Chanel Boutique - Rue Cambon (Paris, France)

chanel rue cambon
When I realized that this post would be my 100th on the blog, I knew I couldn't just write about any ol' store. No, to celebrate this mini-milestone, I would need to feature a brand that influenced the fashion world like no other. Who's founder changed the way women dressed and touched their lives, even if they couldn't afford her precious goods. I think there's no arguing that even if you're not the type to run around in a tweed jacket, you'll most likely still be influenced by Chanel, whether it's the quilted bags, timeless designer fragrances, strands of pearl necklaces or just a simple little back dress. Coco Chanel famously liberated women from tight corsets and overly ornate garments, saying that "simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance". My earliest memories were seeing bottles of Chanel perfume on my mother's dressing table, then saving up to get my first Chanel lipstick in my early teens. I remember when Rouge Noir was all the rage and watching Vanessa Paradis swing around in a birdcage during a TV commercial. Chanel is one of those brands that is everywhere and has most likely been present for most of our lives. Which is why going into the Rue Cambon flagship always feels like you're entering a sacred place.

coco chanel rue cambonCoco Chanel entering the Rue Cambon building - 1962 (photo by Douglas Kirkland).

chanel mirrored staircaseEntrance and mirrored staircase next to the boutique (right image: Notcot).

The original flagships always play an important role in brand history and tend to define a brand more than anything else. It's definitely the case with Chanel's oldest and first boutique - bags have been named after the address, the Chanel No. 5 bottle is modeled after the shape of Place Vendôme nearby and the simple interior of the store is the basis for the design of every other Chanel flagship in the world. While Coco herself lived in an apartment in the Ritz, just opposite the Chanel building, the 31 Rue Cambon location she bought in 1910 housed everything else related to the Chanel business: the boutique on the ground floor, haute couture on the first, an apartment on the second (which she used for social and entertainment purposes), the atelier on the third, where Karl Lagerfeld now does most of his Chanel work and lastly a rooftop garden at the very top, with supposedly one of the best views of Paris.

chanel haute couture roomThe Haute Couture fitting rooms (images: Cafe Mode, Materialiste)

chanel rue cambonEntrance to the apartment (left) and sitting room (right image: Materialiste)

The famous mirrored staircase, which allowed Coco to view every single room when she sat at the top, still remains unchanged. The same goes for her apartment - only accessible during certain events or occasions - which is surprisingly ornate given her love of simple design and looks nothing like the sleek interiors in the rooms below. Whenever Coco paid the building a visit, it was said that staff would scurry about in advance spritzing every corner with Chanel No. 5. And while the interlocked C's of the Chanel logo, the number 5 (her lucky number) and her favorite camellia flower can be found throughout the apartment, the boutique itself is sparse, allowing the pieces to speak for themselves.

chanel rue cambonHallway area near the main entrance.

If you've seen a Chanel boutique before, chances are, this one won't look any different. And in fact, it's probably not terribly exciting either if it weren't for the history surrounding the building. The flagship is huge though - not the largest in the world (that one is in Tokyo's Ginza district), but big enough for you to find almost anything you could possibly need. And just knowing that Coco herself used to work away in the floors above (and now Karl) adds a special something to the boutique experience. There are two entrances you can use coming in - one of them is near the valet area (yes, Chanel has a valet service), which leads you through a large entrance hall filled with a few bags and rows of sunglasses, yet other than that, it's relatively empty. The other entrance will lead you directly to the accessories and handbag area, if you have no time to waste in finding that perfect purse. I tend to use the main entrance, just because there's something majestic about walking through the large hallway towards the stairs that lead to the ready-to-wear collections.

chanel rue cambonThe accessories and jewely area.

chanel rue cambonSome of the goodies I found...

As intimidating as the boutique may look, don't be discouraged.... even during a weekday you won't be the only customer there. There's a lot of security staff scattered around and SA's are numerous as well, though fairly helpful - and they won't follow your every move. Once in the entrance, I turned left first, where I saw more bags, some from SS09 and a few from the current season. What you'll mainly find here though is accessories and jewelry - most of it costume and a very small selection of fine jewelry and watches.

chanel rue cambonMore accessories, mainly bags, shoes and clothes.

