This mythic bookshop has been a much-loved part of Parisian literary life for generations. George Whitman's daughter, Sylvia, keeps the memories alive, and the rickety old shop, opposite the Notre Dame, is always overflowing with passionate people and ideas, and stays open until 11 p.m. every day of the week. As of 2015, it even boasts an adjacent café.
Famed pastry chef Philippe Urraca opened a truly unique shop in the Marais district in 2014 dedicated to the one and only profiterole. Reinventing the classic chocolate version, Urraca has imagined a profiterole that plays on the French lemon tart, and another which rethinks the Paris-Brest.
This Upper Marais mecca for fashionistas is a huge, light-filled emporium dedicated to designer fashion and accessories—for men and women, jewelry, beauty, housewares, and more. The space also includes three great café spaces; a favorite among locals is on the lower ground floor overlooking the herb garden, while another space surrounds coffee drinks with books of all types.
Besides trading in colorful produce and lusty charcuterie, this petit marché in the Marais (one of the oldest in Paris) is the spot for an affordable meal assembled from the variety of ethnic prepared-food stands. Chez Alain is one of the stars, with long lines forming at lunch for one of his hearty savory crepes or sandwiches, which can easily take an hour to procure.
More like a city unto itself than a mere flea market, this vast expanse—really a series of many markets accommodating a whopping 2,500 dealers—could easily take up an entire day. The antique furniture is superb, the chandeliers are splendid, but there are also many, many seductive objects far easier to transport home—everything from enamel kitchen canisters to wonderful vintage postcards of an earlier Paris.
If bees are dying off, you wouldn't know it at the Maison du Miel, a honey institution operating since 1898. Whether it's cookies, candies, mustards, vinegars, or a plain old jar of thick gooey honey itself, this store carries it all. The brand even works with other companies in France to create unique products, like the honey praline made in conjunction with Mazet de Montargis.
All things "Made in France" are trending in Paris, and not least among such goods are under-garments. Whether it's boxers or briefs, Le Slip Français has comfortable yet fashionable undies for him and her. They also carry socks, swim trunks, and other accessories that are all entirely made in France.
When it comes to eyewear, Parisians always seem to get it right. Visit Jimmy Fairly to understand why. They design and manufacture their eyewear for men and women in France, which means they sell unique designs not found in other stores. These simple, chic frames and sunglasses are not only fashionable, but contribute to the greater good.
Many of the smaller vintage clothing shops in Paris's Marais district are closing their doors, but Free'P'Star remains an enclave for guys and gals looking for secondhand, well, anything. Shoes, dresses, overcoats, and accessories are all available, with the racks changing almost daily as new goods are delivered.
A newcomer on the chocolate scene, Edwart was created by two Frenchmen who love playing with dark and milk chocolate in surprising ways. Filled with Madagascar vanilla, spicy chilis, or even Indian curry, their chocolates are a voyage of the senses. They also prepare caramel and hazelnut spreads perfect for covering warm baguette or ice cream—or just eating by the spoonful.