Walk down any street in Paris and you’ll notice that the women all have a similar, effortlessly chic wardrobe. Navy and white striped tops, black blazers, ballet flats, skinny jeans, ankle boots, a slick of red lipstick – there’s an unspoken uniform that forms the basis of true French style.
The key to copying the look is shopping like a local and moving beyond the prestige strips of rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and rue Cambon. Parisienne women love their labels homegrown and it’s in these boutiques that you’ll find the staples to give you that certain je ne sais quoi…
1. French Trotters
Sisters Clare and Clarent Dehlouz offer a much loved fashion fix for men, women and now kids in three stores across Paris. A favourite of actress Rose Byrne, the label offers everything from handmade bath products to sweet, lace dresses. Lovingly produced in France, this is where you’ll find the perfect Breton top or leather satchel. It’s not cheap, however the workmanship and quality are well worth the tag. Find stores here.
2. Comptoir Des Cotonniers
When it first opened in 1995, Comptoir Des Cotonniers was the only affordable luxury brand in Paris. Catering to the sophisticated city girl, this label is like a French Country Road. You’ll find all the wardrobe classics with a lovely Parisienne twist. Look out for chic LBD’s, sleek single breasted wool blazers and I’m personally devoted to their boat neck t-shirts. Find store locations here.
3. Vanessa Bruno
• She’s the designer of choice for young French bohemians. Bruno’s cool, luxe aesthetic is much loved on the Left Bank with every second teenage girl carrying a VB tote to school. This is an innately Parisienne label – you put it on and feel like you should accessorise with a beret. Must buys: a sequin and canvas tote bag (they made very glamorous nappy bags for both my kids), a black evening tuxedo blazer and a pair of flat-fronted dress shorts. My favourite Bruno boutique happens to be right near my favourite church – 25 rue Saint Sulpice 75006 Paris. This means you can combine sightseeing with your shopping. Find store locations here.
4 & 5. Sandro and Maje
These twin labels owned by sisters Judith Milgrom and Evelyne Chétrite have a cult following. Sandro is the edgier of the two, specialising in leather jackets and sexy dresses. Maje (pronounced majh) is slightly more affordable and delivers a classic offering filled with cashmere sweaters and denim. Their boutiques are dotted all over the city and they really are your one-stop-shop for nailing the cool-girl look. For store locations, head to Sandro and Maje.
6. American Vintage
Every Parisienne woman I know buys her t-shirts and singlets from American Vintage. Primarily because their basics go so perfectly with jeans, boots and leather cropped biker jackets. This is the home of grey marle – another French staple – and the place where you’ll find the t-shirt you’ve been looking for your whole life. Known for tissue thin, super soft cottons, my favourites styles are the Los Angeles Vest singlets and the scooped Douglas Top. Find store locations here.
Most of Expedia’s Aussie travellers spend 3-4 nights in Pairs – that’s plenty of time to fill your suitcases – and popular spots for a base are around the major tourist attractions. If you do stay near the Louvre or Champs Elysees, you’ll get to do sightseeing en route to shopping.
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