Of course, shopping in Paris is always associated with going to these huge department stores called les grands magasins, like the Galeries Lafayette or the Printemps…but then their prices can still be restrictive to those with US dollars. So one of the options for women would be to go the “designer depots” where designer clothes are sold at huge discounts. A good list can be found at http://gofrance.about.com/od/parisattractions/a/parisshopping_2.htm
But just be forewarned that shopping for good clothes in Paris is a serious matter and so when going into boutique stores, be sure you are not wearing shorts and sneakers…best to be cleaned up so that you will be entertained well (Remember Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”?)
And on Sundays, the stores are usually closed and so this would be the time to explore the more affordable flea markets like the Porte de Montreuil in the 20 ème Arrondissement and the Porte de Clignancourt in the 18ème.
Have fun in Paris…
To fit in like the locals say "bonjour" upon entering a shop or café; conversely, offer up an "au revoir, madames et messieurs" (o-vwah, madames ay mezzhyers) to everyone upon exit. Conversely, you could also say "Bonne Chance" (bun shance - "good luck"), "Bonne Journée (bun zhoornay - "good journey"). The latter two can score you lots of points.
You don't have to have a great accent or know a great deal of French but a few key phrases really will carry you a long way and add to your enjoyment of the city.
This will certainly warm the Parisians up to you because they'll feel you've made an effort to learn their culture. And why shouldn't you? :)
Photo: April 2003
Fondest memory: I was sitting in Le Vieux Bistro, a wonderful restaurant near Nôtre-Dame, seated to a wonderful French woman Suzanne. She & I carried on a conversation, she in her limited English, and I in my equally limited French. We talked about Paris, I showed her my itinerary, wrote down that I'm 1/8 French (at least) and she issued approval over certain restaurants (shook her head at Bofinger, I shook my head and inquired "no?" and then she said, "no, no, no, okay" – I wasn't sure if she'd eaten there and didn't like it maybe due to it's lax service or if she hadn't eaten there). I tried to peel the label from my wine bottle but Suzanne & Philippe decided I should just take the wine bottle. Suzanne told me Philippe, the server, was "connu"; I didn't know what that meant, so she enlisted the help of Philippe, who replied with a cryptic "Elvis Presley." I later found out it meant famous.
Why he's famous, I'll never know, but it was a fun conversation and for a moment I felt like a part of the Parisian clientele. A wonderful memory!
Of course, one of my ways to discover Paris was shopping. Don't laugh ! I mean buying things other than food and drinks.
Be it for clothes, for books.. and for shoes ! Thank God, I didn't know cosmetics at that time... except soaps and shampoos. I say "Thank God" because I think I developed from this first Paris experience my "shoe-addiction" (I was 10). Imagine the damage done on the bank account if I knew about cosmetics at that time... Shoe addiction is enough!
Reading my shopping tips, you'll notice I've developed an interest in make-up products... but later. Far later than this first acquaintance with Paris.
It was mainly Boulevard Haussman area: Galeries Lafayette, late Marks & Spencer (I knew the food section for my Mum buying there Genoa cake: with fruits confits). Then BHV (for DIY section)... not my type of thing. :)
Then FNAC.. fabulous FNAC, for books and comic strips.
Elsewhere, some small shops in 14e arrondissement... shoes, clothes. The closest to my home then was on Rue Alésia. And fabrics shops in St-Pierre area (Montmartre)... and Gibert Jeune shop on Boul Mich (they had the cahiers I wanted so much :))).
Fondest memory: All of the shops had (still have) a common point: they all smell good. Indeed, I have a memory of walking in the streets and smelling some perfumes, home fragrances escaping from the shops. I could literally hop from a fragrant territory to another while walking in those streets. Even drugstores smell good there. I think that confirmed the reputation of French people (at least Parisians) as perfume users. Perfume is everywhere: home, on persons, in shops, in streets...
Compared to Belgium, where shops are clean and that's all, that's a difference.
Compared to shops in Tana, that was even a contrast.
