Jul 292015

BHV/ Marais is located on Paris’ Rue de Rivoli just across from the Hotel de Ville, and has a very different feel from many upscale, large-city department stores. BHV (originally, “Bazar de L’Hotel de Ville”) may feel like a step back in time for U.S. visitors. Generally, BHV is set up to appeal to the middle-class shopper (a bit more like Macy’s/Dillards, and less Saks Fifth Avenue). That statement isn’t quite accurate, like many French things there is something lost in translation. Still, the BHV retains departments including stationary, notebooks, pencils and school supplies, pet goods, and notions (notions?? yes, notions). These have long vanished from U.S. department stores. I think you can actually buy hardware and knitting supplies there (I’ve seen them in the past). BHV is the store memorialized by The New York Times fashion photographer and genius Bill Cunningham, when he mentioned in his biopic that this very store is the source of his blue work jackets.

14-bill-cunningham.w529.h352.2xThe Marais is one of my favorite neighborhoods. It has an eclectic mix of art museums, falafel street food, shops and cafes that seem very down-to-earth, at least as that term can be applied to anywhere in Paris. Occupying several buildings (one is dedicated just to menswear), BHV/Marais is located just south of the Pompidou Center, north of Seine.

BHV map

The BHV building that borders the Rue de Rivoli houses a nice makeup section. It’s as eclectic as the Marais itself, covering many of the major department store lines that include Clinique, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Lancome, Guerlain, and others that many U.S. readers will recognize. As you can see, this photo was taken in late July and none of the Fall releases are available here yet. Many French consider August summer vacation time, so Fall can wait for them.


I’m not aware of a full Sisley counter in the U.S. (is there one?). They are plentiful in Paris including at the BHV.

BHV 10

As with many Parisian stores, there is a large perfume area for gifting or enjoying for yourself.BHV 5There is also a premium perfume area that includes by Terry, Hermes, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Serge Lutens fragrance (not the exclusives, however), and other luxury lines.

BHV 6The Guerlain boutiques and counters are featuring a new fragrance that I am told is exclusive to France. It doesn’t have a formal name, the idea is that you are supposed to name it yourself.


I believe it is sold with little stick-on silver letters, so that you can put whatever name you like on the bottle. The scent was lovely but it did not grab me emotionally like some Guerlain scents do. BHV 8The BHV has a nail bar, featuring Kure Bazaar nail polish (available here in the U.S.). According to Kure, “Kure Bazaar nail polishes are made of 85% natural ingredients, including wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn.” I’m going to check out more from this line, it’s everywhere in Paris right now.


BHV carries many parapharmacie brands, that are either premium or with an emphasis on all-natural (including some items made in the U.S.). These lines include L’Occitane, Leonor Greyel (for hair), Nuxe, Biotherm and the like.

BHV 19

BHV 11

BHV Leonar Greyl

BHV 13
BHV 17

BHV 18

There is a small section of the Korean Erborian line here (some of their items are sold here at Sephora in the U.S.). Because I paid a visit to the Paris Erborian boutique, I’ll be doing more coverage of their products in a bit.

BHV erborian

There is also a huge section that includes drugstore lines, including the much-missed Bourjois line.

BHV 22

BHV Bourjois Makeup

BHV Bourjois 2

BHV 23

BHV Bourjois 3

BHV Bourjois 5Une is a brand I’ve been seeing more and more about–it’s based on natural ingredients and looks.

BHV Une 2

There are some lovely nail colors sold under the Galleries Lafayette label sold here as well of all textures–metallics, glitters, creams, sheers at 3.90 euros each.

BHV Marais 22

BHV Nail Polish

Here are a few pictures from the standard drugstore lines. There isn’t a huge difference between what you will see in the U.S., although I rarely see the discounts that American drugstores allow. So although these are nice to have available, I don’t see American shoppers filling their suitcases with them.
BHV Loreal

BHV Loreal 2Also, Biguine is sold here. I didn’t see as many baked products as I have in years past but it could just be this particular display.

BHV Biguine

The BHV offers an eclectic mix of everything, including makeup and beauty. So if you are ever in the mood for great roast chicken, falafel, crepes, hot chocolate, modern art, a major dose of history, and a little mix of high end and drugstore beauty, stop by the Marais (including the BHV) next time you are in Paris.

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  10 Responses to “Paris Shopping: Le BHV / Marais”

  1. I am loving your Paris shopping guide! It gives me the inspiration to jump on a train and find myself there for the weekend. Since many of the brands you mentioned are accessible to me, I usually don’t feel like a tourist in France. For example we have Sisley Counters everywhere too. Many of the French pharmacy brands are in drugstores and pharmacies here. But there are a few which call me!

    Oh how I would love a NYC series like this, would you do that too?

    • Have you searched this blog Sara? I have several posts from New York. Also, I don’t have any time where I am scheduled to be there very soon. I would like to do one for San Francisco at some point as well. Please don’t underestimate the time and expense involved in creating this posts.

      If you have a trip, or would like information a bit more quickly, I can do a Google hangout with you sometime that is convenient for you. I think from your Instgram you may wish information more quickly than my posts seem to be written, we can tailor our discussion to you. I am happy to help!!

  2. All these photos are making miss Paris!

    • Me too! We were in the Marais but didn’t stay long enough…and I doubt my husband would have been able to amuse himself long enough for me to browse in this store…should have gone back another day!

  3. Hi! There is actually a Sisley store in Vegas! It is the first one in the US. It is at Crystals in CityCenter! 🙂

  4. I remember whe I visited a friend in Switzerland two years ago she showed me Une and told me that they belong to Bourjois. I actually prefer Bourjois – their products aren’t easily accessible over here too and it’s such a pity – I love their mascaras and CC cream!

    • There’s a pretty little Une boutique in the Marais. I think that this display is only one slice of a much larger product line. Yes the loss of Bourjois (and Shu) are greatly missed!!

      • Oh, you don’t have Shu either? I always try to stock up when I’m either in France or in London with both Bourjois and Shu.

        Btw, I’ve such a yearning to go to Paris at once because of your posts that I checked train connections and prices yesterday…

  5. Bourjois – truly missed here in the US.

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