Wondering about the Paris equivalent of Target?
I did too, when I first moved there. The truth is this: Just like there’s no real equivalent to CVS in France, there’s no real equivalent of Target. Of course, they have plenty of amazing things we don’t have, like proper croissants and baguettes. But Targets — in the sense of humungous one-stop-shops for basically everything under the sense, including the latest Target X Random Designer collabs? Mais non.
I would say, though, that the closest you can get are the biggest of the Monoprixs. Monoprix is great, and Target-like in that they usually have a large range of clothes as well as a fairly comprehensive food selections — I mean, not Wegman’s-level, by any stretch of the imagination, but you’ll be able to find most everything you need food-wise there. Monoprix also hosts the occasional — and sometimes excellent — design collaboration, like with Maison Chateau Rouge. So in the sense that Target is a giant store that offers both food and (relatively inexpensive) clothing, Monoprix’s your answer. If you’re just looking for the widest possible selection of food, I would head to one of the larger Carrefours. I feel like most of the times I go to Target, I’m going for Cheez-Its and for that sort of shopping, I would head to my closest Carrefour.
One step up from Monoprix would be my beloved BHV, which is like a fancier Macy’s. (I love BHV. See here for a story of when things went wrong there.) They’re particularly great for arts and crafts, framing, books, and — in particular — their floor-wide hardware and cleaning department. Give their bedding department a miss; it’s absurdly expensive.
Of course, food and clothing aren’t the only reasons to go to Target! If, instead, you’re looking for the Paris equivalent of Target more for electronics, your best option in my opinion is Darty or FNAC — Darty if you’re looking for more of a household appliance (vacuum cleaner, toaster oven), FNAC if you’re looking for more of a … $500 pair of headphones, though they both have plenty of iPads, printers, etc. (One benefit of FNAC is that it also has books, though mostly in French.) One benefit of going to the mall at Les Halles is that they have both a Darty and a FNAC (as well as, like, a movie theater and a McDonald’s and a library and a pool), so if one doesn’t have what you want, the other’s right there.
For random household items, Paris is, thank God, now home to the first of the in-town IKEAS, which means you can get all the cheap bedding, can openers, and lamps you want without going all the way back to the airport (to the IKEA at Roissy). It’s great, even if it is often extremely crowded. I highly recommend using the live inventory tracker to see if what you want is available before heading out to Madeleine as things come and go fast. Once you’re there, I suggest grabbing lunch at the Pret across the street, as the on-site IKEA café is literally that — just a café, without meatballs! An outrage.
Finally: If you’re really just looking for the cheapest of the cheap, there is always Tati, a giant discount megastore in Barbès (near Montmartre, but not in the pretty part). Exceptionally cheap, with quality to match the prices — but it might be just the ticket if you’re not looking to invest. If you want a smaller version of this, try Gifi, which is owned by the same company and has cheap, random stuff, like pillows for €3 and fontaine à eau pour chats for €19.
And finally: If you’re looking for the cheapest of cheap luggage, I always head to Rayon d’Or, which has a good mix of nice-ish options (Delsey, Samsonite, Hershel), but also the very cheap. Personally, if I’ve overpacked, what I want is, like, an €18 nylon bag I can just throw all my stuff into. They’ll have it.