By Amanda Mesa | Published on March 6, 2023

If you're a design lover, Paris Fashion Week is without a doubt one of the most exciting times to visit the City of Light. There are so many fashion places to visit in Paris, from the glamorous stores of established houses, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, to boutiques showcasing threads by the hottest up-and-coming designers. Twice a year, usually in February and September, they all come alive during Fashion Week with a series of runway shows, design presentations and special events to show off designers' spring/summer and fall/winter collections.

If you're relatively unfamiliar with the world of Fashion Week, here's what to know. First, there are three other big fashion weeks that take place around the world: London, New York and Milan. Collectively known alongside Paris as the "Big Four," each one offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences for fashion lovers. That said, Paris is hands-down my favorite. It's exhilarating to walk along the cobblestone streets and see models posing for photos in front of the city's stunning architecture, decked from head to toe in elaborate costumes. Paris's many cafés and restaurants teem with celebrities during these special times of the year. And all the fashion places to visit in Paris put their best feet forward, paying extra attention to window displays, hosting in-store activations and more. If you're into fashion — or intrigued by all the glitz, glamour and celebrity sightings — you should definitely time your visit to Paris around one of its two fashion weeks.

How To Go To Paris Fashion Week?

If you're wondering how to go to Paris Fashion Week, the answer is: Just go. Paris Fashion Week is the hottest event of the year, and it's so easy to find things to do to celebrate the event. Dates for Paris Fashion Week are determined by the French Fashion Federation and are usually announced a year in advance, giving you plenty of time to plan your visit. Once you know when the events will run, it's just a matter of following designers for news on the events they're planning. Social media and fashion blogs are great resources for updates.

While most visitors opt to fly directly to Paris, cruising to Paris can be a better way to get in on all the Fashion Week action without breaking the bank. These are two of the busiest times of the year for the City of Light, with tourists, designers, models and VIPs flying in from all over the world. Airfare and hotel prices tend to skyrocket during these weeks. Most cruises that sail to Paris don't depart from the megacity, though, which means you'll likely save on airfare flying into a departure port that isn't experiencing an influx of travelers. And because your accommodations are on the ship, you don't have to pay top-dollar for in-demand lodgings across the city.

What To Do In Paris During Fashion Week?

Wondering what to do in Paris during Fashion Week? Well, since there are so many things to do and so many fashion places to visit in Paris, it's crucial to have a game plan when you arrive. If you can swing it, you should definitely try to score access to a runway show. Many of the big-name haute couture and ready-to-wear shows take place in stunning historic locations such as the Grand Palais and the Carrousel du Louvre, adding an extra layer of glamour. While most of these events are by invitation only, you never know when luck might strike. Dress to the nines and go mingle in hotels, restaurants and cafés. Duck into the Four Seasons Hotel George V or the Ritz Paris, order a glass of Champagne at the bar and chat with the bartender. Express your love for fashion to the store manager of a local boutique. Paris Fashion Week events rely on catering teams, sound and lighting companies, security outfits and more to run properly — someone's friend of a friend might just be your in.

If you're struggling to find access to a show, look to department stores such as Le Bon Marché, Le Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville and Printemps Haussmann. Some of these host their own free in-store events and fashion shows during Paris Fashion Week, so follow their social media channels and subscribe to their mailing lists to be notified if and when they're hosting events. You might even be able to take advantage of special offers, limited-time merchandise and unique surprises. I once attended an event at Galeries Lafayette where a local artist was stenciling designs onto purses as part of an exclusive fashion collaboration.

Since there are so many things to do and so many fashion places to visit in Paris, it's crucial to have a game plan when you arrive.

What To Wear To Paris Fashion Week?

Ask anybody who's ever attended any of the "Big Four" fashion weeks, and they'll likely tell you that dressing well opens up a slew of doors and opportunities — even if you're not a celebrity or influencer. Planning what to wear to Paris Fashion Week ahead of time is key. You'll want to wear a killer outfit that is both elegant and comfortable as it will boost your chances of getting photographed and featured in one of the countless "Best Street Style" round-ups that flood fashion blogs and social media feeds during Fashion Week.

When planning your Paris Fashion Week wardrobe, do a little bit of research to see what trends editors expect on the runway. Is it all about florals and romantic silhouettes this season? Are punk vibes and vampy velvets making a comeback for fall and winter? Craft outfits based on what experts think will dominate shows, then strut your stuff like a top model as you go from café to museum to boutique to bar.

Also, remember that dressing up doesn't have to mean being uncomfortable. The French — especially Parisians — have mastered the art of blending form with function. Elegant loafers and cool sneakers can both work with a high-fashion wardrobe. Be mindful of the weather during your visit, how much walking you plan to do and what dress codes you might have to abide by. For example, if you snagged a spot at a black-tie event by Dior, make sure you bring an outfit that's appropriate.

