By now, most American women know the drill, “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, “Parisian Women Always Stay Skinny”, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… What surprises a lot of Americans is when they find out that a) outside of certain areas of Paris, most French women are what WE’D consider a normal, healthy weight, and b) Paris is just a tiny (dare I even say TEENY tiny) portion of France’s population; of the 64+ million people living in France, only 2.2 million live in the Paris region. Sure, there’s a certain demographic of Parisian woman that’s particularly thin (those chain-smoking, espresso-sipping, stiletto-heel and pencil-skirt wearing, food and lifestyle bloggers that we see and hear SO much about on our Facebook feeds). But for the most part, as in other parts of the world- French AND PARISIAN women come in all shapes and (gasp!) sizes. Believe it or not, shopping in Paris for curvy sized women is not as difficult as you would think.
It’s true that, culturally, French women’s approach to food and eating is different from her Anglo sisters. The obesity epidemic that’s swept the US, UK and other countries in the past few decades hasn’t yet come to France, and I sincerely doubt that it ever will. But rather than take on all of the hoopla of learning how to “stay skinny like a French woman”, I think more American women should instead focus on healthy eating habits that suit their own bodies and lifestyles. If they want to adopt a “French” attitude, then they should look at the way that French women organically embrace their femininity. French women who have curves are proud of them and look to brands and boutiques that specialize in bringing out the best in their bodies.
If you’d like to tap into your inner “Femme Francaise” and compliment your curves with a little shopping spree while you’re in Paris, one of the best places to start is Boulevard Haussmann.
Boulevard Haussmann in the 8th and 9th arrondissements is one of the Shopping Mecca’s of Paris. Anchored by the Grand Magasins Galleries Lafayette and Printemps (Paris’ famous upscale department stores) the Boulevard Haussmann, and many of the smaller streets shooting off of it, hosts some of the best shopping in the city- including a nice selection of women’s boutiques dedicated to larger sizes.
Curvy Sized Shopping in Paris
49, Boulevard Haussmann
54, Boulevard Haussmann
Plus size fashion in all price-points can be found in the area, starting at the more affordable end with the C&A and H&M flagship stores. Each carry reasonably priced collections of casual sportswear, career wear and formal wear in plus sizes going up to 60 and 54 respectively.
64 BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN
Located on the 6th floor of Printemps, with two stand-alone boutiques elsewhere in Paris, Elena Miro is known for clever cuts and premium fabrics that flatter feminine curves and ooze luxurious charm.
64 BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN
Also in Printemps, with three additional stand-alone boutiques around Paris, Marina Rinaldi is one of the top high-end, plus size designers. Sister to the Max Mara brand, Marina Rinaldi exudes luxury and class.
VIOLETA by MANGO
54, BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN
Launched earlier this year online and in several Mango boutiques, the Violeta collection includes over 400 pieces of stylish separates, sized from 40 to 52.
32, BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN
From casual to career, weekend wear to special occasion, this German retailer offers fashion designed to fit and flatter the full size woman.
10, RUE TRONCHET
With over 137 stores in France, Christine Laure features a wide collection of both casual and career wear going up to size 52.
36, BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN
A Paris institution since 1972, Jeanne Rafal focuses on unique ready-to-wear and formalwear– and boasts a steady clientele that travels from across France seasonally to shop their collections.
32 bis, BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN
With sizes ranging from 38 – 62, La Pompadour is known for their cocktail and evening wear prêt à porter lines, sold in their classic Old World boudoir-inspired boutique
UN JOUR AILLEURS
75, RUE SAINT LAZARE
Great for a working wardrobe or special occasions, Un Jour Ailleurs carries sizes up to a French 50 (not exactly “Plus ” per se, but a bit larger than most).
62, RUE D’AMSTERDAM
With their catalog of sizes ranging from 42 to 62, and 80 B to 145 N, Passé Simple has been THE reference for fine Plus Size lingerie in Paris for over 15 years.