Shopping was never something I enjoyed, but, as most guys like me, agree on certain things. One of them is you "Do what you have to do", and you act like you enjoy it!
Shopping in Paris can be exhausting due to the enormous crowds, lack of familiarity with stores, costs, not only of the products, but getting there and back, as well. I find Department Stores the most "Challenging", as thousands of tourists from all over the World are trying to buy that "Special item for others as well as for them". Let me start with,
There are two main ones, Printempts & Galleries Lafayette, both are a short walk from each other and both have a lot of similarities.
This photo does not do justice to the volume of people in Galleries Lafayette! Some departments actually have lines of people waiting to get into certain departments. These people are in line to buy Longchamp handbags! This is a nice store, but, this place is a "Stress Test", and I was "Flunking"!
The next day, our driver and The Concierge had a solution. At NO extra charge, you could use on of the English speaking "Store Guide", who will help you shop, and just as important, get you into a private room to apply for your "Tax Refund"! Tax refunds can save you plenty, but have to be done correctly at any store, if you fill the correct form out on purchases of over 175 Euro's, THAT DAY! You will then take that form to the point of your departure. (More on that later).
Both stores have these "Guides", here is,
Near the entrance to Galleries Lafayette, you will find this desk. One of the greeters will call a "Guide" for you!
Our "Guide" Camille, helped us pick out a nice gift! This was the way to shop. Saving time and money. She also took care of our "Tax Forms"
Camille actually carries your purchased goods to your car!
BTW, Gal. Laf. is very beautiful inside,
This is looking at the beautiful ceiling, above the cosmetic departments!
One thing I liked about both stores was their dining facilities. Printempts had a very nice casual cafe in their basement, and a formal dining area on the high floor.
This very clean and comfortable "Snack Bar" was a welcoming place to sit for awhile, have something to dine on or drink!
Now, before discussing "Botique Shopping", let me share a tip that will save you time and money! When departing from CDG, you may no longer have to "Wait in line" to get your "Tax Refund"! Look for the "Tax Refund Bar Code Reader", it looks like this!
Laurent, is a wonderful driver, as well as guide! I would never have known.
This is really a lot of fun in Paris, as the shopping areas are most interesting. A walk down Rue St. Honore, is wonderful for "Window Shopping" for designer items. Be prepared for real "Sticker Shock" on prices in that area. However, "Their are fascinating places to shop throughout Paris. Here are some favorites.
Jacamanda, is a wonderful place to buy inexpensive gifts and jewelry items. Small, but well stocked!
Wide variety of interesting items!
Paris is full of friendly staff members, like Jerome, who are "Multi-Lingual and helpful!
Some of the finest chocolate in Paris is made and sold here!
NO, those are NOT SHOES, but actually edible CHOCOLATE shoes! You will see many "Unique" displays in Paris!
If you have questions, stories or photo's to share as well, please do!
There is about a 20% VAT that is added to the items you purchase in France. If a person documents the purchase with the proper paperwork,(Must do it the day of purchase, on goods over 175 Euros), you will also need your passport as well, you can get that money back when you leave the country. So on a $1000 worth of goods you will get cash or your cc credited for the "Overpayment" you made. That is only when you leave the country for non-citizens!
Worth checking out and being prepared.