tiquetonne, 2nd arrondissement Website: Espacekiliwatch

Merci

Merci provides a shopping experience with a difference thanks to its cosy, intimate atmosphere. This avant-garde boutique features timeless designer items from the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, as well as creations from young up and coming names.

After perusing the store, which is housed in a sunny loft in Oberkampf, shoppers can relax on its comfy couches or make the most of its reading area.

Find it at: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003. Website: Merci

Art shopping

Similar to fashion, art is entwined in Paris culture in such a way that it's impossible to visit without taking inspiration from the plentiful galleries and exhibitions. Visits to some of the finest galleries in the world such as the Louvre Museum and Centre Pompidou can give you ideas before visiting the best stores in the city.

Un Livre - Une Image

Emmanuelle Fructus' Un Livre - Une Image is an exclusive little gallery and shop open by appointment only. Home to photography from Céline Duval, Philippe Jusforgues, Coco Fronsac and Valentine Fournier, it's a must for photography lovers.

Items carried in the store have been passed down through the years, and it is this mysterious charm that brings them to life.

And with the passion and knowledge of the store's owner to hand, you can be sure that you will always find the perfect piece to hang on the wall back home.

Find it at: 17 rue Alexandre Dumas 11e. Website: Un Livre - Une Image

Galerie Pascal Lansberg

Established in 1992, Galerie Pascal Lansberg is relatively new in the Parisian art scene. However, its penchant for designs from the first half of the 20th century makes it a real stand out.

Displaying works from individuals such as Pierre Soulages, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Manolo Valdés and Tom Wesselmann, the gallery is famed for its attention to detail and quality, leading to it becoming an authority on pop art and French and American contemporary works from the 1950s.

The gallery is also a great place to pick up a unique piece, with collectors from all over the world visiting each year for this very purpose.

Find it at: 36 Rue de Seine, 75006. Website: Galerie Pascal Lansberg

Christmas markets

If you've ever asked yourself what happened to the more traditional aspects of Christmas, then you'll be delighted to discover festive delights throughout Paris. In particular, these magnificent markets embrace the ritualistic festivities of the season.

La Defense Christmas Market

Well established as a traditional market and a venue to find the best gifts in the city, is La Defense, located beside the famous arch from which it borrows its name.

The first thing you will notice is the sheer volume of decorations used here - organisers have gone out of their way to bring the joys of Christmas to the fore with subtle and classy illuminations.

Traditional handmade wooden toys sit side by side with festive crafts and jewellery, evoking a reminiscing of Christmases gone by, while seasonal foods and warm mulled wine will really warm your heart.

The market also has its own ice rink, well worth a visit at the end of a long day's gift shopping.

Find it at: La Defense Grande Arche from November 27th to December 28th.

Christmas Market on Avenue des Champs-Elysées

Not all of the markets in the city are about finding gifts to take back home, however. On one of the world's most famous streets, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, you can simply soak up the traditional festive atmosphere.

Throughout the near two-month duration of this market, there are free Christmas concerts and dance shows, while the hundreds of wooden chalets focus more on food and drink than crafts and gifts found elsewhere.

Stallholders come from all regions of the country, bringing with them champagne, foie gras, cheeses, meats and chocolates that can be enjoyed in the market or taken home to create a unique Christmas dinner.

Find it at: Avenue des Champs-Elysées from November 15th to January 5th.

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