Shopping in Paris is the ultimate experience for any shopaholic. From huge department stores like Printemps, the largest beauty department in the world, to tiny antique shops on the cobbled streets of Montmartre, there is something to delight every visitor and suit every budget.
Paris is considered the center of world fashion and haute couture, and has many designer boutiques and stores offering clothes, bags and shoes with that designer touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’. Wherever you go in Paris you will see local parisiennes immaculately turned out, looking chic and all done so effortlessly!
The most exclusive area to go shopping in Paris is along the chic Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. Fashion houses such as Cartier, Chanel and Christian Lacroix, are all in this area.
The Champs-Elysees also has a mix of high fashion and budget Paris shopping. Les Halles is an underground shopping center with over one hundred stores where budget knock-offs of Parisian chic fashion can be swooped on. Still on a bargain theme, the Paris flea markets offer a great choice of European antiques and the most dedicated buyers arrive at 5am to trawl the stalls! They can be found at St Ouen Flea Market, Porte de Vanves and Porte de Montreuil. Interestingly the word ‘Porte’ means gate and the flea markets traditionally were held at the city gates.
Shopping of a different nature can be found at Bon Marche, known as La Grande Epicerie de Paris, and the oldest department store in Paris. Delectable french cheese, cold meats, pates, fresh breads and patisseries tempt and tantalise. The store also sells books, fashion and jewellery.
Open air markets are still a trademark of Paris and sell everything from pets to postcards. They are usually only open in the mornings and never on Mondays.
Whatever you want to buy you will find it in Paris. Window shopping, store browsing and bargain hunting can all bring an added dimension to a visit to Paris. The very best months for shopping in Paris is early January and July during the traditional sales. The previous season’s excess stock is heavily discounted to make way for the new range of stock. Discounts of up to 50% are offered on fashion, bags, shoes and accessories.
If you spend a worthwhile amount of money in Paris on goods to take back home with you, request a ‘detaxe’ form from the vendor along with the receipt. A refund on the 18.6% sales tax which is levied is available to overseas visitors. Hand your form in to the ‘tax-free shopping’ desk at customs in the airport when departing to collect your tax refund.