travel guide

Browse the wonderful Parisian boutiques and galleries

Clothes, of course is a must for shopping in Paris, from one of the great designers, if you can afford them. Paris hats are like no other hats anywhere. Lingerie, blouses, gloves, laces, china, Lalique glass, Daum crystals, Cognac and Champagne are all cheaper than at home. Much cheaper. Made-to-order girdles are wonderful. Perfumes are amazingly inexpensive, for there is no middleman. Prices are standard in all stores. Umbrellas are beautiful. Costume jewelry is low priced, too.

 If you want the very latest, don’t buy dresses anywhere but at top shops or couturiers. Fashions have a two-year patent in Paris. Shoes are not a good buy; they are apt not to be right for American feet. Furs are better at home. Hermes’ engagement and address book is a standard French gift for a man, and very swank. Bags are excellent in Paris. For men there are hand-rolled handkerchiefs, lisle socks, ties, wallets and fishing reels.

Paris is an excellent shopping centre for antiques, paintings, and old books. Unusual shops specialize in every  kind of food and drink. At some of the big department stores, such as the Galeries Lafayette, you can buy quite cheaply dresses based on recent Paris fashions. But generally clothes in Paris are more expensive and of less good quality than in London. For food, Paris is still unrivalled. There is an extraordinary range of restaurants, French regional and foreign, including Indonesian, Japanese, Creole, Dahomean , and even English.

Aux Trois Quartiers and Samaritaine de Luxe are two of the best department stores in Paris. There are also An Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, either one a Frenchman’s equivalent for Macy’s. For linens there is Grande Maison de Blanc. The shops on the Rue de la Paix are magnificent. The Rue Royale, Avenue Matignon, Faubourg St. Honore and its extensions across Rue Rayale, the Rue St. Honore have the smartest specialty shops. And now the big couturiers have opened what they call “boutiques” in which ready-to-wear merchandise and accessories are offered at far lower prices than in the custom salons.

The Bon Marche is on the left bank. Don’t miss the Marche aux Puces, the famous Flea Market of Paris, reached by Metro to the Porte of Clignancourt. It is open every Saturday through Monday.
The better shops and especially big stores (also hairdressers) are closed Mondays. Some shops close during August when many Parisians take their vacation.