Next up, further to the left, you'll find another room, again filled with a few more bags, but also a small selection of shoes, such as the lovely sparkly ballerinas, smaller clothing items including cashmere cardigans and a select range of scarves and shawls. Everything is laid out to avoid any rummaging, but more stock can be found behind the large black panels next to the shelves. During sale season you can look yourself, but otherwise I'd get the staff to help you out.

chanel rue cambonThe main shoe section.

Most of the shoes are displayed in the next room, usually a small selection of what is available, so again, I'd ask if there's a particular style you're looking for. The footwear mainly consisted of boots and booties, though I did spy some wedge sandals and more ballerinas.

chanel rue cambonMannequins near the stairs and a bag I spied on a shelf nearby.

chanel rue cambonI'm sure some would call this the Stairway to Heaven...

If you keep walking, you'll get to the main handbag area, though I tend to leave this for last (so I can use this exit). I walked towards the large stairs that lead to the clothing section. This area is my favorite - not that I can afford anything, but the lights on the ceiling remind me of stars in the sky and occasionally they'll bring down a screen in the center on which the latest Chanel runway show is projected. You'll find a few comfy seats here as well, but if you're like me, you'll probably immediately start looking at the various items hanging in their little spaces. Conveniently, everything is hanging facing you, so it's almost like you're looking at pieces in a museum. Sometimes the appropriate shoes can be found below, with bags and other accessories in a shelf above.

chanel rue cambonFirst section coming up the stairs... lots of tweed and smart suits.

If you can tear yourself away from this area, you'll find more stunning pieces in the next room. This one had a more cosy feel, with a lounge area on the left, where you can watch more runway shoes on the three screens facing you. From there you can also view most of the clothes, but again, I couldn't resist going around touching every garment. I sighted a few beautiful pink gowns (last season), thick wool coats (this season) and some lovely dark tweed pieces that Mr. Lagerfeld revamped to give them a more youthful edge.

chanel rue cambonSecond room dedicated to RTW.

chanel rue cambonSome of the items I found... but couldn't afford...

The staff in the ready-to-wear section are usually a bit friendlier, I'm guessing because they rarely deal with the full force of tourists and locals who come in or call every 5 mins asking whether a certain bag is in stock. But if you think they have nothing to do, you're mistaken. Every time I've been there, a society lady or upper-class madame would have an appointment booked. The staff will then prepare one of the changing rooms, which can be found behind the wood-paneled sliding doors in the next and final room, and stock it with items the client has requested or pieces they feel the customer would like. Ahhh, to lead that life... I think most people would be happy enough with one signature Chanel item! It's in this room I found some of the Paris-Moscou range in addition to sports wear and other more casual items. Once again, only a select few pieces were on display, but there's more behind the panels. During sale season this changes of course - the entire stock then hangs from racks (side by side), categorized by size.

chanel rue cambonThe final room dedicated to clothing. It's also where the changing rooms are hidden.

chanel rue cambonAn assortment of sporty and chic wintery pieces in this area.

Walking by, I paused briefly at the make-up and fragrance section at the bottom of the stairs, just to the side of the entrance hall. You might think it's trivial to buy something so minor in such a large boutique, but after a friend told me she got a lipgloss here, which was then lovingly packed in a small Chanel bag and adorned with a white camellia, I can understand that buying anything here is a special experience.

chanel rue cambonThe make-up and fragrances area near the stairs.

My last stop was the handbag and accessories section at the other end of the store. The selection is large, but as everyone tends to come here first, coveted items are just as hard to find here. Although this area is usually the busiest, it was surprisingly quiet when I last went. Again, you'll find sofas and tables with a TV screen at the end, where you can relax (or cry) after spending too much money. Most bags are on display on the shelves, while smaller accessories and more costume jewelry is housed in the glass cases along the counter.

chanel rue cambonHeading towards the handbag section (left) and overview of this area (right).

chanel rue cambonMore lovely Chanel pieces...

