Paris is a mecca for cooks, and folks come here from around the world to stock up on French and specialty cookware. Many of the shops are clustered around the Les Halles area, where for many years restaurateurs shopped at the giant market there for produce and other comestibles, as well as professional kitchenware. Although the market is gone, many of those stores exist and you can make a day of shopping in the various stores.
One caveat is to check prices before leaving home. Often items are priced less elsewhere because many goods in France have substantial VAT added (hovering at around 20%). Plus figure in shipping or baggage fees if you plan to haul it yourself as most airlines charge for additional suitcases. So that Le Creuset casserole might cost you more than you bargained for.
Service in the shops can range from gruff to helpful, depending on the staff. For years, the shops served mostly professionals. Although that’s changed over the last decade.
As other people starting picking up tart rings and baking sheets, shops are now more welcoming to everyday cooks. But still, much in the places around Les Halles are self-service and getting attentive help can be a challenge. Be sure to measure your oven before you leave since French baking sheets, and silicone baking mats and cookware, are made for European-sized kitchens and appliances.
Shops in Les Halles often display prices HT (hors taxes) and that 19.6% is added on the bill when they ring you up, unless you have European tax-exempt status. TTC (toutes taxes comprises) means all the taxes are included in the price. In other cookware and department stores, the price generally includes in the tax. When in doubt, ask.
Tourists can avoid the tax if you purchase €175 worth of goods in the same store on the same day. You need to present your receipt that the store will give you (called the “bordereau de détaxe”, so advise the cashier before they ring up your purchases that you’ll want one) at the counter at the airport before departing, and often show the merchandise at that time. You can check the customs information for Charles De Gaulle Airport.
Also the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores will give tourists a storewide discount coupon at their front desk, generally good for 10% off, if you present a foreign passport. (Some items are excluded.)
The first thing to mention is that you won’t find many bargains in Paris on cookware. It’s usually not substantially cheaper than it is outside of French. Even French-made items, like Le Creuset and Staub cookware. However the big department stores, often run promotions and you can score a cast-iron casserole or another treasure for a good price. Once again, check prices before you leave home if you’re looking for specific pieces. During sale periods (les soldes), in January and in the summer, markdowns can be substantial, especially if you wait until the final days.
For those in for an adventure, scour the outdoor markets: the Paris website has page that lists all the food markets and brocantes (sidewalk sales) in Paris and usually there are people there selling a wide range of French kitchen objects. The most obscure food markets (marchés alimentaires), most notably the ones in ethnic neighborhoods, have the best prices.
I also recommend checking out the discount stores dotted around Paris, which I mentioned in The Sweet Life in Paris, and consequently, many of you have asked me about specific addresses.
You basically need to just walk around everyday neighborhoods (more are concentrated in the outer arrondissements, especially on the Right Bank), and you’ll come across some. Follow signs outside that say “Affairs” or “Bazaar”, but you’ll know you found one when there are stacks of miscellaneous things stacked up outside. Inside is usually a great selection of cookware and baking equipment, as well as some French bistroware. I don’t have many specific addresses, but check toward the Belleville area, off the République on the Rue du Faubourg du Temple, the area around the Marché D’Aligré, or the lower part of Rue Oberkampf, just off the boulevard Richard Lenoir.
(Tip: If you’re up near Montmarte, there is a particularly good shop with lots of housewares at 4, rue de Clignancourt.)
I’ve divided my list into three parts; the shops near Les Halles, other cookware shops around Paris, and department stores and hypermarkets (large discount stores). Before setting out, remember that shops in Paris may be closed at unexpected times, on holidays, and in August. So always call first or check their websites to confirm opening hours.
Paris Cookware and Specialty Shops
Atelier du Cuivre et de l’Argent
113, avenue Daumesnil (12th)
Tél: 01 43 40 20 20
Ultra-modern cutlery share space in this shop that specializes in copper cookware made in their atelier, outside of Paris. Located just under the viaduct, by the Gare de Lyon, they also re-tin copper as well.
