Where to Buy Furniture
|Typical Paris Apartment. Pretty much every apartment in Paris |
looks like this; fireplace, mirror, parquet floor, moldings, French doors, white walls.
As I mentioned in another post, I went the French route when renting an apartment. What that means is I rented unfurnished. Unfurnished apartments are always cheaper but the lease terms are different (longer). But I’m not unhappy about it because I got to make it my own.
As it was bare when I rented it I had to furnish it. Thankfully I lived in Paris long enough to know every little corner of it so when it came down for me to purchase a washing machine and a bed, I knew where to look. I now share that knowledge with you.
Obviously everyone knows that if they need something quick and cheap IKEA is an option. But a) IKEA in Paris isn’t cheap because of the delivery fee, which is like 90€, and b) I’m a grown up. I wanted grown up furniture. You might not think it but despite Paris’ minuscule size there are actually a lot of much better options to be found in Paris proper.
If you’re looking for something inexpensive I would suggest Conforama instead of IKEA. The delivery is cheaper, and there’s more of a selection. They have a store near Pont Neuf and on Avenue Armée that you can browse, but online is so much easier, and has more styles.
For a step up from that you can try Masons de Monde. I’ve only been to the stores in the 2nd, at Wagram, and in Boulogne. They are a store that doesn’t have a lot of furniture in their actual stores (if any), but they do have a large selection online, and it’s reasonably priced. The furniture is trendier than what you would find at IKEA.
If you want to get fancy, and have 10,000€ to spend on a canapé, you can try the more expensive furniture stores around Paris like Cassina, Kartell and Roche Bobois. You’ll find them dotted around the 8th, and in the 7th (near rue de Bac). You’ll also find the nicer appliance stores too like Miele and Gaggenau in the 8th and 7th. If you’re remodeling, the fancy bath and kitchen stores like Balthup are dotted around the 6th (Odeon) and 8th as well.
Made.com is another you can try but a bit more difficult because you can’t actually see the furniture in person. That can be tough for people who like to feel and touch things before buying them. *This was written pre-post Lockdown. Their showrooms are probably open now*.
Another option is the furniture stores at Marche aux Puces in Saint Ouen. There are greats pieces to be had. It has a great selection of mid century furniture, which I love. They also have a lot of Hausmannian details like the mirrors above fireplaces (in case your appartement is missing it) or parquet floors. Another place, albeit smaller, is the Suisse Village in the 15th.
I ended up purchasing my sofa and chairs from Habitat. 1600€ for a canapé and 550€ on each arm chair is not the cheapest but it isn’t the most expensive either. I have a very minimalist style so those were my ‘big’ pieces. Habitat is another one of your big box retailers that can be found in Montparnasse, Wagram, and Pont Neuf. I purchase my pillows and duvets from them as well, and have done so in the past. It’s just such an easy one stop shop. The store on Wagram has a Yellow Korner in it so you can browse prints as well. But just be aware Yellow Korner is considered a separate entity, and only takes credit card.
For knick knacks and smaller home furnishings you can try Casa. They have a store in Passy, Boulogne (the smallest of the 3) and on Saint Antoine (in the 11th), and they do sell furniture, but not in the traditional sense. For whatever reason they sell a lot of patio furniture which is weird since not many people in Paris have a terrace. Their selection is limited. I would group Casa into the H&M and Zara Home category. It’s not as expensive as Zara Home though, which is pretty, but overpriced.
Speaking of Spanish retailers you can now try Mango for linens. They launched their home collection (only in EU) a couple of weeks ago. Mango is a little more boho. I liken it to Coachella. They always seem to base their design around the Spanish desert so lots of oranges, dusky pinks, linen colored beiges, which is in contrast to Zara’s focus on black and uber trendy. Although Zara's home collection is more subdued and in softer palettes.
But I wouldn’t put too much stock in accessories. Oddly enough the design concept in Paris is bare white walls so decor isn’t really a big thing. I’ve been in a lot of homes; from the editor of Condé Nast to the CEO of Hermès, and highly stylized is not the Parisian way. It always shocks me how bare their homes can be. White walls, maybe some artwork, but so very bare. Think of all the homes you’ve seen in Architectural Digest and throw that out because in Paris it’s nothing like that. Here’s a good example of what I mean. Americans love color, Brits love wallpaper, the French love plain white walls. I’ve heard it’s actually a pain to paint them so perhaps that’s why.
If it makes it easier I would suggest shopping in one district. For instance when I lived on rue Valadon I hit up Wagram, then Arch de Triomphe followed by Victor Hugo. They’re all on the same bus line so it made it easier to haul everything home (by that point I was carrying pillows, a duvet, a carpet, sheets and knick knacks). Personally I hate lugging that much stuff but it is easier to get it out of the way by doing it in one fell swoop. This time I just paid for delivery because I couldn't be bothered (and stores weren’t open anyhow).
For instance if you’re in the Marais try rue Faubourg Antoine or Pont Neuf. A lot of stores have opened in the 3rd too for whatever reason (the Marais really is no longer the "gay ghetto" as a French woman once called it). If you’re in Luxembourg try Montparnasse, and if you’re in the 8th try Wagram. It’s much easier instead of darting all around the city. You can obviously Uber or G7 home but walking between stores or even just hopping on a bus is much cheaper. And if you want to get real Parisian take a suitcase or an old lady trolley with you.