I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris five times in the past seven years. Much has changed in the City of Lights since I first laid eyes on it in 2014: there are so many more vegan restaurants, and the words végane and végétalien (the original French word for vegan; vegetarian is végétarien) are well understood by everyone. There are now bike lanes and cyclists everywhere in Paris, which is definitely unexpected in a city with some infamous rotaries and intersections. Some of the changes are not so positive, though: right after I left Paris in April 2019, Notre Dame suffered tragic damages to a massive fire. Also eye-opening is how much the climate has changed. In my recent trip, I got bitten by mosquitos for the first time in France, which the locals confirmed were a new trend since a few years ago. I had packed light jackets because I remembered being cold in September in Paris, but now it feels more like one long summer.
Notre Dame from a distance. The damage is more visible up close.
But back to positive changes. Parisians and the French in general are aware of the impacts of climate change, and many are actively changing their lifestyles conscientiously. This is perhaps more refreshing because the French are known for traditionalism and a fierce pride in their pleasure-forward philosophy. But there’s increasingly a focus on choices that amplify both la belle vie and substance, including sustainable fashion and beauty.
Without further ado, here are some of my bonnes adresses that I’ve discovered in my travels to Paris. Note: while I LOVE traveling in the provinces, Paris is the shopping central non pareil of France. You can find zero-waste beauty and lovely jewelry in many smaller cities, although for clothing I’ve still found there is no place like Paris.
This eco-friendly brand landed in New York City a couple of years ago, but the best place to shop it is still in Paris (and online). All of their clothes—typical French with a slight 70s bohemian, Jane Birkin feel—are made with eco-friendly fabrics and fair-trade practices. I also find that it’s about the same price range as Reformation, but a lot higher quality (I mean, I still have a lot of Reformation, no lie!). Pick up organic cotton marinière (Breton striped shirt) and incredible organic cotton jeans, even organic cotton socks. Even their packaging, shopping bag, and tags are made of recycled paper. There are three locations in Paris: near Opera Garnier, in Batignolles, and on the Left Bank. I’ve been to the first two and they’re both great.
Organic denim Martin—not gonna lie, this was one of the few items I purchased this trip!
This whole look is so unbearably Parisian. That half-tuck! That extreme unbuttoning! Sari jacket (viscose).
Rouje’s flagship store is located right near Sézane so be sure to plan these two together! Established by social-media star/model Jeanne Damas, Rouje comprises fashion and vegan beauty. On the fashion side, most of their clothing are made with certified non-toxic, cellulose, or organic cotton fibers. Their denim is created using Ecowash, limiting the amount of toxins and water. Be sure to try on the brand’s signature slinky knits and cardigans—most are 100% plant-based. (Oui!!!) Also popular are flowy printed dresses that are just the right balance of sexy and pretty. Rouje lipsticks and lip kits are also a must-try since you’re there anyway! What have you got to lose!
This look feels right out of my eighth-grade year. Remember dusters, you guys?
Amalthea is the kind of skincare boutique I had in my neighborhood! Nestled on a very vegan- and eco-friendly street called Rue des Gravilliers in Le Marais, the brand offers clean skincare in chic, refillable bottles that you can bring back for refills. Everything is made at the laboratory on-site using 99% natural ingredients. Offerings are very minimalist: the brand espouses 3–5 product regimen, along the lines of cleanser, cream, and oil. While I need more specialized stuff on my skin, the eczema-healing 100% organic hibiscus oil alone is worth the trip. On the same street, stop by the vegan grocery store and re-fuel at Wild and the Moon. Easy breezy!
I first stumbled into Bobby in 2019 when I was on a search for a trench coat. Little did I know I’d find my dream trench for just 40€ at this unassuming consignment store. I also picked up a pair of nude Repetto pumps for 60€. (I do buy used leather shoes because I think it’s better that than landfill.) As is always the case with secondhand stores, you have to do a bit of digging to find what you’re looking for—but the surprises are worth it. You’ll always see vintage Chanels and Diors behind the counter, as well as more low-key labels and quirky selections. This is on Rue Réaumur—I suggest lumping this with a stopover at Furahaa, a vegan fast food chain run by a deaf team. Their burger might just be the best I’ve ever had.
Do you have an homme in your life? Do check out Balibaris, a Paris-based menswear brand. It has perfectly-fitted organic cotton shirts and eco-friendly denim with just a little more French flair and color than your average American brand. (But still not frou-frou—it’s approachable!) The store on Rue Vieille du temple in Le Marais is the flagship.
While you’re in Le Marais, do stop by the wildly popular French / Brazilian brand Veja’s flagship store. Note: most Veja styles are NOT vegan, but they do carry vegan leather and canvas sneakers—I have a pair of v-leather sneakers that I absolutely love and wear with pretty much any type of outfit. You can even bring your old Veja sneakers to this location for recycling! Just be aware though that there might be a line to get in.
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Photo: Respective brands