Even if you've been confronted by snooty Chanel SA's in the past (I've heard of plenty of cases), it's definitely worth taking a peek in the legendary flagship if you're ever in Paris. If you're not going anytime soon, I hope this virtual shopping tour gave you a good idea of what it looks like. I will add that staff in all the Parisian Chanel boutiques (i.e. the four other flagships, which all happen to be in the same area) are quite friendly, whereas I've had hit or miss experiences in the department stores. And even if you don't plan on buying anything, there's nothing that brings out a little Coco in you than wandering through this historic boutique and browsing the gorgeous pieces Lagerfeld designed in her memory.

chanel fw09 runwayChanel RTW FW09 runway looks (images:

chanel fw09 haute coutureChanel Haute Couture Fall 09 looks (images:

Address: 31 rue Cambon, 75001 Paris
Opening Hrs: Mon-Sat: 10:00-19:00
Chanel Homepage


  1. Oh, Chanel. My mom's perfume is Chanel No.5 (like many women!) and I grew up smelling it and loving anything Chanel. Not that I could afford much of anything, but it's definitely a dream of any girls to have something fabulous from this designer. It's the epitome of classy and it never really goes out of style!

  2. Darling, thank you so much for this review. It was a wonderful surprise as I've been hoping that you would write about Chanel some time soon. What a special place filled with desires and temptations! And although at this point of my life I'd probably have to treat it more as a museum rather than a boutique (or somebody would have to carry my unconscious body to those sofas :) ), but still it would be so interesting to visit it.
    Would they speak English or prefer to be all so French and ignore (hate) me for not being able to communicate in their native language?

    P.S. Am still trying to finish reading Vogue.... it's so big I could use it for strength training...

  3. Incredible - i think this is my favourite post so far. Your passion for style and this brand really comes through, and I get a very special sense of what this place is about.

    I am so sad to say I don't yet own any Chanel pieces yet but i definitely have my eye out out for a vintage quilted bag and one of those diamond white watches. The only thing with buying vintage though is I'm afraid of fakes.

    I totally loved the fall lines from Chanel for 2009 - thanks for including some pics from those collections.

    I must say reading your blog everyday is getting me so excited for coming to Paris next year. I really need to start saving up!

    Re Jil Sander - yes i never understood that either but I think lately I have gained an appreciation for the work. And thx for your compliments on my hair - I love hearing feedback=D

  4. I've been there. :)

    Beautifully written, as usual.

  5. Oh, I'm quite certain, I'd be crying. Not from spending too much money but from leaving empty handed. I think Chanel handbags are classic and I fear my vintage Chanel will be the only piece I'll have.

    Have a lovely weekend! xx

  6. Happy 100th, darling! Here's to another 100 fabulous posts! :)

  7. It's me again :) Just read your comment. All morning, I think I've been commenting on another's blog while they're commenting on mine. Happened 3 times already.

    Yes we get Vero Moda. I love their simple style and affordability. I got that blazer on sale for CAD$20.69!

    Thank you for the sweet bday wishes, I don't feel like celebrating but next week will probably be spent gallavanting with S and some friends so just wanted to explain in the chance I was MIA.

  8. I remember being 9 and asking my mom if I could borrow her Chanel No.5 and her telling me I'd get my own someday.
    Chanel, goes without saying is the most iconic brand in the world. It's a household name. Like someone least interested in soccer would know who Beckham is, someone least interested in music would know who Mozart is, somebody least interested in fashion would know who Chanel is.
    And Coco mademoiselle, well, she's the idol of women round the world.

  9. OMG! U know MY boutique. Thank you so much... :-)


  10. I'M BACKKKK AND I'VE MISSED YOUR BLOG! Phew, got that off my chest. Anyway, omg you're truly my fashion blog editorial!! My greatest addiction is Chanel and THANK YOU for this awesome detailed entry about my favorite brand! This is a reminder for me to go catch Coco avant Chanel soon lol. I've updated my blog! Like finally right? Have a great weekend my dear!

