Gypset shopping from Sentier to the Canal Saint-Martin
Between the Grands Boulevards, Rue Réaumur and Boulevard Sébastopol, the Sentier area is full of picturesque streets that have kept the charm of yesteryear. For a long time, Rue d’Aboukir and Rue du Caire were strongholds of the wholesale textile trade. Over the past few years, the area has witnessed a radical transformation, with cocktail bars, much-hyped restaurants and designer stores popping up everywhere. Sentier has become terribly cool, and it is a pleasure to stroll around there, all the way to the hustle and bustle of Place de la République. Starting from that square, the peaceful Canal Saint-Martin stretches all the way to the Bassin de la Villette. Previously a very working-class area – L’Hôtel du Nord, immortalised by Marcel Carné in the film of the same name, is still part of the landscape – the Canal Saint-Martin is now a hotspot for Parisian bohos, who love to stroll along its banks, window-shop and linger by the waterside watching the boats go by. Explore these two ultra-trendy and unbelievably authentic shopping areas.
A shoppers’ paradise
Your immersion in the world of trendy bohemian design begins a stone’s throw from the Grands Boulevards, immortalised in a famous song by Yves Montand. On the corner of the legendary Rex Club, on Rue Poissonnière, the concept-store Cabinet Mode Thérapie guarantees you a blissful shopping experience. Rock jewellery, vintage blouses, boiler suits and blue overalls, knick-knacks for your home… Real retail therapy!
Walk through the picturesque neighbourhood of Sentier, making a stop at the Sezane apartment on the way, and head for Rue de Lancry, just next to the Place de la République. At number 12, the store Thanx God I’m a V.I.P. is a vintage gem for super-stylish fashionistas. Courrèges dresses, Chanel coats, Miu Miu bags, Hermès skirts: you will find the crème de la crème of French and international design, both classic and contemporary, including rare pieces that will really set you apart from the crowd.
A stone’s throw away, the high priestess of the stripy T-shirt and the snaps cardigan awaits you in a store decked out in her label’s colours. Discover the entire agnès b. collection for women, children and travel, made up of timeless pieces that blend classic codes with inspiration from the street. You will also be left in no doubt about the great designer’s passion for contemporary art and citizen involvement.
Take Rue Beaurepaire and stop at number 20, in front of a magnificent red window display showcasing the most dazzling of shoes. Inside the cosy boutique, the Patricia Blanchet collection will call out to you: ultra-feminine ankle boots, sequinned stilettos, mock snakeskin cowboy boots… here, shoes are like jewellery, endowing the feet with an irresistible glamour. A devilishly sexy look without breaking the bank.
A little further on, you will come to the Quai de Valmy on the bank of the Canal Saint-Martin, one of the most charming and picturesque walks in the city. There are plenty of shopping spots to discovery and terraces where you can have a drink while observing the balletic spectacle of the boats passing through the locks.
At 95 quai de Valmy, the three Antoine & Lili stores give passers-by a flavour of what lies within with their sparkling multicoloured window displays. Women’s fashion, ornaments, kids’ toys… this bric-a-brac concept-store is a real Aladdin’s cave and a standard-bearer for gypset fashion. Robes with an ethnic flavour, Bohemian jewellery, colourful cushions and tablecloths, fun crockery and soft toys for the kids… You won’t go away empty-handed!
The 350 m2 space at 61 quai de Valmy is a testament to the success story of influencer Lisa Gachet. After the triumph of her blog, where she shares her creations with her community, the young designer opened her boutique Make my lemonade, where DIY is king. Brand-new models, patterns, fabrics, haberdashery… Paradise for budding dressmakers!
Man oh man
The diametric opposite of a traditional mall, Centre Commercial, which opened in 2010, has proved a great success with fans of fair, responsible fashion. Though women are catered for too, the sleek light wood interior with minimalist furniture is dominated by menswear. Veja trainers, Armor Lux sweaters, Patagonia puffas, Bleu de Paname jackets… the store is popular with the modern man who takes care of himself and his environment.
Centre Commercial also has a children’s store. Fashion, decoration, cuddly toys, wooden toys, educational games… a must-visit for parents looking to combine the beautiful with the ethical. With Mini Rodini bomber jackets, Bobo Choses masks, Berberlis booties, Fabelab cuddly toys, you’ll find the best of fair-trade, Made-in-France and eco-friendly fashion for kids aged 0-14.
Accessories & Co.
Like the bazaars of yesteryear, La Trésorerie conceals a thousand and one treasures for the home in its 10th arrondissement shop. Dishes, table accessories, cooking utensils, linen, cleaning products… Everything is carefully selected and favours production methods that respect the planet and the traditional economy. Make yourself at home!
Brooching the subject
Macon & Lesquoy, the little French label that is reinventing hand-embroidered brooches and badges, needs no introduction. The Méliès shooting star, Halley’s Comet, spaceships, moonwalking, moustaches… the creative universe of Marie Macon and Anne-Laure Lesquoy is poetic and full of humour. A must for accessorising a jacket, sweater or coat.
One last drink
Treat yourself to a tipple at Bambou, an immense bar-restaurant concealed in a Sentier backyard. The succession of cosy, intimate rooms with a subtle, unusual decor is like a trip back into the Indochina of the last century. Amid the bird cages bought secondhand in China, the leather and metal dragon made by Zoé Rumeau, the little lounge and its cabinet of curiosities, the billiard room and the smoking room, reminiscent of a 19th-century opium den… you can savour the bar’s signature cocktails, curled up in a comfortable armchair or, when the sun is out, sitting on the welcoming terrace away from the noise of the street.
To be discovered
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- Copyright image: CRT IDF/Ooshot/Capelle-Tourn