Where to Shop in Paris
This well-known establishment is a must for anyone on the lookout for good quality and specialty kitchenware, especially copper pans and specialty cake tins. Despite the vast choice of products on offer, the store is actually rather small and cramped, and somewhat chaotic with their hectic ordering system. But if you’re lucky to visit the store during a quiet period, you can browse at your own leisure and hopefully find a memorable souvenir to take home. Dehillerin is my first destination for specialty bakeware such as friand tins (called moule à aspic in French) and copper cannelé moulds. But if you’re short on space in your luggage, a Dehillerin-branded spatula would be a perfect memento from this store.
LA GRANDE ÉPICERIE DE PARIS
A lot of people travel to foreign destinations with a travel guide bookmarked with museums and art galleries to visit. I did this on my first trip to Europe from Australia and quickly realised that sculptures and old paintings were not exactly my thing. I prefer to get my cultural fix by visiting the local supermarkets where I can spend hours browsing the aisles, admiring the selection of jams, mustards, tea and even baby food like how an art lover might regard a painting. La Grande Épicerie is the Galeries Lafayette of food shopping, a place where the shelves and counters are so beautifully displayed that it would be a hard challenge to not find a foodie souvenir to take home with you. I love to buy jars of dried herbs wherever I travel, a fairly light and inexpensive memento which I know I am bound to use at some point in the kitchen. If you are staying in the city for several days, it’s worth trying some of the fresh produce they have on offer. Otherwise, buy a few tins of pâté and maybe an exotic bar of chocolate or two for the trip home.
The name of this store is a play on words in French which means “I have everything”. This is the place to go for specialty ingredients such as different grades of cooking chocolate or cocoa nibs, items which are not so readily available outside of France. It’s best to visit this store with something in mind, otherwise you may find yourself later trying to squeeze a 5kg bag of Valrhona chocolate chips into your suitcase.
LE BON MARCHÉ
I love the kitchenware department at Le Bon Marché. Actually, I love the entire department store. It’s clean, classy and not as crowded as the other well-known department stores in Paris. You will find most major brands here, although they do tend towards the more luxury articles. But whether you’re after cookie cutters in the shape of the Eiffel Tower or some high-end Christofle silverware, or you just want to browse at your own leisure, you won’t be disappointed by their offerings. And when you are done shopping, treat yourself to a cup of tea and something sweet at the Rose Bakery Tea Room.
Mora is a place for serious cooks and chefs. Here is where you will find in all shapes and sizes: cake pans, tart pans, silicone moulds, chocolate moulds, cookie cutters, spatulas, silicone mats, knives, pepper mills, cake decorating supplies, the list goes on.
If you like food, you will love the Parisian food markets. They are a great introduction to the local cuisine where you can find all of the freshest ingredients from local fruit and vegetables, to butcher and fishmonger stands, as well as cake and bread stalls. If you are lucky, you might also come across a rôtisserie stand and/or a food stall selling ready-made meals, such as a Vietnamese or Moroccan vendor with house-made specialties.
The markets are a great place to shop for food if you happen to be staying in a furnished apartment or a hotel with a kitchenette where you can prepare your own meals. You might still need to go to a supermarket for some ingredients but that can be a wonderful detour in itself.
Most areas of Paris have a weekly or twice-weekly food market and it is worth making time to visit one in the area where you are staying. My favourites include the Marché Raspail and Marché Saint-Eustache – Les Halles. You can find more information here on food markets by arrondissement.
And a word of advice to the food photographers: if you are simply visiting the markets to take photos, it would be polite to first buy something from the stall before snapping away. Otherwise, make it quick and smile before you annoy the vendors and local shoppers.