Try as they might, no one has mastered the wardrobe of seduction quite like the City of Love. France’s longstanding history of domestic lace-making and feminine haute couture makes the purchase of lingerie the perfect way to remember your romantic Parisian getaway.
Just be sure to plan your shopping accordingly—most boutiques aren’t open on Sundays. These nine outfitters, however, sell undergarments worth snatching up the six other days of the week.
Carine Gilson. The underthings at this sparsely decorated 7th arrondissement boutique are a sophisticated step away from frou-frou. Lace-trimmed camisoles and silky bralettes—we love the demure shades of peach and rose—are cut softly and come sans padding, perfect for the woman who understands comfort as the ultimate luxury. For those looking to leave a little to the imagination, Gilson’s short lace robes don’t come cheap, but they are mighty pretty to look at.
18 Rue de Grenelle; 01 43 26 46 71.
Sabbia Rosa. Stepping into this luxury lingerie shop feels a bit like coming home—if the shag carpet and warm lighting isn’t inviting, the warm bonjour of the eager-to-help owner will be. Prices run very high—panties in the 200 euro range—but the abundance of options almost makes up for it. Silk negligees are packed by the dozens into cozy wooden alcoves, while bras and panties wait for examination in old-fashioned blue boxes behind the counter. Madonna and Sofia Coppola are both fans.
73 Rue des Saints-Pères; 01 45 48 88 37.
Vannina Vesperini. With their incredible detailing, Vesperini’s bras are made to be seen. Lace straps interwoven with organza ribbon, bow accents on cheeky gingham prints—the intricate designs, often featured in saturated shades of pinks and yellows, are stunning in ways typically reserved for black-tie ball gowns. Modern sophisticates unafraid to call attention to their undergarments—or seriously shell out for luxe separates—will enjoy browsing this 6th arrondissement boutique. Lingerie is displayed in sleek wooden drawers and dressing rooms are separated by sumptuous rose velvet.
4 Rue de Tournon; 01 56 24 32 72.
Princesse Tam Tam. Abundant in the city but nowhere to be found state-side is Princesse Tam Tam, an affordable line of brightly colored, Anthropologie-esque lingerie and loungewear. Twenty-somethings swear by the versatile bra and panty sets, and the retro-chic swimwear hits just the right balance of sweet and sexy, but homewear is truly Tam Tam’s strong point. Creative, comfortable, and expanded well beyond robes and nighties, this collection of loose wraps, full-coverage camis, and yoga-ready bottoms works as well on the streets as it does in the bedroom.
Petit Bateau. Though predominately a separates line famed for its boat-neck sweaters, Petit Bateau carries feminine sweatshirts, pajama bottoms, and casual cotton underwear. The breezy pieces—sold in muted solid colors—epitomize weekend Parisian chic.
Le Rayon Lingerie at Le Bon Marché. Chantal Thomass, Christian Dior, Agent Provocateur—the “aisle of underwear” (actually an entire floor) at this famed French department carries it all, and does it with style. In-store brand boutiques are outfitted with plush seats for doting boyfriends and are decorated to embody the fantasy their products aim to create. With options ranging from the ultra-luxe Eres down to department store basics, everyone is guaranteed to score a piece of Paris.
38 Rue de Sèvres; 01 44 39 80 00.
Yoba. If there’s anything Parisians understand, it’s the importance of pleasure. Indulge discreetly at Yoba, a small 1st arrondissement shop outfitted in fuschia and filled with racy lingerie, seductive corsets and garter belts, and a healthy selection of sex toys. If you’re looking to spice up your love life, a piece from the tasteful assortment of bedroom games and accessories is the perfect thing to bring back home. In France with friends? Try visiting Thursday night. On this “girls only” evening, guests are treated to Champagne and sweet treats while they shop.
11 Rue du marché Saint Honoré; 01 40 41 04 06.
Fifi Chachnil. If retro-glam isn’t your thing, you may want to avoid Fifi Chachnil’s—the ruffled baby dolls and high-waisted bloomers look straight out of a 50’s pin-up calendar. Adorned with pink drapery, romantic armoires, and ornate carpeting, the two locations come as girly as their wares and have a decent selection of vintage-inspired maribou bedroom heels. Those looking to channel their inner Marilyn Monroe will do well to stop by.
68 Rue Jean Jaques Roussau, 01 42 21 19 93; and 231 Rue St. Honoré, 01 42 61 21 83.
Cadolle. Does it get any more haute couture than hand-made corsets? Not when you’re being outfitted by descendants of Herminie Cadolle, the inventor of the modern bra. Dedicated to top-quality product, the current head couturier, Poupie, sees each client herself, and has produced everything from custom pieces for the Crazy Horse dancers to teddies designed for Texas socialites. Prices are the steepest around town, and you can bet on waiting for an appointment, but if nothing will do but the best, Cadolle is the only option. The ready-to-wear store—filled with decadent pieces that skew slightly older—sits on Rue Cambon, while the made-to-measure boutique is on Rue St-Honoré.
14 Rue Cambon, 01 42 60 94 22; and 255 Rue St-Honoré, 01 40 12 64 12.