Europe Style Travel

The Paris Shopping Guide: Chanel

After my last Paris shopping guide on Hermes, I received requests to do various other editions, including quite a few for Chanel. Since I’m currently unable to travel myself (so frustrating when you’re suffering from some serious wanderlust as I am right now), I thought I would put together some travel shopping posts for those lucky enough to be traveling.

So without further ado, my Paris shopping guide, for Chanel!

1. Get ready for a crowd. My experience is largely limited to the St Honore, Cambon and Montaigne locations (which I listed in order of personal preference by the way), but I imagine they’re all quite similar – aka stuffed to the gills with eager purchasers to be. I’ve always found Montaigne to be the worst for some reason – I’ve always entered and turned around and gone right out. Never have completed a purchase (Alaia is just a short stroll away though, enjoy!).

Anyway, get ready for some jostling and limited seating space, and possibly a queue. This isn’t always the case, and I hope that when you go, you’ll stroll right in, get a wonderful sales person, and have a memorable experience. I’d say that’s been what I’ve found maybe 50% of the time (it helps to go during off season). But otherwise….be prepared.


2. Have a list ready. Chanel isn’t like Hermes, where rightfully so or not, it may feel like just breathing the wrong way will earn you the dreaded words “not in stock” while your exact requested item sits in some dungeon stockroom awaiting a more civilized purchaser. In my experience, you don’t need to worry about that with Chanel. If the store has an item in stock, it will generally sell it to you (fascinating concept, no?). So if you want a Chanel Boy, in a very specific color and size? Let the salesperson know right away, along with anything else.

Since I am an efficient shopper and never know when I might have an impatient husband in tow, I usually have a small list prepared of what I’m looking for. I’ll give it to the sales associate, have a nice chat about my tastes and anything else I might be seeking, and then sit and wait for what they have. It’s still fun to window browse and explore, but when things are hectic, I find a descriptive list works best.

3. If you want the calmest experience, consider venturing to the ready to wear section. I love admiring Chanel ready to wear, and it’s always a pleasure to check out the different offerings in each collection. Yes, it’s truly gut wrenching the number of times I’ve picked up an item only to discover not just four, but five digits on its price tag, but sometimes I find a wonderful gem that I wait until sale season for.

Anyway…whenever I decide to do some leisure shopping now, I generally just go straight for the clothing. It’s always less hectic there. I’ve never had an issue getting help right away…there’s more seating…oh, and did I mention the amazing fabrics, and styles? Plus, another perk? The same salesperson can then help you with shoes, bags, jewelry, and anything else you might desire, away from the crowds. You can walk through the store, pick out what you like, and then go back to the relative oasis that is ready to wear to try it all on. Bliss!

If anyone else has tips to share about shopping in Paris for Chanel, feel free to share…as well as any other experiences/feedback as well! And just for your reference, here is a list of all the locations where you can find Chanel, in Paris.

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  • Lissa
    June 19, 2015 at 9:51 am

    A Parisian Chanel is every fashionista’s dream come true. Great post.

  • DK
    June 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Thank you for the Chanel shopping tips! What months do you consider off season? Also, would you mind considering doing a post on the VAT refund procedure when it comes to Hermes, Chanel, etc?

    • Katherine
      June 21, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Hi, I will try to do a VAT one. Off season basically for me, Oct/Nov and Feb/March/April/May are all nice times to go 🙂

      • DK
        June 22, 2015 at 1:47 pm

        Thanks so much for information!

  • Kelly @ Alterations Needed
    June 19, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I went into two Chanel’s in Paris (and walked past two department store boutiques that had queues around the corner) and all were absolute shit shows. I was just browsing but wow-we-wow. And it was off-season. Good tip about the list! I bet the SA’s appreciate a client who knows just what she’s looking for 😉

  • Anna
    June 19, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Hey Katherine,

    Although I’m not a Chanel girl myself (declining quality and increasing prices put me off the brand), I appreciate the reminder that a good shopper is a prepared shopper – especially when luxury boutiques are concerned.

    I don’t know if you remember, but I asked for bathing suit advice last month and you suggested Target (still don’t know how I forgot that option… Swimwear shopping is the worst!). Well, I’m happily burning and peeling in Mexico in my new Target bikini and I just wanted to drop you a line letting you know your recommendation was spot on! Thanks again!

    • Katherine
      June 21, 2015 at 9:59 am

      So glad you found a great suit! I walked by the swim section the other day and was so jealous that I won’t be able to try them on for a while. Enjoy your time in Mexico!