    Love always, Adeliet

  11. Congratulations for the #100 !!!
    Your choice is incredible, of course !
    I actually die for these spiral stairs !
    And everything else is so classy... it's nice to know a place like this exists somewhere, just as Tiffany's ;D

  12. I'm so utterly devoted to Chanel. Thank you for this wonderful review of the flagship store!

  13. Is it weird to say that one of the reasons I want to visit Paris is just to see this shop? It really is the epitome of how to display, decorate and make the entrant feel. I still remember seeing that bottle of No.5 on my mother's mantelpiece when I was growing up. She has moved on to No.19 in recent years, but I shall always remember the scent of No.5 as one of the starkest memories my childhood. Congratulations on the 100th post dear, really do hope you are having a beautiful week :)

    100. POSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ooooooh, what a lovely anniversary, darling! Your 100. posting and you're doing it about Chanel! Not only Janetteria's heart will beat faster now.... Oh my... It's my dream to stay in this store overnight... Hiding behind the curtains and then when everybody's left - JUMP OUT and to feel like a little girl in the candy shop! It must feel like going into fashion's paradise, heaven!!! Swoon from the left to the right. All over!
    Thanks so much for doing this ingeniously 100. Anniversary posting!
    Wishing you and your Mr. a wonderful + most pleasant weekend, love!

    Big kiss and much love always

  15. Thanks for the post! Chanel is one of my all-time favorites :)

  16. happy 100th post! yes, i remember rouge noir and paradis in the birdcage :) thanks for the virtual tour. you really described the vibe as if i was there - i totally got the cozy and not-so-cozy (my words) feeling as soon as i saw the pictures.

    thanks so much for your advice about my milan trip. i'll be writing you separately.

  17. Beautiful post and my most favourite Fashion House.
    We tracked down the Chanel Boutique in 27-31 Rue Cambon when we were in Paris, and then Castlereagh Street when in Sydney.
    This post is beautiful and so well written, thank you. Congratulations on your 100 post.

    Happy weekend

  18. Happy 100th post! Chanel is just so classic, this was very informative and well written, thanks for posting

  19. Ooo chanel is just too amazing! I love this post :)

  20. First " HAPPY 100th POST"
    Secondly, I have just died and gone to HEAVEN !
    Last of all, THANK YOU for this UNBELIEVABLE and UNFORGETTABLE TRIP!!!:)

  21. 1st, thank you for the lovely comment - 2nd, again, such a wonderful, detailed and informative post,,, awesome .... btw: i really love love your blog & would love to exchange links with you:-) let me know, xoxo

  22. Chanel!!! The day I can walking into Chanel knowing that I can purchase something proudly and not just gawk at is beauty, is the day I know I will have made it!

  23. How did you know to write about Chanel just as I'm lusting after a white clutch I saw in San Francisco? ;)

  24. omgosh, words, just puddles of drool. amaaaazing! thank you for the photos that encourage me to attain a 6 figure job so i can actually afford a keychain...*sigh*

  25. what a fabulous store to choose as your 100th post!!!! congratulations lovely!!! i love how you've described the store and presented the photos.

    hope you have a lovely weekend precious xxx

  26. I simply adore how this brand has evolved into such a hip&chic design power house! ...le sigh, hope my walk-in closet would look like the boutique one day! ~Lovely weekend darling!

  27. Congratulations on your 100 post!!!!

    It´s a pitty I never went to this store and just checked at Avenue Montaigne...
    Your sweet memories of saving up to get the first Chanel lipstick in the early teens!
    Can I dream about the Haute Couture fitting room and al the beautiful pieces in the store?;)

    Wishing you a joyful and relaxing weekend in Paris!!!

  28. chanel is definitely the one for your 100th post. i adored this shop when i visited a few weeks ago and it would have been so lovely to have bought the item i went for (which incidentally i still haven't been able to get hold of!) great post, my favourite so far :)

  29. nice*cute*lovely*post... comme d'habitude*

  30. Hi there-a totally fabulous and gorgeous 100th post my dear, I've not been to the flagship store in Paris but your review makes me feel I know it so much better now!! Maybe one day, sigh.....! have a wonderful weekend my dear!!

  31. wouldnt mind hanging out there for a day.. or maybe a week haha!


  32. SO jealous! the only thing better than being in the chanel boutique would be turning back time and going with coco in 1962!

