Paris its own world, made up of stunning architecture, grand museums, antique markets, sprawling department stores and beautiful restaurants, but it is also known for its smattering of smaller shops, elegant boutiques and cabinets of curiosity that have been selling specialty wares for centuries. Down secret streets and nestled on nonchalant corners, it is never hard to find a delightful store to spend some time (and euros!). A more unique aspect to the city’s retail offerings is its boutiques d’antan, which roughly translates to “boutiques of yesteryear.”
Step back in time and check out some of Paris’s best boutiques d’antan below.
In the late 1600s, coffee was an exotic hot beverage drunk by philosophers and great thinkers of the time. This special feeling has not been lost at one of Paris’ most prestigious purveyors of the bean: Verlet. Having opened its doors in 1880, Verlet is one of the oldest cafés in Paris. Part salon du thé (“tearoom”), part shop, you can come for a café crême or a chocolat chaud and leave with a bag of its artisanal teas, coffee beans and candied fruits.
Verlet roasts its beans nearby on rue de Montpensier and boasts more than 30 different varieties within its selection. The perfect place for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon cup of joe in an authentic 1920s setting.
256 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
La Mère de Famille
Everyone’s favorite place to shop for all things sweet! With its iconic green and gold painted facade, La Mère de Famille is Paris’s oldest confectionery. Its story begins back in 1726, when Pierre Jean-Bernard, a young grocer from a town just outside of Paris, came to the capital to begin his business. He opened on 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, which has remained the flagship store to this day. Vintage lovers will adore La Mère de Famille for its old school products and its authentic presentation with its traditional metal, wood and glass counters. There’s even a booth where you go to pay your bill!
35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009
Seven generations of the Declercq family are behind this rare business. Specializing in all kinds of trimmings — curtain tassels, button covers, fringing and much more — a wealth of knowledge and quality fabrics lie behind Declercq’s door on rue Etienne Marcel. A kaleidoscope of sumptuous colors lines the shop, which is styled in a lavish setting with bobbins, threads and tassels galore. Getting supplies for a special project here will make you feel like Marie Antoinette on a shopping day!
15 rue Etienne Marcel, 75001
One of Paris’ most famous shops, Deyrolle, is a modern day cabinet of curiosities. From taxidermy butterflies and birds, to foxes and felines, to beetles and shells and everything in between, stepping inside is like being in a real-life Noah’s Ark. Founded in 1831, Deyrolle is still one of the main references in the world of taxidermy, with all animals coming from zoos, wildlife parks or farms after passing away from old age or illness. Aiming to inform and inspire, it is partnered with COP 21 and UNESCO to educate schools and local bodies on protecting the environment. An Aladdin’s Cave which deserves a visit whenever you’re in Paris.
46 rue du Bac, 75007