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The Insider’s Shopping Guide to Paris

Gay Gassmann

Planning to be in Paris soon? Bring home a distinctive design piece from an ingenious lifestyle concept store, score a table at a new Asian-French culinary mecca, or brighten up any space with a tiny garden bouquet from one of the city’s best-kept-secret florists. (Hint, they are Japanese and celebrate the old fashioned nosegays of another era—always a good idea.) From an oasis-like spa in the sky to the best matcha and cinnamon buns in town, here are the low-key finds you’ll want to know about.

UMAMI MATCHA CAFE

Umami Matcha Cafe.
Photo: Julien Valle

Although somewhat commonplace in most American cities, a great matcha drink was not so easy to find in Paris—until now. What first began as a specialty store for fine Japanese products, Umami Matcha Cafe is the first all-matcha bar in France. The sister-brother team behind the Marais address has been serving matcha to a growing number of neighborhood Parisians and is getting ready to open up a second location in the 17th arrondissement. Open seven days a week, it’s a great spot for a morning matcha cappuccino and a bite from the weekly menu, including a Sunday brunch with matcha cheesecake and homemade granola. umamiparis.com

GALERIES LAFAYETTE CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées.
Photo: Matthieu Salvaing

No visit to Paris this season would be complete without a visit to the brand-new flagship for French department store Galeries Lafayette. With one foot in the past—as the original plan was to open on the Champs Élysées in 1927—this forward-looking, family-run group has just opened a spectacular new space. Located in an original Art Deco building, the destination spot has been rethought by the talented Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. The store is looking to increase the customer experience, so you will find a range of products from fashion to beauty with a gourmet food hall, a café, and a restaurant—plus such tech-driven innovations like a smart hanger, which will indicate immediately what sizes are available in any given item. galerieslafayettechampselysees.com

CIRCUS BAKERY

Being told there is a little bakery in the 5th arrondissement with the best cinnamon buns in Paris is one thing, but the “experience” once you arrive is something else entirely. Located on one of the most charming, medieval, little streets behind Notre-Dame cathedral is Circus, opened less than a year ago. Once you find the street, follow the scent of cinnamon and you will find the discrete door to this little place. Arrive when the buns are getting ready to come out of the oven and the line starts forming outside the door. Open seven days a week and getting ready to add pizzas next, this all-organic bakery is the brainchild of the team behind another popular café in the 3rd arrondissement, Fragments. https://www.instagram.com/circusbakeryparis/?hl=en

MERCI PIED-À-TERRE CONCEPT APARTMENT

Merci Pied-à-Terre.
Photo: Jérôme Galland

When pioneering and popular concept store Merci decided to expand into lifestyle, what better way than to just move into the building next door and open up a fully furnished apartment? Always looking for ways to push the retail envelope and engage with its customers, Merci has just opened a by-appointment-only showroom, Pied-à-Terre, full of vintage, modern, and contemporary art and design. Everything not nailed down is for sale, including its ever-changing decor. There are also plans to host events, chef’s tables, and workshops inside. merci-merci.com

LE BAR DES PRÈS

Galette Tourteau Avocat at Le Bar des Près, one of their specialties.
Photo: Charlotte Lindet

It seems whatever French star chef Cyril Lignac touches turns to culinary gold. Well-known in France thanks to his various television appearances, Lignac has a few restaurants in Paris and a series of namesake bakeries. Tucked away in the 6th arrondissement is his Le Bar des Près. Intimate and cozy at just 40 seats, Lignac has created exclusive dishes inspired by Asian and French cuisine, with a sushi chef at the bar and an extensive cocktail menu and performative mixologist. Le Bar des Près feels like a neighborhood spot and the gorgeous interiors are all natural and muted by the architects Studio KO. The chef is accommodating to special requests, but one of their specialties is a crispy galette with crab and curry topped with slices of avocado—and don’t forget the matcha chiffon cake with chocolate sauce for dessert. lebardespres.com

AOYAMA FLOWER MARKET

Aoyama Flower Market.
Photo: Laetitia Hotte

With more than 100 locations in Japan, Ayoma Flower Market has been spreading its gospel of life and flowers every day since 1989. Respecting the seasons and the “personality” of each bloom, Ayoma creates bouquets with poetry and simplicity. Paris was selected as its first overseas location, opening a small but perfect storefront in the chic 7th arrondissement, near the Bon Marché department store. Ayoma specializes in everyday bouquets and has baskets of little nosegays ready to grab and go from morning till night. aoyamaflowermarket.net

LADDA SPA

Ladda Spa.
Photo: Courtesy of Ladda Spa

In a nondescript modern building in the up-and-coming, trendy 10th arrondissement is a rooftop spa full of calm and relaxation. Very word-of-mouth with hints of the best Thai massage in Paris, the spa is well worth the trek. Opened by a music industry insider, the spa offers appointment-only treatments and massages using all-natural products within a white cocoon of calm. Take a step into the sunlight peace and quiet of Ladda and let go for a relaxing moment. (Ladda has plans to open the roof for the summer months and offer a massage under the blue skies of Paris.) laddaparis.com