Known as the City of Love and Light, Paris is likewise the City of Style. Nearly synonymous with fashion, luxury, and haute couture, Paris boasts a long list of fashion history's most iconic designers. From Worth and Poiret, to Vuitton, Chanel and Dior, these fashion visionaries turned the city into a haven for designers and trendsetters alike. On our three-hour Paris fashion tour in the company of a historian, we will weave a narrative through Parisian fashion history, from our discussion of the late 18th-century notion shops in covered passageways, the rise of the grands magasins, and the 20th-century designers who revolutionized the way we dress.
Paris Fashion Tour
We will begin at the Palais Royal (also explored on our Gardens of Paris Tour)
, where we’ll stroll through the covered passages
that introduced glass-front shops to the 18th-century. Designed by Louis-Phillipe d'Orléans, Duc de Chartres in 1781, Palais Royal combined shopping, entertainment, and leisure space, becoming an instant sensation with the Parisians. Previously accustomed to narrow, winding streets, the orderly layout of the complex was revolutionary. Customers who came here to see and be seen were dazzled by various wares, fabrics, cafés, and restaurants and would see many current designs later that night at the theatre, where actors simultaneously portrayed and influenced the style of the day.
Capital of Fashion
We will then move towards the Opéra and the grands magasins
created as a result of Baron Haussmann’s 19th-century urban revitalization plan—a critical part of Parisian history explored on our Paris City Planning Tour
. Here, we will learn how the most current fashion trends of the Second Empire became accessible to a wider audience. We’ll pass by the former ateliers of high-end designers such as Charles Frederick Worth and Jacques Doucet, whose luxurious and stylish gowns attracted customers such as Empress Eugénie and other nobility. Worth and Doucet's notoriety even reached the famous actresses and the wealthiest women who visited from all over the world, truly establishing Paris as the capital of fashion.
Passing through the Place Vendôme, now home to high-end jewelers and boutiques, we’ll step into fashion of the 20th-century. Pioneered by Coco Chanel, who installed her studios nearby, we will look at the shift away from the excessive, constrictive designs for women's fashion towards more practical—yet no less stylish—silhouettes.
Take Aways on Rue Saint-Honoré
We'll finish our time with a better understanding of how the Art Déco movement influenced shoppers who flocked to the newest ready-to-wear boutiques along the famous rue Saint-Honoré and in the perfect jumping off point to do some independent shopping.
"Our docent was knowledgeable, energetic, and came prepared with great drawings to help us visualize the designs. There was so much historical content—even my husband loved it."
For those seeking some assistance finding the best boutiques, we suggest our Paris Shopping Tour. Please contact us for more details.
Will there be any opportunities do some shopping during the walk? Our tour focuses on illuminating the timeline of fashion history in Paris and does not include shopping. However, if you're more interested in an expert-led, customized shopping experience, we could arrange for a private shopping tour with one of our fashion experts. Please contact us to discuss the details.
Is this seminar walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? We do cover extensive territory on this seminar. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you, and can also design a private, customized tour for visitors with mobility issues.