Shopping…..isn’t that what everyone really wants to hear about? What did you buy? Were there any deals? My timing couldn’t have been more perfect, landing in Paris during the first week of summer sales or “soldes”, it wasn’t even planned, gotta love that! Everything you’ve read or heard is correct, Paris is the Mecca for shopping, it’s not for the timid. The selection of department stores, boutiques and merchandise are mind-boggling, enough to make a grown woman weep. Trust me, I was weeping at what I couldn’t buy if only I had the money.
It’s crazy to say, but I don’t think it’s possible (for me) to write about one favourite boutique or shop. I know fashion bloggers are experts at this, there are too many beautiful things, how does one pick a favourite? Truth be known, shopping is everywhere, literally! A point in case, my apartment which was near the Eiffel Tower, “rue Dominque” was around the corner from me, this being a quieter location, it had a locals vibe, no “Vuitton” here but there were a lot of small stores with tempting merchandise, strolling here daily was dangerous. A half-hour walk from my apartment to the “Champs Elysees” via “Ave Montaigne”, which has the largest selection of luxury brands, including the very posh “Plaza Athenee” hotel, (yes the same place I had that very expensive cocktail). There wasn’t anything affordable for me to purchase but lovely to browse. I would definitely stroll the “Champs Elysee” but pass on the shopping, this is not the place for one of a kind fashion finds. The “Arc de Triomphe” is worth the trip, I’m always surprised by how large it is, take a selfie and head toward “Place de la Concorde”. If you squint, you can see the “Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel” which sits in front of the Louvre, love how these monuments line up.
Plan your days wisely and decide which arrondissements you want to tackle first. For me, I chose the monuments or sites I wanted to visit that day, after my history fill, it’s time to explore the shops, like confetti, there doesn’t seem to be an end.
I loved the Marais, this area has really transformed over the years, Boho chic comes to mind. If you’re looking for something different by a new up and coming designer this would be the place. Very trendy and still home to a large Jewish community, you’ll find delicious food, which you absolutely must try, after all, it’s still considered shopping isn’t it?
Not satisfied yet? Are you looking for that high-end shopping experience? Head to rue Faubourg which turns into rue Saint Honore, you’ll find a quaint little department store called “Hermes”, expect to drop a lot of euros, it’s not cheap and you may need to sharpen your elbows to get service, it’s busy here! Don’t let that deter you, the French are very professional, they are happy to help, so many beautiful things, sigh…as I walk away from a 10,000 euro handbag.
Saint Germain de pres, j’dore, there’s a lot of areas to cover here, so yes, more walking but hey, its shopping walking and with so many restaurants you could end your day here and be quite satisfied with the many choices this neighbourhood has to offer. You must check out the recently renovated “Le Bon Marche”, don’t miss the delicious food hall next door, so many tempting goodies to pack home in your suitcase.
I cannot emphasis enough, give yourself time, use the metro, its your friend, super convenient and most of the stops are designed to be near some sort of tourist destination or shopping area…there is a method to their madness.
What if you only have one or two days? I would definitely recommend hitting one of the four larger department stores, simply because they are one-stop shopping and you’ll get a quick fix. Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, (they’re next door to each other, worth the visit if only to view the beautiful architecture), Le BHV Marais (think a hip Hudson’s Bay) and the newly renovated Le Bon Marche (no affiliation to the U.S. chain). These stores are on steroids and will satisfy your craving, every French and International designer are represented, selections are endless. Don’t waste your time on U.S. brands, they’re more expensive and duh…you’re in Paris!
A full day of shopping is never a dull day, shop until you drop, lose yourself in the streets, inhale the scents and the sites, Paris is exactly how you would imagine it to be. Think of all the fashion icons who have walked the same streets, they too were just as excited to see what was around the next corner.