The Parisian love of style and fierce attachment to small local traders have kept alive a wonderful variety of speciality shops. The nineteenth-century arcades, or passages, in the 2e and 9e arrondissements, are particularly rich in intriguing boutiques, while the square kilometre around place St-Germain-des-Prés is hard to beat for anything from books to shoes, and from antiques to artworks. Other atmospheric and rewarding places for browsing include the aristocratic Marais, the trendy Bastille quartier, the quirky Abbesses quarter of Montmartre, and the broadly bohemian Oberkampf and Canal Saint-Martin areas of northeastern Paris. For haute couture the traditional bastions are avenue Montaigne, rue François 1er and the upper end of rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré in the 8e. The traditional shopping heart of the city, Les Halles, is very commercial, and mostly downmarket. The most atmospheric places for book shopping are the Seine quais, with their rows of mostly secondhand bookstalls perched against the river parapet. The quartier Latin is the home of most of the city’s best independent bookshops.

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