When shopping for shoes, there are many great places to look for bargains. There are outlet stores in the United States for all the well known brands from Nike to Birkenstocks. But where to go when a woman wants just great selection of truly unique shoe shops and the joy of shopping for shoes. Of course Milan springs to mind and in the United States, Fifth Avenue in NEW York and Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles spring to mind. But Paris may still offer the ultimate shoe shopping experience.
Shopping is an art in Paris and shoe shops are everywhere, on every Rue, and every Boulevard. Parisians are fashion conscious people who don’t shy away from walking blocks to a favorite bistro or café. Shoes and fashion are equally important to them.
There is one entire street in Paris, the Rue Meslay that is devoted to shoe shops, nearly forty shops specializing in shoes for men, women and children and all styles. Of course there are a few bistros and some shops that specialize in costume jewellery, an over flow from the real heartland of costume jewellery, the Rue de Archives. Some of these shoe purveyors are not for retail and sell only wholesale, but the majority are open to the public. The Rue Meslay runs for over a kilometre through the third arrondisement, from the edge of the Marais and ends at the sketchy Blvd. St. Denis metro station. His area is one of the red light districts of Paris and you may be approached by one of the many ladies on the street that have more than shoe shopping on their minds, just at the moment at least. And, yes indeed, women do proposition other women in this city and these modern times.
Of all the great shoe shopping areas in Paris, including the area around the Madeline monument, probably the foremost is the roughly triangular shaped area of Saint Gemain de Pres that stretches from the Rue du Cherche Midi across the Boulevard Rennes down the Rue du Dragon and ending at the Boulevard Raspail. This is a virtual Bermuda Triangle of shoe shopping that, upon entry, the shoe shopper may not be glimpsed again until the expiration date on her credit card. Bridging the corner of the Rue Cherche Midi and the Blvd Rennes is the flagship store of Camper. These colorful, iconoclastic designs are the embodiment of offbeat city chic, natural fabrics, and comfort.
Across the street on the corner of the RUE Dragon are several more shoe stores, on of which, Mephisto offers high style and comfort, as does Arche, a prototypic example of Parisian shoe design. Next door is a moderately priced shoe store, Anouk that has high styled shoes at affordable prices and great sale. Mosquito, another shoe shop that specializes in unique and often offbeat styles is nearby.
The consumer has access a shoe shopping experience par excellence. What a great way to take a break from all those wonderful museums than to re-enter them in a new pair of comfy shoes?