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Leche-vitrine – licking the windows. Paris is a city where window shopping is part of the culture and shopkeepers know how to entice. Who doesn’t appreciate an artful window featuring things you did not know you needed. Just begin with bonjour and conclude with merci, au revoir and the rest will fall into place. From vintage shops, designer’s boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops to haute couture and mega stores, the city rewards shoppers with fashion finds and treasures. Books have been written about shopping in Paris and blogs on the same topic are updated daily. We at apartmentsinparis.com have assembled a few suggestions to focus shopping energies and serve as a starting point for you to make your own discoveries.
The Marais is one of the city’s best places to shop and stroll offering blocks of clever shops, boutiques, French-owned chains. Visiting Le Bon Marché is for many a shopping tradition. It is the city’s oldest and the ideal place to view the season’s current trends released by popular designers. Here’s a deal. Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps each offer 10 % off discount cards to non-resident foreign visitors. To get the benefit go to the welcome desk on the main floor at either store. For proof a passport or driver’s license is essential.
Shop Duty Free – T.V.A. The value added tax in France for consumer goods is about 19.6%. Non EU residents may reclaim part of the tax by following certain rules of which the most important are making a purchase of 175 euro in the same shop on the same day; stay less than three months in EU at time of purchase; have passport validated by customs within three months of purchase. Détaxe forms are available in most shops and large department stores have special détaxe desks to facilitate the process.
Store Hours Department stores usually are open longer than boutiques and small shops which often follow the 10 am to 7 pm rule. It is best to plan shopping adventures for Tuesday through Saturday because Sunday is an off day for everyone (except for a few places in Marais are) and Monday is often off as well.
Bon Marché – the chicest department store. No shopping trip to Paris is complete without popping into the Bon. Since 1852 it has set the pace for shoppers offering just about everything. It is sort of like the Bloomingdales of Paris complete with a marvelous gourmet grocery store. (24 rue de Sevres, 7e St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. Tel: 01 44 39 80 00 or http://www.lebonmarche.com/)
Dary’s – the best place for jewelry lovers. This stop demands time because the walls and populated with row after row of antique jewels from every era, modern secondhand jewelry, and drawers of vintage treasures. (362 rue St-Honoré, 1er, Louvre/Tuileries, Paris. Tel: 01 42 60 95 23)
Vintage Desir – revived fashion & styles. Located along a small street filled with Moroccan and Greek restaurants and bakeries, Vintage Desire is perhaps the best place for slightly used and vintage clothes. The selection is enticing; prices are reasonable; it's possible to negotiate if you buy a few items. (32 rue des Rosiers, Marais/Bastille, Paris. Tel : 01 40 27 04 98)
La Jolie Garde-Robe - a vintage delight. This shop a Parisian's well kept secret that channels the spirits of Belle du Jour and Holly Golightly in a choice collection of ready-to-wear and haute couture from the '50s to the '90s. (15, rue Commines M° Filles-du-Calvaire, Paris. Tel: 01 42 72 13 90)
Free 'P' Star - best for budget-savvy fashionistas. Amid the chaos there are plenty hip, treasures to be discovered that will not erode your budget. Two locations provide choices and rewards. (61 rue de la Verrerie, 4e, Paris. Tel: 01-42-78-00-75 or 8 rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4e, Paris. Tel: 01-42-76-03-72)
Marché d'Aligre – market to market. Every day except Mondays, this authentic Parisian market in the Bastille area displays tempting wares. Only open until 1 pm this is the place to begin a shopping adventure. Don't miss the covered hall and the luscious olive-oil boutique with its assortment of exceptional oils from top producers. (Rue d'Aligre, 12e, Bastille/Nation, Paris, 75012. metro Ledru-Rollin)
Rue Montorgueil Market – old-world charm and fresh food. This market in the Les Halles area is one of Paris’ oldest street markets, and remains one of the best places in the city to buy fresh fish and produce. The pedestrian-only Rue Montorgueil remains one of the most charming & authentic experiences in the city. Look for the delightful Pâtisserie Stohrer Paris’s oldest pastry shop serving sweet decadence. This is also the home of the oldest oyster counter in Paris. (51, rue Montorgueil, 1st arrondissement, Les Halles, Paris, 75001)
Red Wheelbarrow – the Anglophone bookstore. The name says it all. This shop is for book lovers. They have a lovely collection of special edition books as well as a wide selection of books for children & teens. (22 rue St. Paul, 4c, Marais, Paris. Tel: 01 48 04 75 08)
Sentou – fresh home ware designs. Be prepared to be inspired and tempted by avant-garde furniture, rugs, tableware and home accessories. (29 rue Francois Miron, 4 e Marais, Paris. Tel: o1 42 788 50 60 or 26 bd. Raspail, 7e, St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. Tel: 01 45 49 00 05)
Clignancourt – a.k.a. Marché aux Puces St-Ouen. This century-old labyrinth of antique shops and stalls spans over more than a square mile and offers plenty of opportunities to use serious bargaining skills. The market is only open Saturday to Monday during the day and no two weekends will ever be the same. Best advice - go early and stay alert. (Porte de Clignancourt at http://www.parispuces.com/)
Vanessa Bruno – showcasing feminine dressing. Bruno offers her followers clothing with a dash of whimsy. Separates offer not just gorgeous colors but also thoughtful proportions geared to sexy. Dresses are sophisticated and the shoes very tempting. Athé, the diffusion line, is extremely popular with budget minded. Several locations offer delightful choices. (Rue de Castiglione, 1er, Louvre/Tuileries, Paris. Tel: 01 42 61 44 60; 25 rue St-Suplice, 6e, Latin Quarter. Tel: 01 43 54 41 04; 100 rue Vieille du Temple, 3e, Marais. Tel: 01 42 77 19 41 or www.vanessabruno.com/en/)
Note: This information was accurate at time of posting but often shops change locations or owners. To alleviate stress please be sure to confirm details before planning your trip. Copyright 2012.