Au Petit Bonheur la Chance
13, rue Saint-Paul (4th)
Tél: 01 42 74 36 38
Filled with old French charm, this shop was recently squeezed into tinier quarters. Lots of linens, café au lait bowls, and kitchen knick-knacks. Nearby is Virtuoses de la Réclame (5, rue Saint-Paul) for old café pitchers and memorabilia, and in the Village Saint-Paul (25, rue Saint-Paul, in the courtyard), Folle du Logis is worth a stop for rifling though their stacks of French plates, serving pieces, glassware, and other curiosities.
Marché Paul Bert
18, rue Paul Bert (St Ouen)
Tél: 01 40 11 89 98
In the Clignancourt flea market, Bachelier sells vintage copper, linens, and cooking utensils. Open only on limited days, so be sure to call or check the website before venturing up there.
On the quai Conti, this bookstall has an amazing collection of used and rare cookbooks. Not inexpensive, but quite impressive. I’ve been told you can bargain him down.
28, rue due Bourg Tibourg (4th)
Tél: 01 40 29 07 32
This tiny slip of a shop is tucked next to the Mariage Frères tea salon and boutique. Not a big selection, but worth a look if you’re in the Marais.
A French chain of upscale cookware shops, with various addresses across Paris.
119, boulevard Richard Lenoir (11th)
Tél: 01 43 38 48 48
Large selection of cookware, and items geared toward professionals. A local favorite, Chinese and Asian items are a specialty, although you’ll find French goods, most notably for restaurants, here as well.
With shops scattered about Paris, Kitchen Bazaar has the latest in ultra-trendy bakeware and appliances, plus cooking tools that are hard to find in, or out, of France. Certain times throughout the year the store has 30% off sales which makes shopping particularly fruitful.
14, rue Tronchet (8th)
Tél: 01 47 42 73 25
Just off the swank Place de la Madeleine, La Carpe is packed with cookware of all types. Good selection and you’ll likely find things not available elsewhere.
One of my favorite places to shop in Paris, and the cheapest, these shops scattered across the city are packed with inexpensive porcelain baking dishes, glassware, café au lait bowls, shopping bags, and French novelties, like glasses for verrines.
Le Marché aux Puces de Vanves
Less-famous than the other Clignancourt market, the Porte de Vanves flea market in the 14th is less-expensive and more of a real flea market than a collection of antique stores. The market is both Saturday and Sunday morning.
Primarily a food market nowadays, the origins of this terrific market was a place where used items where sold and traded. Today, in the center of the marketplace is a daily flea market. Quite lively on weekends, the market is open daily, except Monday. Bargain hard here.
Marché Saint Pierre
2, rue Charles Nodier (18th)
Tél: 01 46 06 92 25
This giant fabric store sits under Sacré Coeur, and not only can you find cotton tablecloths, bistro napkins and lovely torchons (kitchen towels), but they sell étamine, French muslin cloth, which is a good replacement for cheesecloth. It’s sold by the meter and is very inexpensive.
Pylones creates fun, yet functional, housewares, like cheesegraters in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and knives with colorful handles. Not really for serious cooks, but great for poking around and finding gifts. Stores across Paris.
147, rue de Bagnolet (20th)
Tel: 01 40 30 00 70
Perhaps too professional for most people, but they do carry equipment for hotel and restaurants and is interesting to poke around in if you’re in the neighborhood.
46, rue des Petits Champs (2nd)
Tel: 01 42 61 33 65
This shop specializes in Japanese foods, but up on the first floor are tools for preparing Asian foods. The nearby Ace Mart (63, rue Saint-Anne) also has some Asian cookware and in the quartier Chinois you’ll find Tang Frères and other large Asian markets.
70, boulevard Malsherbes (8th)
Tél: 01 45 61 03 13
Interesting and unusual cookware, a bit off the beaten path.
Zwilling JA Henkels
12, boulevard de la Madeleine (9th)
Tel: 01 42 68 88 00
This boutique of the famed German cutlery company not only carries a complete selection of their knives, but also cookware, manicure implements, and modern housewares.