  • Chami
    June 20, 2015 at 3:36 am

    Hi Katherine,
    I’ve been following your blog for a few years (it was recommended by a friend) and really enjoy all your posts, especially the travel, fashion and book recommendations! My favorite are your travel posts – you go on amazing holidays and stay the best places and reading your blog makes me feel like I am there experiencing them all vicariously with you!
    I don’t follow many blogs but yours inspires me so much! So I recently started my own blog, about luxury travel, wellness, spas, people and lifestyle mostly around Asia. I’m a luxury travel & wellness journalist /author based in Asia so this is my way to share some of my quirky experiences and favorite places – last week’s post was about my fat-fighting week at Asia’s most glamourous health resort and next week’s post will be about a tiger spotting safari and stay at a luxury tented camp in a maharaja’s hunting grounds in India.
    I hope you have some time to visit my blog –
    Any feedback would be appreciated! Thank you for inspiring me with your wonderful blog and fabulous travels!
    – Chami

    • Katherine
      June 21, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Thanks very much! Have visited you, best of luck with your new endeavor!

      • Chami
        June 22, 2015 at 9:25 pm

        Thank you! I always look forward to reading your blog posts!
        Best wishes for your pregnancy! Will you still be travelling to all these places with your new baby? (I hope so!) 🙂

  • Ava
    June 20, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Dear Katherine,

    Long time no write- my apologies for that! I have, however, been keeping up with reading your blog and am so glad you are doing well! This is such a great post (comme d’habitude) and I chuckled to myself when I read the part about your picking ” up an item only to discover not just four, but five digits on its price tag,” – it’s clearly bc you have very refined tastes!

    I am curious though, you write about shopping in the Paris Chanels, is it bc you prefer the exchange and service there vs those stateside? I am guessing you must live close by some great Chanel’s here and thought you would have managed a wonderful relationship with one (or more) SA’s and being the very efficient shopper you are 😉 you would just hand over your list to your SA to seek out precisely what you wanted and then having him/her text you when they arrived…no?

    Also, stateside, I find it less hectic than abroad.
    I am sure you know that their Private Sale has started already – I am SO CURIOUS to see what you get (if anything!)

    What I am most curious about, however, is have you found that your feet have swollen to a complete full size up? Only one of my friends went up a half size and stayed there, the rest went up and back down and some went up and stayed at their new size gifting many a happy friend their old shoes. Perhaps a good time to get one of their stretchy-ballet-flats in your new size – lol (what a good enabler am I?)

    As for your comments about Hermes, you know while I have a very good relationship at my particular store, I do see what you mean about “breathing the wrong way” – really, one could not have put it better! When I enter different stores, unless I am wearing something ostentatiously by the brand, I definitely get that put-off energy, it’s quite disconcerting and I really don’t understand why they (as a company) do that. I have heard many stories from various friends about their opportunities to improve in their client-services department. Not that I can single out Hermes alone, I have heard much about the service at other similarly luxe locales only to find it deeply lacking.

    I am about to go comment on one of your earlier posts (now that I have the leisure to do so 🙂 – which I thought was beyond brilliant!
    Thank you for keeping up the amazing work while juggling so much AND a pregnancy! Clearly you should consider running for President! Lol! 😀 (Sorta not kidding there)

    Sending you much love and good wishes for the rest of your pregnancy and always,
    Ava 🙂

    • Katherine
      June 21, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Hi my friend! I go to Paris Chanel only to try to get a deal…no other reason, service is much better here in the US as you say.

      As for private sale, I am very very aware…LOL. I haven’t tried on any shoes (I am worried about my feet getting bigger, so far they’ve just gotten a bit wider but it’s hard to tell if that’s just swelling), but I think I’m in for at least one or two RTW pieces. What are you picking up?

      • Ava
        June 22, 2015 at 7:02 pm

        Lol – I am trying to behave…I’ll let you know what I pick up after the week is done. 😉

  • Vivian
    June 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Cambon is my go to destination in Paris!

  • Jo
    June 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    “If the store has an item in stock, it will generally sell it to you (fascinating concept, no?).” LOL!

    After multiple rejections at Hermes during my last trip, I was so pleased to head to Chanel and Valentino and enjoy them selling me things I wanted.

    Do you happen to know if and when the Chanel RTW goes on sale in Paris? I’m headed there in a couple of weeks and am thinking if I should drop by the cambon store.

    • Katherine
      June 23, 2015 at 7:42 am

      On sale in two days starting the 25th (I believe, but call to check).