[Side notice: Later on, I discovered that they spray newly launched perfumes (One year in the 90s, I could smell intoxicating Christian Lacroix' s "C'est la vie !" everywhere)... I also learnt during a traineeship in The Body Shop outlets how to promote home fragrance by engraming it in visitors brains: pour some drops in hot water and splash it on the ground and pavement in front of your door. ;-)]
Speaking of shoes.. I remember one night sleeping with my new brand shoes on my pillow. That was because I had a crunch on them in the shop... then I wanted to have them in my sight when I woke up... Still remember of them: brown and black.. The second night I had them, because I felt myself ridiculous, I laid them at the foot of my bed.. but then, I woke up many times in the middle of the night to see them. Of course, it took me days to decide to wear them... :)
I remembered it.. and my parents did too. One of vivid memories of shopping in Paris...
When in Paris I strongly suggest buying a bunch of lilacs or whatever flowers you like from a street flower vendor. It's very inexpensive & it just seems so Parisian!
Fondest memory: I was going back to the hotel after my all-day jaunt in Montmartre and was passing into Métro Lamarck-Caulaincourt (the same station in Amélie where she dropped off the blind man). It was the end of the day & he was hawking his lilac bunches. He looked tired, I took pity & bought a bunch. I'm so glad I did because when I returned to the hotel, borrowed a vase & placed them on the table that wonderful lilac scent filled the room & brought me so much joy. It just seemed so French!
Photo: November 2007
The Rue de la Paix (Peace street) is the most expensive street in the Paris version of the Monopoly game. It connects the Paris Garnier Opera to the 17th century Place Vendome where the famous Ritz hotel is located (have a look below at the picture of Rue de La Paix. Click on it to have it full size).
The Rue de la Paix is above all famous for its very fashionable jewelleries like the world famous Cartier (look at the marvelous ring opposite) and fashion stores. In Rue de la Paix, you will find jewelleries like Cartier (13), the modern and very good Poiray (1), Boucheron and Van Cleef and Arpels (near-by Place Vendome).
Fondest memory: Tati Or (19), a newcomer, is selling nice jewels at incredibly low prices.
You also find the classical Alfred Dunhill of London (15), the table arts of Christofle (24), the cristal of Daum (4). Charvet (Place Vendome) sells shirts in 6000 fabrics and a few ten thousands beautiful ties. Comptoir Sud Pacifique (17) sells clothes in the Turquoise color of Tahiti.
The Rue de la Paix is near-by the Opera metro station.
Favorite thing: Buy the guide 'Paris pas cher'. It lists just about any type of business in Paris and roughly translated means Paris on the cheap. My french isn't all that but with a little dictionary you can find anything from restaurants to second hand shops. I think it is published once a year and is used by Parisiens and tourist alike.
Si vous avez beaucoup d'argent à dépenser, ou si vous avez simplement envie de rêver ("Ah si j'étais riche ... !" - penser que l'on est milliardaire ou star...), vous ne devez pas manquer d'aller à la galerie des Champs Elysées, sur le côté droit lorsque vous allez de la Place de la Concorde, vers l'Étoile.
Cette galerie commerciale, regroupe des boutiques dites "de luxe", plus spécialement orientés vers les touristes. Les véritables boutiques de luxe sont plus dans le XVIème arrondissement de Paris. Vous trouverez là beaucoup de souvenirs, de grandes marques, des foulards et des accessoires...
Fondest memory: If you have a lot of money to spend, or if you want merely to dream (" Ah if I was rich...!" - to think that one is multimillionaire or star...), you must not fail to go to the gallery of the Champs Elysée avenue, on the right side when you go from the Place de la Concorde, toward the etoile Place.
This commercial gallery, regroup some boutiques say " luxury ", more especially oriented toward the tourists. The real boutiques of luxury are more in the XVIth precinct of Paris. You will find there a lot of memories, of big marks, the scarfs and accessories...
Go to the little shops shattered all over the town.
