September 30, 2017

Paris Retail Therapy

Timing is Everything

Shopping – now there’s a topic that everyone truly wants to hear about! What did you buy? Were there any exceptional deals? My timing couldn’t have been more perfect, I landed in Paris at the beginning of the summer sales, or as they call them, ‘soldes’. I had no idea; you’ve got to love that! And let me tell you, all the hype is true: Paris is the ultimate shopping Mecca, not for the faint of heart. The array of department stores, boutiques, and goods is mind-boggling, enough to bring a grown woman to tears. Trust me, I was weeping over the items I couldn’t afford, wishing I had endless means to indulge.

How can I pick just one?

It feels almost impossible (for me, at least) to single out just one favorite boutique or shop. Fashion bloggers seem to have a knack for it, but with so many stunning options, how could anyone possibly choose? The truth is, shopping opportunities are everywhere, literally! I lived just around the corner from Rue Dominique, a charming, unassuming street teeming with shops and irresistible merchandise. It was a constant test of willpower not to indulge in something unnecessary whenever I took my daily stroll there. There was always something intriguing to admire.

Strolling the Champs Elysees

It’s about a half-hour jaunt from my apartment to the Champs Elysees via Ave Montaigne, which boasts the largest selection of luxury brands, including the ultra-posh Plaza Athenee hotel (yes, the same spot where I splurged on that pricey cocktail). While there wasn’t anything in my budget to purchase, window shopping was a treat in itself. I’d leisurely stroll down the Champs Elysees, though I’d skip the shopping there; it’s not exactly the place for unique fashion finds. But the Arc de Triomphe is a must-see, always impressing me with its grandeur. Snap a selfie and then make your way toward Place de la Concorde. If you squint just right, you can catch a glimpse of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, nestled before the Louvre. I adore how these iconic landmarks align perfectly.

Prioritizing Monuments and Shopping

When in Paris, it’s crucial to plan your days carefully and decide which arrondissements you want to visit first. I prioritize the monuments or sites I wish to see daily. After experiencing the rich history, it’s time to explore the endless array of shops.

I love the Marais, which has transformed over the years. Boho chic comes to mind. This will be the place if you’re looking for new and up-and-coming designers. Very trendy and still home to a Jewish community, you’ll find delicious food you must try. After all, it’s still considered shopping.

Not satisfied yet? Looking for more of a high-end shopping experience? Then definitely head to Rue Faubourg, which turns into Rue Saint Honore, and 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 staff are friendly and more than happy to assist you.

J’adore Saint-Germain-de-Prés. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so yes, it involves more walking, but hey, it’s shopping while walking. With so many restaurants, you could conclude your day here and be thoroughly satisfied with this neighbourhood’s numerous choices. You must check out the recently renovated Le Bon Marché. Don’t miss the enormous food hall next door; there are so many tempting goodies to take home in your suitcase.

I cannot emphasize enough: give yourself time and use the metro. It’s your friend, super convenient, and most stops are designed to be near some tourist destination or shopping area…there is a method to their madness.

Iconic Stores

What if you only have one or two days? I recommend visiting one of the four larger department stores because they offer a quick fix and one-stop shopping. These stores are Galleries Lafayette, Printemps (they are located next door to each other, and it’s worth the visit to admire the beautiful architecture), Le BHV Marais (similar to a hip Hudson’s Bay), and the newly renovated Le Bon Marché (no affiliation with the U.S. chain). These stores are like shopping on steroids and will undoubtedly satisfy your cravings. They showcase every French and international designer, and their selections are endless. Don’t waste your time on U.S. brands; they tend to be more expensive, and after all, you’re in Paris!

A full day of shopping is always an exciting adventure. Shop until you drop, immerse yourself in the streets, and savour the sights. Paris is just as enchanting as you would imagine it to be. Consider all the fashion icons who have strolled along these same streets. They, too, were filled with excitement, eagerly anticipating what lay around the next corner.


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