Shoe mecca: Coco Bazar
The disorienting maze of streets winding around La Butte Montmartre is home to many a unique boutique—you just need to know where to look.
Sidestep the tacky souvenir shops around Place du Tertre and Sacré Coeur unless you want to get ripped off for gaudy berets, I Heart Paris T-shirts and reproductions of classic Parisian scenery (made in China). Keep your wallet safe in the bottom of your bag—the Sacré Coeur tripist trail is also a magnet for pickpockets. Once you’ve drunk in the view from the basilica and watched the artists in action at Place du Tertre, head west to the Quartier des Abbesses to shop.
Rue des Abbesses teems with cafés and boutiques. Aside from the usual Parisian staples (Comptoir des Cotonniers, Kookaï, Petit Bateau), you can find simple, elegant chic at Ba&sh, American Retro and Allison (number 38). There’s always something to fall in love with in the window of Vicxite.A. Their casual boots, fringed shoes, oversize handbags and simple, elegant dresses are the stuff bobo (bourgeois bohème) dreams are made of. Try Lexinston at number 7 for girly pieces and accessories by Ethnochic. For edgier fashion, head to Et Vous at number 46 and Homies at number 8—the latter stocks a selection of colorful ready-to-wear and vintage clothing by a number of designers. Coco Bazar, at number 54, is a bon plan for shoes, with brands including Barbara Bui and Janet & Janet.
Sleek and chic in Montmartre: Ba&sh
Schade Jewellery (15, rue des Abbesses) is an unassuming little boutique and workshop where Sarah Chikar creates delicate glam-rock bracelets, friendship rings and pendants with a clin d’oeil (wink) to George Sand and Colette. We love her exquisite chain rose rings. For more off-the-wall accessories, head to Tombées du Camion, at 17, rue Joseph de Maistre. It’s crammed full of bright necklaces, boxes of loose beads and rings, costume earrings and brooches, along with various vintage trinkets. At Matière à Bijoux (45, rue Lepic), you can choose from the collection of handmade jewelry or ask for a design from a selection of loose beads.
Le Caverne à Fripes (25, rue Houdon), is a tiny basement vintage store. It’s completely chaotic, with rails and bins of men’s and women’s clothes, handbags and shoes in no particular order, but that adds to the fun. You might just come across the perfect pair of 1980s cowboy boots, a leather jacket or a tea dress—and you can guarantee you won’t see them on anyone else.
The quieter streets on the fringes of Montmartre are well worth exploring, and not many tripists venture there. On quiet rue Durantin, just a little farther up the hill from rue des Abbesses, you can find ethnic jewelry and unique homeware. Leafy rue Caulaincourt is lined with foodie shops. There are clothing bargains to be had at Compagnie des Mers (69, rue Lamarck), and there’s a lovely quaint bookshop selling English tomes, L’Odeur du Book (13, rue Ramey), in a very up-and-coming neighborhood.
A final tip: when you’ve worn your feet and your credit card out, grab a table at Coquelicot (24, rue des Abbesses), a lovely Old World boulangerie with all-day brunch.
Editor’s note: Check out our DIY downloadable shopping guides.