  33. Gosh, I love Chanel. It is one of my favorite brand because no matter who the designer, the clothes are always so chic and stylish. And they always have this sophisticated edge to them that I absolutely love.
    Super-fab post! :)


  34. I can't wait to visit Paris! Thank you so much for this gorgeous post and congratulations for your 100th post :-)

    Much love: Evi

  35. Your 100th post is just PERFECT!!!THANK YOU!!!
    It's funny that I've been to Chanel boutiques in both GL and Printemps and also on the street close to Opera, but NEVER to the original one!
    I remember when I first purchased my Chanel Classic bag we entered the Opera boutique and the sales people were soooo snobbish that it totally turned me off, so I prefered the good old Printemps :)
    Should visit it once though...for history purposes ;)

  36. congrats! and thank you for sharing us such great informations ^.^

  37. This afternoon we went to the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Prada, CDG, Hermés, Givenchy, Chanel, Bottega Veneta...... You talk good about CDG and I really wanted to have a glimpse.....
    CDG was lovely! we found stuf really cool especially for man, my friend tried a jacket that was really really cool but...sooo expensive!!

    Then we stop to Louboutin and I tried some wonderful shoes...

    We went street down and I really loved the givenchy grande classe!!

    I went creazy in bottega Veneta, one of my fav brand... I nearly bought a pair of shoes....

    And then, last stop in Bally, where I did finally bough a wonderfull sandals in ppython........

  38. One hundredth post - a reason to celebrate! And I only joined the ride so very recently. Chanel is a choice of my predilection, too. Mademoiselle Coco was a veritable visionary. She did so much for us ladies, by her hands and her incredible example of life.

  39. A very fitting 100th post! Thanks for such a wonderful guided tour. I did so love Coco Avant Chanel recently - I truly didn't appreciate just how much she did for women's fashion, and how far outside the box Coco was when she first started out.

  40. Congratulations on your 100th post!
    This was a fabulous review. I dream of going to this store and your post has given me a wonderful insight!

  41. who can resist chanel? if i can effort afford it..i'd wear a chanel bouclet jacket to death.


  42. This is a fabulous post! My new goal is to go to this store. And I love the chanel handbag you found.

  43. Undoubtedly, that place is the epitome of glamour - I go there every single time I go to Paris.


  44. Wow- congratulations on your 100th post! What a great idea to cover classic Chanel. Well reported, too. I enjoyed my visit here on my last girls' trip to Chanel and while I didn't indulge in a purchase, two of my girlfriends purchased their first Chanel bags at the flagship and got their items packed into lovely white camelia bowed bags. I did buy my mother a wallet here, and it was packed with the same amount of care. Congratulations again, on reaching 100. Here's to 100 more wonderful, insightful posts. xx

  45. Hello lovely,
    Congrats on the 100th post! wow, time does fly by very quickly! This was an excellent choice for the 100th post :)

    The Chanel boutique is simply stunning and very elegant. When i visit Paris i hope i will have enough time to visit all these boutiques!

    I remember when i was about 14 or 15 my mum took me to a perfume shop to get something for my birthday. I think my mum was expecting me to choose something a little floral and young, but she got a shock when i chose Chanel (which at the time was the most expensive in that shop! lol)

    p.s We are still up for Thursday, i am going to take afternoon as annual leave. Let me know what time suits you best!

    Have a great start to the week and i look forward to meeting you on Thursday :)

    Kisses & hugs

  46. CONGRATS TO YOUR 100 POSTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Chanel is so chic!


  47. wow it's very awesome and sophisticated, I wish I was there >.<


  48. great story..I've remembered of my first Chanel lipstick :))I was saving also

  49. Oh WOW, this is so clever - you have the most gorgeous site here and I had to stop by to leave this comment for you – and to say hello of course ! Your posts are creative and original and you have interesting pictures. It's all perfect ! Thank you for sharing your site and best wishes....

  50. Very well written and many thanks.

    Happy 100th post.

  51. Congrats on 100, darling! What a milestone! And Chanel is definitely worth celebrating too... what a stunning shop and review! Fabulous post, as ever!


  52. i love this post darling! perfect for 100!! congrats!

    great way to celebrate with a store thats so mesmerizing to be in!

    miss neira

  53. i just had a chanel-gasm! sigh.


    seriously, chanel is perfection.

  54. Omg amazing- I wish I was in paris :)

  55. Wow! Iv never been in a Chanel store but it seems AMAZING!

  56. I love Chanel!

    It´s a dream for all women around the world!
    As you said, even if you can afford or not :)

    They are the best!

    Many kisses and congratulations for all...I do love your´s at my vip list!

