Honestly, writing two big guides to the two Paris Chinatowns has been my dream for the whole semester I spent here and I am really happy I found time to do it. I understand that if you're going to Paris for a short vacation, you might not really sacrifice half a day to go and see Chinese shops, but for me, the Asian quartiers represent one of the friendliest places in Paris and I can always get what I need there for a good price. So if you're staying for a longer period of time in Paris or you're a local (I think I will have to translate this article to French TT__TT), I highly recommend you check these places out.
Belleville is the newer and much smaller Chinatown and it is mixed with other communities, mainly from the Maghreb region. It is also more nasty - if you're a girl, I really discourage you from wearing heels or short skirts or anything extravagant there, since the streets (especially Bd de Belleville) are filled with creepy guys whose only work during the day and evening is bothering women. Also, just to be on the safer side, if you're there alone, leave before the shops close. However, during the day, it's perfectly fine and safe. In the evening, you can see lots of prostitutes, so make sure you're not confused with them (especially if you're Asian). I heard this from my Chinese friend, she read about the Belleville girls on a Chinese expat website.
Anyways, on the brighter note, what are the most amazing things in Belleville?
Korean fashion store (yes, you read it right)
Trendy Asian clothes (you can get here lots of the things you seen on taobao or eBay)
Yummy chicken feet and other ready to eat Chinese food
K-pop in the stores
Where you should and should not go in Belleville:
Rue de Belleville has the Korean fashion store, tofu and RTE food, smaller supermarkets, bubble tea, hairdressers, cosmetics, odd stuff and 2 good clothing stores.
Rue du Faubourg has the majority of the cool Asian clothes shops.
Bd de la Villette - avoid - nothing interesting and has a high concentration of pervs
Bd de Belleville - has Paris Store and some more grocery stores
Has shoes and accessories for really cheap prices
Middle East products - dried fruit, pickles, spices, sweets. I have doubts about the hygienic conditions there, but it looks really yummy. Prices are not very low though.
53: Ivy beauty
A really cheap beauty salon when compared to the rest of Paris. Freakin' expensive when compared to Prague. I have no experience with their services, so I can't review, sorry. :/
It sells everything - eyelid tape, expensive lashes, calligraphy stuff, accessories, kitchenware...
Beautiful and stylish, but with prices comparable to Zara. Do not expect to find anything under 30 E, blouses are on average around 40 - 60 E, Dresses around 100 E, skirts 50 E, coats reaching over 150 - 200 E.
Right opposite E.via: Fashion Girls
Really expensive, even though some of the dresses are super cute - they cost around 80+ E >.<
Nest to E.via: some clothing store, maybe Glamour Girls?
Normally really expensive, but when you're lcky, the stuff gets as low as 5 - 10 E/piece. This dress cost me 10 E, it looks like it was much more, right?
And shorts I saw there another day but didn't buy
Centre Hong Kong
They sell tons of useless things, kitchenware, calligraphy stuff, Chinese clothes, sweets...
Not very cheap
Looks cheap, but I have not tried it personally.
Tang Freres Gourmet
A great place to get affordable lunch - we shared a menu for 8.5 E with Amel and we were really full.
That is a kinda strange gift for engagement O___o
Not very cheap.
There is also a really nice tofu store and store with ready to eat food, I recommend fried chicken wings and sour chicken feet (the feet may look... well, like chicken feet, but they're yummy and collagen-rich!)
Bd de la Villette
Paris Store supermarket
My favorite Asian supermarket chain in Paris. On average, I think they have cheaper things than Tang Freres, though sometimes Tang Freres have better meat (and cheap) and veggies, so it's best to check both. They also carry more Japanese and Korean products (or at least at times they do). The prices for other things are more or less the same. The special thing about this particular supermarket is that is has both Asian and French groceries.
Paris Store 2
Rue du Faubourg
This street has many little shops with great clothes - there's no point in picking a particular shop to show you, since they all have similar style (whatever is hot on Hong Kong eBay right now) - it is more on the Korean sexy star wave than cutesy Japanese things - so right now, expect leather patches, military style, furs, decorated collars and oversize sweaters. If you like an item but not the price, check other stores first, sometimes yo cna find the same thing (or a similar one) for lower price elsewhere. As for sizes, they tend to differ, sometimes you can find XXS (very tiny), very rarely XL or XXL, most oftne you cna expect the biggest one being L. I would say the sizes are comparable to European ones (the dress I got above was L and it is quite big on me (but nothing a belt could not fix, or actually I don't mind the loose fit), the leggings/jeggings you'll see below are S/M and S and the sweaters are all one size. But I heard some ladies in the trying cabin next door complain that L is like S and they were pretty mean to the shop girls (I could not figure out if they were joking or not, because they kept telling the poor girls that it's impossible not to have bigger sizes, that the sizes do not match (hello, you're in Chinatown buying Chinese clothes meant for Chinese girls, what do you expect?) and that they will not come there again or something O___o). Anyways, in my opinion the sizes fit more or less correctly.
Cute but weird-cut sweater
-> the one I bought in the end
5 E only, but the fit was not that nice - the bottom would need to be flared more.
Thick jeggings, 14 E (jeggings range from 12 to 25 E)
The jeggings and a blouse I got (12 E) - may Dublin help me reduce weight so that I can wear them without feeling ashamed.
Thick termo-leggings. They're really warm, comfortbale and you can't see underwear at all through them.
The sweater, 13 E and the leggings.