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Shopping in the Marais
The Marais has just about stolen the show as the city's hottest shopping spot—for sheer volume it can't be beat. Not to mention atmosphere: from the elegant Place des Vosges to the stately Musée Picasso, its irregular streets and ancient hôtels particuliers give it the air of Old Paris.
Rue des Francs Bourgeois is the shopping-central spine from which the upper and lower Marais branch out. As the Marais's popularity grows, so, too, does the variety of its attractions. The neighborhood's newest frontier is its northeastern edge—the haut Marais—where ultrastylish boutiques, over-the-top vintage stores, and design ateliers are found amid tiny centuries-old millinery shops. Between Rue de Bretagne and Boulevard du Temple to the east you can find à la mode boutiques too numerous to list (and still relatively undertouristed). Rue Charlot is one of the area's primary draws, along with upper Rue Vieille du Temple and Rue de Poitou in between. But this is by no means an exhaustive selection. The best idea is to get out there and wander, because in this lovely quartier, everywhere the eye rests, it rests happily.
Best Time To Go
If being jostled by tourists and cranky Parisians isn't your thing, head over between Tuesday and Friday after 11 am. Remember, the Marais is one of the few places in Paris where shops open up on Sunday. If you're short on time or need a last-minute shopping fix, the Marais is your best bet.
Best Find for Your Coworker
For those challenged in the gift-finding department, you'll think you've landed in heaven at Muji. This store has a flurry of fun, unusual items for the office, home, and bath; many are purse-size, so stuff your suitcase full and finally please everyone.
Lines are out the door for brunch at Le Loir dans la Théière, so go at teatime instead. The comfy, overstuffed chairs, large selection of teas, and glorious pastries provide the perfect late-afternoon pick-me-up. Join Paris aficionados at Pozzetto for some of the best artisanal gelato in the city and—finally—a superlative cup of Italian-style coffee. The gianduja, a luscious mix of chocolate and hazelnut, is heaven on a spoon. Nary a tourist lands here at Paris's oldest covered market,Marché des Enfants Rouge, where you can sit in the semi-outdoors under a translucent roof for a satisfying Italian or Japanese lunch or just an espresso.
Abu d'Abi Bazaar. This is your one-stop outfitter with color-coded racks of the season's standouts.
Antik Batik. Diaphanous silks, vivid colors, and sparkling beadwork add up to thrilling pieces that look great day and night.
L'Éclaireur. Has been supplying high-concept fashion for 30 years.
No. 60. Slinky tops, avant-garde leather, and bottle-leg jeans add up to flattering rocker chic.
Nocollection. Oh-so-pretty silk dresses and separates in soft fabrics and romantic colors.
Samy Chalon. This designer works magic with handmade knitwear—refreshingly original and wondrously sexy.
Swildens. Timeless casuals with plenty of supple leather, chunky knits, and hip accessories.
Vanessa Bruno. Paris's "it" girl combines high style and wearability in her ultrapopular separates and accessories.
Mariage Frères. Elbow your way in for any and every kind of tea, as well as tea-scented jams, chocolates, and gorgeous teaware.
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