  57. wow. jaw drop! chanel is breathtaking, the store is even more fantastiqueeeee. and hells yeah, ginger power;)

    xx raez

  58. Wow what a historical and beautiful place! This surely has to be one of the most lovely boutiques you've featured! Congrats on the 100!

  59. This place is gorgeous! It's everything I'd expect a Chanel boutique to be; classy, and fabulous. One of my favorite posts by you! Keep up the fantastic work!


  60. hi lovely!!! :)
    thank you for your sweet comment. i will try and take a piccie of georges kate moss tee soon :D

    i had a nice and relaxing weekend... how was yours?? <3


  61. This is the one shop I must visit before I die - Chanel at its finest, in its hometown of Paris. Everything looks absolutely stunning; of course I would expect no less from the brand!

    And if only the rest of the world knew the joy of couture, Louis Vuitton bunny ears… (;

    La C.

  62. Congrats on your 100th post. That's awesome. This was a fantastic selection for such a post. Hope your week got off to a good start. Cheers!

  63. I'm so glad you did this post on Chanel! It is so timeless and classic who can NOT love it? I don't think I'll be goign to paris anytime soon so I really enjoyed reading this post and taking this virtual tour! I would be in awe if I ever step into a Chanel store! especially the one you featured here. I love how everything in the store was so organized. It was beautiful!

  64. Very good and detail write up of Chanel, and i am happy that you choose to post Chanel as your 100th post. as I love Chanel too !!!
    Wish you have a good day ahead!

  65. Wow! Congratulations on your 100th post! I love Paris and hope to visit it soon. Chanel, love the brand. This was a great post to mark the big 100. Great going.

  66. just came across your blog for the first time :) love this post and ur post below on the kitsch style store! I visted Paris last week for the first time and loved it! i was over for the Pret a Porter fashion trade show.
    much love! xx

  67. love channel ! and the shop is great :D

  68. This was such a great post. I so regret not being able to make it to France among my many travels, and a huge part of me wanting to visit France, Paris, and more specifically Rue Cambon, was just to walk into that Chanel Boutique....Excellent way to showcase your 100th post!

  69. How absolutely gorgeous and iconic. Perhaps I should make a stop into Vancouver's Chanel boutique. Just because.

    Congratulations on your 100th post!

    * Kelsey

  70. congratulations on your 100th post! you're doing a phenomenal job! :)

    i imagine it would be an experience to shop at the place where coco herself worked. thank you for giving us a virtual tour!

  71. Loveeeee this post!!! I really really must go there :)

  72. love the first picture with chanel. i died right there :)
    lovess. xox

  73. I gave you award! Recieve it by heading over to my blog. Congratulations!


  74. I wish I could visit there right now! I've visited the Chanel store at the mall here and it looks really amazing! They really do take care of every little details and some of the dresses are just breathtaking! xxoxoxoxo

  75. OMG congrats on your 100th post...and what a way to celebrate! This is incredible...Chanel in Paris, does it get any better? I'm printing out this post, is that weird? It's seriously so amazing...

    London with you this week would be sooo fun! What are you doing?!

    I have internet back so I'm going kind of crazyyyy!!!


  76. oh, Chanel... so chic, so timeless.
    congrats on your 100th post, your blog is amazing and a great read, too!
    have a lovely day, darling, xoxo

  77. I cannot wait to visit the next time I am in Paris.. Aw how I adore Chanel!!

    And what a fantastic blog at that :)

  78. Happy 100th post. You are such a top-notch blogger & I am thrilled that I get the opportunity to look & learn through you. What a perfect tribute to your milestone is the blogging about Chanel. I have to admit, I still would be too intimidated to step foot inside a store. I just stand from a far & peer in like a child looking into a forbidden world, such as a candy shop. I have made a few purchases of accessories form ebay & that's it. A goal is to one day walk-in & make a purchase. I can dream the dream! All the best to you~

  79. That was amamzing! Thank you so much for your insight into the beautiful 31 Rue Cambon. I will definitely be using some of your writing for inspiration in my next short story collection for school. Chanel, like the rest said is beautiful and timeless. Thank you.

    a chanel-at-heart girl

  80. I love Chanel and I'm visiting it on 18th of July! i think the photos are awesome! I bet Paris and Chanel are brilliant!!!! lol!


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