What you think of as “French lingerie” is probably Aubade. (They’re the ones who invented the high-fashion lingerie photo back in the ’90s.) Heavy on embroidery and lace and always, alway underwire: The better to push up your boobs, my dear. They also have a range of kinky box sets that leave far less to the imagination.
If Victoria’s Secret had a French cousin, it would be Etam. Their stores proliferate Paris, but they’ve got an extensive collection and reasonable prices (if not the best quality) for anyone jones-ing for some Vicky S.
Think of Oysho as Etam’s little sister. Slightly sweeter with a younger vibe—eyelet trim, floral prints—though they do have a mini maternity line. Prices are almost H&M cheap.
Image via Aubade
It Girl Picks
The underwear of choice for French It Girl, Jeanne Damas, who also models for the brand. The sheer lace and triangle shapes are designed for cool chicks who hang out in the hottest places in Paris.
La Fille D’O
A Belgian brand, but we’d be remiss in not mentioning them. Avant-garde and seriously sexy, La Fille D’O is lingerie like you’ve never seen it before. It’s also ethically-produced, entirely in Belgium, with €7 shipping to France.
Image via Yasmine Eslami
Once upon a time, a woman named Herminie Cadolle sliced a corset in half and invented the first bra. She introduced it at the 1889 World Expo in Paris (the one for which the Eiffel Tower was built) and applied for a patent. Two-hundred years later, the quintessential French brand is still run by Cadolle family women and fans include Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. They have an haute couture atelier for custom orders.
Billed as Couture Lingerie, the Carine Gilson atelier employs 20 couturiers using silk from Lyon and lace from Calais. Her exquisite silk kimonos are a speciality. They also take custom orders.
This luxury French brand-and-boutique is so old-school, there’s no website or social media. It doesn’t need it. Serge Gainsbourg strolled in the day the store opened in 1976 and bought a pearl-gray nightgown for Jane Birkin. Since then, owner and designer Moette Moatie counts Madonna, Catherine Deneuve, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell as fans of her jewel-toned silk bras, camisoles and nightwear. Moatie will not sell her lingerie outside of her shop, so it’s a must-visit when you’re in Paris.
73, rue des Saints Pères, 75006
+33 (0)1 45 48 88 37
Frou-frou, pinup-style lingerie for women who are a little bit saucy and a little bit sweet. Their boutiques are jewel boxes—a girly girl’s dream of a lingerie store.
Image via Cadolle
Dutch designer Marlies Dekkers has a devoted French following for her beautiful bras that support larger lolos. Leather harnesses and metal hardware are fetish and fashion.
Mise en Cage (UPDATE: Sadly, they’re no longer in business)
Featured in our Kinky Carnet, Mise en Cage’s lingerie collection is best described as luxury bondage: Ultra-sexy and decidedly dangerous.
Image via Marlies Dekkers
These boutiques carry several brands in-store and/or online (for when you just don’t want to get off your couch to buy a bra)
An online lingerie retailer with perhaps the most extensive list of brands, including Lou, Maison Close, Chantal Thomass and Hanro. They carry a range of pretty plus-size lingerie and even have your man’s underwear needs covered.
With 68 stores in France, there’s probably an Orcanta in your quartier. If not, there’s one on your computer with the latest collections from Aubade, Chantal Thomass (told you she was everywhere!) and their own well-priced private label.
With five stores in only the wealthiest Paris arrondissements, Laure Sokol is your bourgeois girlfriend’s go-to lingerie shop. Their site is currently under construction (to make an E-shop?) so in-store shopping only for the moment.
Image via Laure Sokol