Sofia's choice: Paris fashion hot-spots

Mme Coppola opens her address book to reveal her Paris hot-spots
Click to follow
The Independent Travel

Benneton Graveur

Engraver Emile Benneton set up shop on Boulevard Malesherbes in 1880. He was soon supplying stationery by appointment to the courts of several European countries. Benneton Engraveur has remained in family hands, preserving its heritage as well as its upscale clientele, still enamoured of its old-fashioned stationery (from calling cards to wedding announcements), writing accessories, and heraldic engraving.

75 boulevard Malesherbes, 8th arrondissement (00 33 1 43 87 57 39,

Azzedine Alaïa

A superstar in the 1980s and a cult hero in the 21st century, Tunisian-born fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa has his headquarters in Le Marais neighbourhood, close to the department store BHV. The building is like a theme park, comprising a main shop; a circular, Marc Newson-designed shoe shop; a gallery-annexe-showroom; and even a three-room design hotel, furnished with 20th-century antiques from the host's private collection.

4 rue de Moussy, 4th arrondissement (00 33 1 42 72 19 19)


In a sense, fashion was born on Place Vendôme and rue de la Paix, currently home to five-star hotels and jewellers from Cartier to Tiffany's. The world's first couture designer - Charles Frederic Worth, a Brit - had his workshop here. One of a few remaining clothing businesses is the 170-year-old Charvet, which specialises in custom shirts. The shop windows are superbly archaic, with beautiful arrays of quaint pyjamas and boxer shorts.

28 Place Vendôme, 1st arrondissement (00 33 1 42 60 30 70)

Clignancourt flea market

Still the world's largest flea market, Clignancourt straddles the périphérique that runs around Paris. The area has about a dozen separate markets, each catering to a different kind of client. While mid-century amateurs hang out in Marché Paul Bert, lovers of traditional antiques head to Marché Dauphine. Kids from the suburbs, meanwhile, barter away their sneakers on the dark alleys closest to Le Périph.

Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen, at Porte de Clignancourt, on the edge of the 18th arrondissement. Open every Saturday, Sunday and Monday (

Gérard Mulot

There's often a long line outside Gérard Mulot, the excellent patisserie in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. One of the city's most romantic picnic spots, the Jardin du Luxembourg, is only minutes away.

76 rue de Seine, 6th arrondissement (00 33 1 43 26 85 77,

Galerie 213

Originally a gallery on the Left Bank specialising in contemporary photography, 213 is now a bookstore on the other side of the Seine. The focus, however, is still on photography, with an impressive selection of books, both new and collectible (in particular, the Japanese section). Tucked away in the outer reaches of Le Marais, 213 sits in the trendiest part of town, across the street from fashion designer Gaspard Yurkievich and very close to the hip (omega) restaurants on the recently refurbished Marché des Enfants Rouges.

58 rue Charlot, 3rd arrondissement (00 33 1 43 22 83 23;


If they're not dancing at Le Baron or Paris Paris, celebrities of all ages gather at Mathis, the half-bar, half-wax-museum that has become an institution. It's just behind Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

33 rue de Ponthieu, 8th arrondissement (00 33 1 53 76 39 55)

Didier Ludot

Didier Ludot might well be the world's pre-eminent seller of vintage clothing. His imperium, visited by both museum directors and fashionistas, stretches out over three tiny shops in Palais-Royal. One shop is dedicated to ready-to-wear (of predominantly French origin), another to haute couture (the usual big names, but also obscure past masters, such as Jean Dessès and Jacques Griffe). The third stocks Ludot's line of little back dresses.

Jardins du Palais-Royal, 20-24 Galerie de Montpensier, 1st arrondissement (00 33 1 42 96 06 56;


With its hand-painted lettering and antique furniture, the Goyard flagship on rue Saint-Honoré suggests it's still 1853. Although no longer a family business, this very upscale malletier has managed to remain discreet, positioning itself as a Vuitton for the élite. While you're there, look out for John Galliano's great shop across the street, and Colette is a short walk away.

233 rue Saint-Honoré, 1st arrondissement (00 33 1 42 60 57 04;


This flower shop is among the best on the Left Bank, and is also conveniently close to APC's four-shop mini-emporium. Go there for old-fashioned rose bouquets.

9 rue Madame, 6th arrondissement (00 33 1 42 84 03 00)

Pierre Hardy

Pierre Hardy has had a very successful career designing shoes and accessories for established fashion houses, Hermès among them. He launched his own line of shoes in 1999. His shop in Palais-Royal twinkles with the minimalist cool of a futurist time capsule.

Jardins du Palais-Royal, 156 Galerie de Valois, 1st arrondissement (00 33 1 42 60 59 75;

Sabbia Rosa

As befits one of the world's finest addresses for lingerie, Sabbia Rosa in Saint-Germain-des-Prés is small, discreet and boudoirlike. Its clients, many of them famous, praise the soft French silks it uses.

73 rue des Saints-Pères, 6th arrondissement (00 33 1 45 48 88 37)

Chez Omar

Chez Omar is an affordable, relaxed Arab restaurant for those in the know. It's in rue de Bretagne, halfway between Le Marais and Place de la Republique and has delicious couscous.

47 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd arrondissement (00 33 1 42 72 36 26)

Les Archives de la Presse

One of a handful of shops dedicated to vintage magazines, Les Archives de la Presse stocks a good (but expensive) selection of mainly French titles, many from the mid-20th century, such as Marie Claire, Paris Match and Vogue.

15 rue des Archives, 3rd arrondissement (00 33 1 42 72 63 93)

Serge Lutens

Les Salons du Palais-Royal Shiseido are home to the exquisite fragrances of the legendary parfumeur Serge Lutens. One of the biggest names in the beauty sector, he has worked with Dior and Shiseido (creating the very successful Féminité du Bois for the latter) before opening this somewhat mysterious, dark shrine to beauty in 1991. Check out his recently launched range of make-up, then look for his new neighbours: Marc Jacobs and Rick Owens.

Jardins du Palais-Royal, 142 Galerie de Valois, 1st arrondissement (00 33 1 49 27 09 09;


A faithful reconstruction of Jeanne Lanvin's original Art Deco bedroom suite is currently on view at the recently inaugurated Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in nearby rue de Rivoli. Thanks to Alber Elbaz, Lanvin's current designer, the venerated old label is once again essential.

22 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th arrondissement (00 33 1 44 71 31 73;


Deyrolle is in the business of preparing, stuffing and mounting dead animals. While a taxidermist might not be the most obvious shopping destination, this shop is one of the most beautiful in town. Virtually unchanged since 1831, it resembles a motionless, indoor safari park, featuring a lion, a tiger, a bear, a flock of sheep, and birds and butterflies by the dozens.

46 rue du Bac, 7th arrondissement (00 33 1 42 22 30 07,

Bar Hemingway

The Ritz Hotel on Place Vendôme is famous for a number of things, among them its glamorous guests, its marble swimming pool, and its Hemingway Bar, a showy yet fine place to drink classic cocktails.

Hotel Ritz Paris, 15 Place Vendôme, 1st arrondissement (00 33 1 43 16 33 65;


The macaron is Paris reinvented as a sweet. No wonder it had a starring role in Coppola's Marie Antoinette. The movie had its pastries supplied by this old-fashioned tea salon. On the Left Bank, Pierre Hermé is recommended for his contemporary versions.

6 rue Royale, 8th arrondissement (00 33 1 42 60 21 79)