Galeries Lafayette, Nice
The famous Galeries Fayayette but seems things are less expensive thant GL in Paris. You will find almost everything for gifts and your own use.
What to buy: women and men clothes. Gifts
What to pay: As much as you can afford but things are not too cheap but not too expensive, either.
There are two versions in Galeries Lafayette in Nice, one positioned centrally in Avenue Jean Medicin adjacent to Place Massena and the other, a modern building in the out of town Cap 3000 the other side of the Var river near the airport.
The stores are part of a national chain, the most famous and architecturally manificent being in Boulevard Haussman in Paris. My comments apply to all three of these that I have visited.
Typical of British department stores but with a French flavour these stores offer a bewildering range of top quality goods and designer clothes.
The staff are surly and unhelpful when you can find one, and when a purchase is decided upon they are reluctant to take the money.
The store in Nice is like a doughnut so that the shopper walks round in a large circle, the elevators, escalators and offices being in the middle. Around each floor there are three or four cash desks, of which only one seems to be ever open.
What to buy: Only those items unavailable anywhere else.
The French love their gift wrapping and the cheapest of items is invariably dressed up like a dogs dinner on request leading to long slow queues. These queues are a social event with the teller seeming to know every customer and having at least three months gossip to catch up on.
At the end of the wrapping and chatting transaction the customers seem to be surprised that payment has to be made and the search for the cheque-book begins. Yes - a cheque!
It seems that the cheque is the preferred method of payment and involves a ritual search for it, followed by a further search for identity documents. The cheque is written out, but not handed over until the counterfoil has been filled in and the new balance calculated. Once the teller has the cheque and documents, the next stage is to call another member of staff to verify the documents. At this stage two or three other staff turn up out of nowhere and an animated discussion takes place between all three or four people plus the customer, who instead of looking like someone whose status was in doubt (as I would,) smiles and chats in a relaxed way for the next 5 minutes.
After all is settled and and further pleasantries exchanged the next customer goes through the same ritual, the other staff disappearing as mysteriously as they appeared.
When I arrive at the till I wave away the offer of wrapping, key in my Carte Bleue number and hot-foot it away in 60 seconds flat - always assuming that I have not picked up an item without a barcode, in which case a search of the whole floor has to be done to find a coded one.
Always check there is a barcode!
-Or go to Carrefour - but that is another story!
What to pay: More than everywhere else.
The prices are incredible and presumably they have a squad of spies checking prices in other shops to make sure that nowhere is more expensive - the opposite of the British stores approach (except Harrods and Harvey Nicholls).
The Galeries Lafayette is situated in the middle of Nice in a large square. There are several huge floors of food, clothes, perfume and cosmetics and bags/accessories. You can buy anything from designer labels to fashion accessories, so there's something for everyone. They had a huge beach section when I visited (bikinis and swimsuit, summerdresses, bags) and the decorations in the windows were also very cool. In the lower levels you'll find a supermarket as well. The also had a huge section with lots of lovely lingerie!
What to buy: Anything you don't have at home! I found some really pretty summerdresses and party bags. They also had cosmetic brands and perfumes I'd never seen before, so that was nice (I'm a perfume-addict)!
What to pay: There are cheap items and designer brands, so no matter the budget it's something for everyone.
What to buy: The Galleries Lafayette are located in Place Massena in a beautiful red building. Once inside you can find the usual department stores with clothes, perfumes and stuff to spend money on. Usually some of the tourists indulge in entering the department stores in places they visit like they can't buy the same things at home :) Just the pleasure to buy in Nice :)
The Galeries Lafayette at Cap 3000, just a stone's throw from the airport, has a wonderful gourmet food section. There are several nice places to eat within the store, including a seafood shop, a tapas bar, a fresh pasta bar, and several others. We've found service to be friendly.
Grand department store on the Ave Jean Medecin.
What to buy: I particularly like the top floor, the household section with expensive kitchen and house things. I also love their photo frames.
What to pay: You can probably expect to pay over the odds. Have also had an assistant try to double charge me once!
French chain department store that is different at every location.
What to buy: I bought extra swimwear and sandals because one bathing suit wasn't enough and those flat rocks on the beach get hot.
What to pay: Fortunately for me, it was a reasonable price.