Paris Shoe Shops

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.  

We already know Paris is a great shopping mecca, with more stores per square mile than any other city in the world. But for shoe fanatics, it’s paradise. High fashion shoes for women prevail and the high heels match the high prices. Here are some of the top shops and areas to find the ultimate pair.

Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette has recently opened the worlds largest ladies shoe store. The gleaming new space is over 34,000 square feet and carries over 150 brands, with 75 of them exclusive to the store. Even hard-to-fit sizes have a great selection with American sizes from 3-12. Did you know that French women buy an average of 6 pairs of shoes a year? Watch out Imelda Marcos!

Galeries Lafayette
40 Blvd. Haussmann, 9th arr.
1 42 85 12 00
www.galerieslafayette.com

Rue de Grenelle

It’s the street of shoe dreams. No less than nine of the chicest shoe stores are crammed into a three-block radius on the rue de Grenelle in the upscale 6th arr. Christian Loubotin, with his glossy red soles worn by Catherine Deneuve and Princess Caroline of Monaco, Prada, Iris, Bruno Frissoni, and Sergio Rossi are just some of the super shoe shops to make even the most jaded shoe shopper drop a bundle.

Rue de Grenelle
6th arr. between rue de St. Peres & Blvd. Raspail

Mell

Not only does Mell stock some of the most hottest designer shoes in Paris, they also have a unique advantage: a foot massage and pedicure bar on the premises. So when you buy those killer heels from Martin Margiela, Alexander Mcqueen, Barbara Bui, and Nina Ricci you will have somewhere to get your tired tootsies worked on when you take them off. By the way, while the women are endlessly trying on shoes, their impatient husbands can relax with a special foot massage for men.

Mell
8 rue Royale, 1st. arr.
Tel. 01.40.20.01.33

Pierre Hardy

Pierre Hardy has designed shoes for Hermes, Dior, and Balenciaga, so he has had a lot or practice in the art of shoemaking. His own line Pierre Hardy was launched a few years ago and has been a constant hit with taste and style makers in the fashion industry ever since. The Palais Royal shop features his trademark architectural heels, boots, and handbags. His big news shoe this fall 2009 season is actually a limited edition high-top sneaker printed with a Escher-like black and white optical illusion pattern and velcro straps.

Pierre Hardy
156 galerie de Valois
Palais Royal, 1st. arr.
Tel. 01 42 60 59 75
www.pierrehardy.com

John Lobb at Hermes

We don’t want to forget the men, so we have saved the best for last. The best men’s shoes in France are actually made in England. Hermes bought the British cobbler John Lobb  a number of years ago and installed a shop inside its prestigious St. Honoré flagship shop. The beautifully hand-crafted shoes start at 600 euros a pair but their specialty is made to measure shoes, where after you order your first pair, they keep your last for future orders.

John Lobb at Hermes
24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th arr.
www.hermes.com