Shop till you drop
The 15th arrondissement offers hundreds of shops and boutiques to suit all tastes
Beaugrenelle Paris is a large shopping centre at 12 Rue Linois in the 15th arrondissement. Along with 110 retail shops, 16 restaurants and a 10-salle cinema it offers a sense of space and comfort. Not surprisingly, it won the accolade of ‘Best European Shopping Mall’ in 2015.
The Beaugrenelle is housed in three buildings along the Seine: the Magnetic, Panoramic and City. The Magnetic and Panoramic buildings are linked by a covered pedestrian bridge and their atria are illuminated by skylights that fill the shopping mall’s six floors with natural daylight – a spectacular setting for the blue glass ‘Grand Mobile’. It is 15 metres high and was designed by French artist Xavier Veilhan.
Special services at Beaugrenelle include a personal shopper who will, for a fee, fill in the gaps in your wardrobe or produce a ‘new you’. The entire centre offers free wifi; you can charge your device in a comfortable seat while enjoying a smoothie or a coffee. ID but no device? Beaugrenelle with lend you an iPad for your visit. And on the roof, there’s a community garden and beehives which produce tons of honey every year.
Shops are open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 20:30 and from 11:00 to 19:00 on Sunday. Restaurants are open until midnight daily and options range from bistro style to McDonald’s and include vegetarian. Tickets for the cinema, with its cosy upholstered seats, may be purchased online at www.cinemaspathegaumont.com. (Cinema closes at 0.30 daily) Beaugrenelle’s website is: www.beaugrenelle-paris.com
If old-fashioned store-to-store shopping is more your thing, head for Rue du Commerce. Both sides of this attractive street are lined with interesting boutiques and branches of famous stores like Monoprix and Sephora. The street is not pedestrianised, but slow-moving one-way traffic gives you the chance to thread your way from side to side as the fancy strikes.
Jules, at 26-28 rue du Commerce, is an address cherished by young and trendy French men, while at 93 Rue du Commerce, you’ll find the flagship store of the Somewhere brand. Now international, Somewhere was created in Paris in 1993 to provide eco-aware clients, male and female, with garments in natural fibres (organic cotton, linen, silk, wool, cashmere, yak …) all sourced from responsibly managed suppliers.
If your plan calls for lunch or dinner in the area, the Cafe du Commerce has been a welcoming presence at number 51 since 1921. Tables on three floors, lots of greenery. For something smaller but still traditional, try La Tour Eiffel located at 96 Rue du Commerce.
3 to know
See Lady Liberty at her homes away from home
Visitors to Beaugrenelle will find Lady Liberty seeming to lift her lamp beside the door of the shopping mall. Actually, she’s in the Seine on the Île aux Cygnes and the mall is located steps away. This quarter-sized replica was a gift from the American community in Paris on the occasion of the centennial of the French Revolution. From the Grenelle bridge, descend the ramp to reach Madame Liberté. She’s one of five replicas of Bertholdi’s statue in Paris; there’s one in the Luxembourg Garden, another in the Musée d’Orsay, one outside the Musée des Arts et Métiers and one inside. That last one is the 2.86-metre tall original plaster maquette finished in 1878 by Auguste Bartholdi from which the statue in New York was made.
Book your place at this historic market
Every Saturday and Sunday, from 9.00 to 18.00, a book market opens up in Parc Georges-Brassens in the 15th arrondissement. Booksellers, some of them prestigious Parisian houses, set up stalls in the Marché du Livre, a well-attended event since its inception 1987. More than 50 booksellers show their wares here, sheltered in a pavilion designed by the architect Ernest Moreau and built near the park’s entrance on Rue Brancion in 1897. Search for old French film posters or fall for an elegantly illustrated Japanese children’s book. Afterwards, explore the park. Highlights include: A Garden of Scents with 80 kinds of aromatic plants, spice and medicinal plants, identified in Braille; a bee-hive where children come to learn about bees and pollination; and a terraced vineyard where volunteers harvest the pinot noir grapes which produce about 200 bottles of ‘Clos des Morillons’ each year.
Teach yourself to cook like the best
Does, the name ‘Julia Child’ ring a dinner bell with you? It will if you know her cookbook or have seen Julie and Julia, in which the soon-to-be famous chef, played by Meryl Streep, hones her culinary skills at the Cordon Bleu cooking school. Since 2016, this renowned establishment has enjoyed an extensive campus in the 15th arrondissement: 13-15 Quai André Citroën. Dip your own spoon into French cooking during your Paris stay by reserving a place at one of the Cordon Bleu’s range of workshops. In two-to-four hours you could learn to pair food and wine, or make eclairs, or find your way around vegetarian cooking. The school’s boutique is worth checking for the perfect tea towel, a cookbook or a gift-worthy box of Breton short breads. Details of the workshops and the boutique ’s offerings are at www.cordonbleu.edu