You can really find exclusive things. You know: those which keep amazing people and makes them wonder where it comes from.
Fondest memory: The smell of fresh croissants in the morning.
Favorite thing: I have never had a bad experience at a pharmacy in Paris. The pharmacists go through a rigorous training so they are very knowledgeable and for the most part extremely helpful. Even though it was obvious that I was a tourist and didn't know the local brands, they didn't try to sell me extra things I didn't need. At most pharmacies, you can get anything you want for the body, including things you wouldn't expect like toothbrushes, diet/fiber crackers, comfort shoes, and pantyhose. Just look for the big green cross- they're all over, even in the malls
Just wandering the streets on a Sunday morning or visiting the Markets.
Stopping at a cafe for a coffee and Croque Monsieur soaking up the ambiance.
Fondest memory: The thing I miss most about Paris are the wonderful patisseries that can be found there.
Fondest memory: So, in Paris, everyday the Parisians buy a baguette when they go home after work. It's so chic. So I decided to do it too, and be Parisian. And me and my dad enjoyed a nice baguette with beurre (butta). And we were chic. To get a baguette, all you have to do it go to a boulangerie (bakery) and say, 'une baguette, s'il vous plait.' And they will give you one. I think they're about 7 francs (but they're on euros now, argh). But be sure to say 'bonjour' first. Or 'bon soir,' depending on the time of day.
Favorite thing: check out Rue Mouffetard. Full of great cheese shops and butchers, lots of little pubs and cafes. Since it's near Paris University, it's usually hopping with students. Great little strip off the tourist-tread path.
if less than a week monday to sunday, get the carnet of 10 tickets and get the one from the airport RER B check site for price updates.
will tell you more
for 3 days no, stay with the carnet
Versailles is zone 4 you need to check the site for updates as prices now change twice a year.
just read this site in English its the ile de France transport site
tell all ::)
shopping is good all over Paris, Versailles even cheaper. Go to H&M, Camaieu,C&A, Esprit,new look,promod,1.2.3,Etam,Pimky,mango,and my boys girls do it a lot at Jennyfer (http://www.jennyfer.com/)
then you have the malls at Italie2 and Bercy2 inside Paris and Parly II at Versailles (Le Chesnay).
you can use google to find the rest of the names.
and the great stores on bd Haussmann
Fondest memory: shopping at different stores all over the city
wine is at the fabric of French life, everywhere you go there is wine, we give it as gifts on important dates and good wines thus, we share at work, at the local bar, or invite friends over for an apero or drink before meail or to watch a football/soccer or rugby game, wine is everywhere.
Paris is the focus point of important events every year. I have the event at the peniche boat maxim's (Pierre Cardin) elsewhere on my tips, but , I do over the year participate in the independant vignerons events and the extravaganza at the Bourse with the Revue du vins de France.
The Salon revue du vins de France is every year at the palais de Brogniart or bourse, and it is in may or june, you need to check the times at the magazine site here where I have the previous one this year
The salon des vins de vignerons independant or independant wine growers fair is all over France, but next month in Paris by the Porte de Versailles expo, where I will be. This is the site in French
Both are memorable events to get to know the winemakers and growers face to face,taste their labor of love, and discuss the wine, the wines or the industry in general first hand. These contacts over the years have allowed me to then visit their caves or domaines or chateaux, and get a first hand experience many times just for my family alone with tops wines offered for free.
Another is O Chateau, this one is organise wine tastings, and Champagne cruise trips from Paris, its very popular nowdays and many uses in the city, see all about it here www.o-chateau.com
In your next trip to Paris or elsewhere in France I encourage to attend these events if you are into wines is a must, if you are not, I am sure once get a taste it will bite you like Paris does to all of us.
Cheers and Salut
Fondest memory: meeting the winegrowers talking to them enjoy their labor of love, visit their properties and make friends for life all for the love of winemaking and tasting.
some personal photos to share of previous editions.
Favorite thing: There are many shops like this one next to Pompidou's center and they are definitely worth a visit...