Shopping in Paris
Parisian ideal is elegant rather than funky. Trends may come and go,
but Paris is always at the forefront and there are few cities where you
can find so many top-quality designers. These include the - British
John Galliano at Dior, Beatles' offspring Stella McCartney at Chloe, -
the ever-controversial Jean-Paul Gaultier with his own store near
Bastille and Londoner Alexander McQueen at Givenchy, who recently
shocked his bosses by signing an 'own label' deal with their great
The exclusive designer shops are in the 8th,
enclosed in the golden triangle formed by the avenue des
Champs-Elysees, avenue Montaigne and rue François 1er and along the rue
de Faubourg St-Honore. A less rarefied, but typically Parisian shopping
experience, is to be had at the main department stores at the boulevard
Haussmann, 8th - Les Galeries Lafayette with its huge coloured dome and Au Printemps. The not-so-French Marks and Spencer is nearby. Metro Temple or Republique take the bargain shopper to the cheapest department store in the city, Tati, 13 place de la Republique, 11th. Cut-price designer gear can be snapped up at the Mouton à Cinq Pattes, 19 rue Gregoire de Tours. The sales sweep through Paris in January and July.
who enjoy intimate, friendly boutiques should head for the Marais
district of the 4th. The rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the gay quarter
sells designer kitsch, while the winding rue des Rosiers in the Jewish
quarter has plenty of young designers whose works are displayed at L'Eclaireur.
This area is at its busiest on Sunday, with many shops closed on
Saturday due to the Jewish sabbath. It is ideal for a quick falafel
snack while the best ice cream is for sale at Berthillon on the rue de St-Louis-en-L'Ile.
The Carrousel du Louvre,
under the glass pyramid in the Louvre courtyard, is a good place for
tasteful gifts but shoppers determined to take home plastic Eiffel
Towers should head for the rue de Rivoli, home to tourist kitsch. The
American-run Shakespeare & Co, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 5th,
has the city's widest selection of second-hand books in English. French
books are best purchased at the city's FNAC stores, one of which is at the shopping arcade, the Forum des Halles, 6th. Bouquinistes sell second-hand books along the Seine.
Expensive antiques are to be found at Le Louvre des Antiquaires, beside the Louvre on the place du Palais Royal. For bric-a-brac, there are the renowned flea markets (marches aux puces),
including the Porte de Montreuil, 20th, open Saturday, Sunday and
Monday 0700-1900 and St-Ouen/Porte de Clignancourt, 18th, open
Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 0730-1900. There are numerous morning
food markets in Paris and the Ile-de-la-Cite has one of the largest
flower markets in Paris.
Most shops are open Monday to Saturday
0900/1000-1900/2000 and close between 1200-1430 for lunch. Sales tax is
20.6%, standard rate, though varies widely between what are regarded as
essential items and luxury goods. Non-EU visitors can get a tax refund
on purchases of over FFr2000 in any one establishment by obtaining a
form at the relevant shop and presenting it to customs on departure.