What type of Fashion Victim are you? Paris Shopping
Well, when it comes fashion shopping, much of the pleasure comes from feasting your eyes on lots of different designer styles, seeing what’s on sale and then narrowing your choices down to the best buys and what you can really afford. There’s so much to choose from in Paris and this calls for big decisions to be made – do I need the Prada bag more than some Jimmy Choo shoes, should I spend on more office suits or weekend wear, what about that gorgeous Bvlgari necklace that’s indelibly imprinted in my mind! Decisions, decisions, decisions … and the truth be told, most of us want everything!
If you have a few days in Paris, then obviously you don’t want to be buying the first thing that you come across as there’s sure to be many nicer choices further along the way. Also, if we were just to follow the Classique trail (refer previous Blog), then we may be missing out on some fabulous Trendy offerings. So, unless the item you see is a ‘one-off’ and an absolute steal, then it’s best to do a reconnaissance first. This is where the Metro system comes in handy.
Paris’ Metro system is very easy to use. There are 14 lines, all colour-coded and it’s the best means of getting you quickly and cheaply to the various shopping precints. Thanks to the availability of online maps, it is now so easy to find out where the streets are and how long it might take to walk or drive between shopping districts. However, if you’ve never been to Paris before and would prefer to be accompanied on your shopping expeditions, there are shopping tours that you can go on.
Avenue Montaigne, Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré and Avenue George V are the exclusive end of town and there are enough big names here to cause serious damage to your credit cards. If you’ve analysed yourself as a victim of the Classique category, then this is your paradise and you’ll certainly feel at home with the luxury shops in these streets. And, even if you don’t have the big bucks to splurge, it’s nice to walk along the wide pavements of these chestnut tree-lined streets and be seduced by the elegance, luxury and charm of the area. Looking is free, so why not! If you’d like to check out the boutiques, it’s advisable to dress appropriately. The French are very stylish dressers, especially at this end of town, so anyone daring to walk in with track shoes and daggy jeans will be looked down upon.
Next area to check out should certainly be Les Grands Magasins in Boulevard Haussmann. Here, upmarket department stores like Printemps Haussmann and Galeries Lafayette will keep you pretty busy with their floors of fine merchandise. The stores stock the international branded designer names as well as local and upcoming labels and you’ll have a greater price range to work with here. See our earlier article on Les Grands Magasins. Trendies will find their styles in these stores. The good thing about department stores is that you can browse at leisure and there’s usually not enough floor staff around, especially at sales time, so there’s no one tailing you around and pressuring you to buy. The department stores also have nice cafes where you can rest your tired feet and enjoy a nice glass of wine and cheese plate before you tackle the next leg of your reconnaissance. Boulevard Haussmann is a huge street and there are other trendy shops in this street so even if you’re finished with the department stores, there’s more to explore here.
What next after Les Grands Magasins? Well starting afresh the next day, I would head out to La Vallée Village, a “unique outlet shopping village” located about 30 minutes from the centre of Paris, and 5 minutes from the Disney Parks. Over 70 leading ready-to-wear, table ware and luxury labels offer items from their previous season’s collections with a minimum of 33% reduction off original recommended price, up to a maximum of 60%. La Vallée Village is currently offering up to 50% reduction on already greatly reduced prices so you could land some really good bargains here! You’ve already done two days of research in town and have a good idea of what’s available and prices so you’re set to make your purchases if you see things that you like here.
Set in a village-style open-air centre, La Vallée Village has a Welcome Centre, cafés, playground area, tax-free shopping, and free parking. You can get here by RER or hop on the Cityrama shuttles which come out here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. And, if you don’t feel like travelling back to Paris or you would like more time out here, there are several resorts in the area that you could stay at and maybe have a day out at Disneyland. I wonder what’s scarier, the big dipper or the big dent in your bank account!
The possibilities are endless and we haven’t even touched on people who look for Creative or the Bohemian look. Then there’s shopping for gifts and the food trail as well. I reckon that after a week scouring the above districts, you’d be pretty shopped out or at least your wallet would be. If anyone has any interesting Paris shopping experiences, tips or stories, I would love to hear from you.