Cookware and Specialty Shops in Les Halles
All of these shops are clustered around the same area, accessible from the Les Halles métro. Many are professionally oriented but cater to all. Generally speaking, to get service, you’ll need to take your own initiative.
In these shops, when you buy something, a clerk writes your purchases up on a receipt, which you take to the cashier and pay for, then return to pick up your purchases. Some stores will ship, although the cost may be rather high.
48 + 52 rue Montmartre (1st)
Tél: 01 42 33 71 65
An especially good selection of glassware and heavy-duty, professional quality white French porcelain. The shop is under new ownership and the stock is ever-changing.
18-20 rue Coquillière (1st)
Tél: 01 42 36 53 13
Brace yourself and step inside. Two stories of cramped aisles packed with cookware and specialty gear. Famous for their gorgeous copper, in the basement, the staff can be overtly eager to help you to buy something, or disinterested. The staff is well-informed, but don’t let them talk you into something expensive just because they recommend it. The plastic pastry scrapers with their logo on them make inexpensive, and excellent, gifts for baker and cooks back home.
58, rue Tiquetonne (2nd)
Tél: 01 42 36 54 67
One of my favorite shops in Paris for specialty foods, including chocolate, mustard, honey, and olive oils. During December, prepare for a crush of Parisians stocking up on holiday goods.
36 rue Montmartre (1st)
Tél: 01 42 36 09 99
Lots of cookware, but my favorite part of the store is the top story, which has food wrappers and other French cad bakery-style emballages.
15, rue du Louvre (1st)
Tél: 01 42 36 80 60
Hidden in a courtyard, push open the gate and visit this dark shop. Mostly glassware and earthenware, you’re expected to go in the back and comb the aisles for yourself.
92-96, rue Montmarte (2nd)
Tél: 01 43 54 37 27
This two-story bookstore has an extensive collection of cookbooks. There are some used books amongst the stacks, but on the upper floor is an impressive collection of oversized books by European chefs which are hard-to-get outside of Europe.
13, rue de Montmarte (1st)
Tél: 01 45 08 19 24
Pastry chefs come from all over the world to visit MORA, which has a great selection of tart and cake molds, whisks and spatulas, and just about everything else. Plus the best selection of chocolate molds in Paris.
Department Stores and Hypermarkets
The department stores of Paris have excellent cookware departments, which carry professional-quality cookware as well as items for everyday use. Hypermarkets, large discount food stores which have extensive cookware departments, are prohibited from operating within the city limits. But I’ve given the addresses of Auchan and Carrefour, that are just at the edges of Paris, easily reached by métro.
This hypermarket chain has two stores, one at La Defense and the other at Porte de Bagnolet (M: Porte de Bagnolet), in large shopping centers. Several aisles are filled with cookware and bakeware.
55, rue de la Verrerie (4th)
Tél : 01 42 74 90 00
The third floor of this department store in the Marais, has an excellent cookware department. Hardware fans should stop in the basement and those looking to expand their cookbook collections should visit the book department.
France’s mega-chain stores sell food as well as cookware and other kitchen tools. They’ve recently opened smaller grocery stores in Paris, but a close hypermarket is at Porte de Montreuil (M: Porte de Montreuil).
Large department store, with several locations in Paris boasting extensive cookware departments. Be sure to check out the gourmet food hall at the Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann.
Le Bon Marché
38, rue de Sèvres (7th)
Tél: 01 44 39 80 00
The only department store on the Left Bank of Paris. The name of the store means “good deal” in French. Known for their amazing La Grand Épicerie food hall next door, the main store stocks cookware.
This membership-only store has huge aisles filled with foods, including French cheeses, specialty butters (for pastry-making), and bakery-size boxes of chocolate and sugars. Half of the store is devoted to professional cookware. (Use their store finder to locate the nearest address.) You’ll need to find a friend with a card to go. And to get a card, one needs to prove they have a business. Best visited by car.
The main store, 64 boulevard Haussmann, has a nearby ‘Maison’ store filled with cookware and housewares.
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