Where To Shop In Paris During Fashion Week?

If you're planning a vacation or cruise to Paris around Fashion Week, you probably love to shop. Fortunately for you, Paris is a shopper's paradise year-round. If you're looking for top-of-the-line designer fashion and makeup, head to the Faubourg Saint-Honoré district in the Louvre-Tuileries neighborhood. The streets here are lined with storefronts emblazoned with names like Versace, Saint Laurent and Hermes, as well as unique concept stores and boutiques. Faubourg Saint-Honoré also places you in close proximity to the Opera Garnier and those high-end Parisian department stores we mentioned earlier — it's the city's buzzing fashion center.

If your style is a little more eclectic and off-beat, hit up the boutiques in the historic Marais quarter — a treasure trove of antiques, fine art, vintage finds, handcrafted wares and more. You'll find some of the best fashion pieces and best places to visit in Paris on vacation along the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Rue de Turenne and Place des Vosges. If you need a little caffeine pick-me-up in preparation for all that shopping, pop into Kusmi Tea on Rue des Rosiers or Mariage Frères on Rue du Bourg-Tibourg for some impeccable French tea.

Finally, if you want a small respite from all the glitz and glamour but still want to get your shopping on, the Saint-Ouen flea market on the northern tip of Paris is an exceptional spot to find vintage clothes, beautiful antiques and other unique curiosities. Dating back to the 19th century, it's the largest of its kind in the city. If you can visit during a weekday, you'll avoid the crowds and maybe have a better chance of scoring some great finds.

Other Must-See Paris Sights

Even if you're most interested in the top fashion places to visit in Paris, this city brims with incredible sights, vibrant history and a rich culture worth experiencing when you visit. There's a reason why it's one of the world's top vacation destinations! In between people-watching, shopping and Fashion Week events, try to set aside time for some of Paris's most iconic experiences, such as visiting the Eiffel Tour. Though this historic landmark can be admired from afar, it's worth experiencing the view from the top at least once in your life. Also, check out the Louvre Museum, open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day except for Tuesdays. A few hours isn't enough to see even a third of the exhibits on display, but catching just a glimpse of the treasures within is worth the visit.

If your hunger for fashion and style takes you to the famed Champs-Élysées, you'll be treated to stunning views of the Arc de Triomphe. And if you're looking for the perfect way to transition from daytime city sights to evening fashion events, there's nothing like visiting the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy a multi-course dinner cruise along the Seine, where every bite is paired with dazzling views of the city's centuries-old bridges and the Eiffel Tower all dressed up in twinkling lights.

Finding The Best Foods In Paris During Fashion Week

Traditional French food in Paris is legendary, and you'll find an endless array of incredible eateries in every single arrondissement. If you're hoping to get a table at one of the city's fine Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Maison Rostang, L'Archeste or Nomicos, make your reservation well in advance. These restaurants are bound to fill up in the months leading up to Fashion Week when actors, designers and other celebrities flood the city.

If you prefer to keep your meals casual (and a bit more affordable), rest assured you won't have to skimp on quality. So many of Paris's local bistros and hole-in-the-wall cafés offer crave-worthy cuisine and five-star service. Locally loved favorites offer memorable and affordable dining and drinking experiences. Consider the cozy and intimate Le Pantruche in South Pigalle, the always-lively Invalides staple Café Varenne, the romantic, dimly lit Lapérouse in Saint Germain or the rustic wine bar Les Vins de Dames in Batignolles.

For the perfect pre-fashion show cocktail, hit Bar Joséphine at the historic Hotel Lutetia on Paris's Left Bank. The space itself is a breathtaking blend of modern and Belle Époque style, with parquet floors, sleek leather barstools and Art Nouveau frescoes on the walls. If you're in town on a weekend, you'll get to sip cocktails to the sounds of a live jazz band.

Without a doubt, Paris dazzles as a vacation destination year-round. With hundreds of museums, myriad boutiques, quaint bistros and awe-inspiring architecture, you'll never be bored during a trip to the City of Light. And if you're a fashion lover, planning a visit during Paris Fashion Week only elevates the experience, supercharging every moment with beauty, intrigue and plenty of star power.

In order to make the most out of your Fashion Week getaway in France, you really only have to remember two golden rules: Dress well and be friendly. Parisians appreciate others who value style as much as they do and put effort into their appearance. In my experience, they're quick and eager to make recommendations to friendly tourists.

Written By

Amanda has written for Royal Caribbean since 2017. She also covers travel, lifestyle, food and beverage for Indulge Magazine, the Miami Herald and PureWow. She's traveled extensively around the world, enjoys building unforgettable itineraries and loves introducing readers to lesser-known destinations.

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View of the Eiffel tower from the water with boats in Paris. Europe.
View of the Eiffel tower from the water with boats in Paris. Europe.

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