Shop Paris Like an Insider Using These Expert Tips

I’m thinking that Chloe Johnston has the best job, like, ever.

As the founder of CJ Tours, she organizes shopping tours in Paris (repeat: shopping tours in Paris) that give visitors an authentic retail peek into one of the world’s chicest cities. People can sign up for group tours based around certain themes (vintage shopping or flea markets, for instance) or book some personal time with a guide who will lead them to the tiny hidden gems a tourist would have to be très lucky to stumble into. Chloe made her first Paris trip at age 12 before a family apartment purchased in high school allowed her more stability with the area and its boutiques. “Before I knew it, we had this amazing network of designers and shopkeepers. On each visit, I was still stumbling upon amazing shops while walking the city.”

Whether you’re prepping for your first trip to the City of Light or just want to be prepped with some insider shopping tips the next time Paris beckons, I got her to spill on what you need to know.

On the most important “dos” for shopping in Paris:
“When walking into any shop, always greet the salesperson with ‘Bonjour, Madame’ or ‘Bonjour, Monsieur.’ Always ask for help and don’t be afraid to try things or ask for suggestions.”

On her favorite French brands you can’t find in the U.S.:
“I love Catherine Loiret bags, Ekyog clothes, and Serge Luten lipstick. They have a shop in Paris where they sell exclusive items not found anywhere else. I love to browse the ParaPharmacies to see what new products are there for trying. City-Pharma is a crazy experience but you can find amazing products. Then, Le Bon Marche for my makeup and candle fix.”

On inexpensive things to shop in Paris:
“I love French beauty products. It’s just something about the way they’re made. City-Pharma has every beauty product you can ever imagine, and they always have lower prices than everywhere else. I make sure to stock up on cellulite cream, face wash, and body scrubs every time I’m there. My mom and my neighbor love Amora mustard. Yes, mustard! It’s less than two euros, and they go nuts over it. You can get it at the Fran Prix.”


On the one must-shop area:
“I’m partial to the 7th arrondissement. It’s always my go-to even when I happen to be elsewhere. The flea market is also just a fabulous place to find something super.”

On the best items to pick up in Paris:
“Accessories like bags, scarves, jewelry, tableware, and candles. Things that add that je ne sais quoi to you and your environment back home. Just a little touch of something special. Bringing back a certain memory can be quite powerful.”

On common Paris fashion misconceptions:
“Everyone assumes that Parisian women have exceptional fashion sense that’s impossible to emulate, but the secret behind every Parisian woman is her confidence. She knows her style and how to accentuate her best attributes. She knows how to convey sex appeal, quietly or otherwise, and is always classy. It’s never over the top. It’s all about subtle, effortless beauty.”

On her favorite Paris purchase, ever:
“Well, I did just purchase my wedding dress in Paris! But my other all-time favorite piece would have to be this vintage pilot bomber jacket that I got at the flea market. It’s so different and like nothing I’ve ever seen. It also helps that it was actually worn by a fighter pilot.”

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