Good buys/shopping in Paris

Nov 5th, 1999, 08:03 AM
Posts: n/a
Good buys/shopping in Paris


1. Where can I purchase good buys in Paris to bring home for my family. Of course I am on a budget.

2. What's good to buy that's made in Paris/France as opposed to Made in China/Taiwan.

3. I friend wants me to purchase a leather briefcase. Where is the best place to get such an item.

4. I'd like to bring home some pastries and maybe some bread prior to my Noon Sunday flight home. Any places I can hit prior to going to Charles D Gaulle airport.

Your suggestions are most welcome.
Nov 5th, 1999, 08:41 AM
Posts: n/a
Hi Kim
Other than flea markets which I know nothing about, it's hard to find bargains in Paris.
You can get a good deal on French-made
perfumes, particularly if you buy enough
(1200 francs) at one time to save on the
VAT (tax). I know that sounds like a lot of cash for a person on a budget,
but if you're thinking ahead to
Christmas, or if some people will be paying you back for some of the perfume purchases, you can definitely save over retail prices in the US, if you are from the US.
A good place to shop for perfume is
Catherine,5-7 rue Castiglione near the
Intercontinental hotel. Resist the hard sell, but if you know what the items cost at home you'll find savings IF
you're buying that 1200 francs worth.

Monoprix and Prisunic stores(several locations) are like
Woolworth's used to be, except these have groceries in addition to toothpaste and inexpensive clothing and
housewares items. I also recall a store called Tati in the 6th, 140 rue de Rennes and other locations, if it's still around. Their stores are like some flea markets in that they are busy
and not well-organized, but you can find bargains in clothes and housewares.

You can also buy small gifts of oils,
tea, jams, biscuits, etc in otherwise expensive gourmet stores like
Fauchon and Hediard, both on
pl de la Madeleine.

Finally, I love museum gift shops.
You may find books, cards, refrigerator magnet versions of the Mona Lisa, even pretty paper napkins that are both very French and
very affordable.
I hope this helps.
Nov 5th, 1999, 09:31 AM
Posts: n/a
1) Magnets, key chains, snow globes can be bought at any souvenir shop; figure on about $4 or so apiece. In Musee d'Orsay's and the Louvre's gift shops are pretty prints, calendars, etc. that aren't "cheap", but are a few dollars. Monoprix is a store chain (like Target or Kmart) with all sorts of "french" stuff (like makeup) at good prices. For a nutso experience, go to Tati (cross between flea market and railway salvage) for very cheap scarves, pantyhose, etc. Also, the flea market at Vanves has good French junk; the bouquinistes have old French magazines, etc. for not too much money. You can buy souvenir tshirts 3 or 4 for 100ff, if the competition is stiff or from a street vendor. La Samaritaine dept. store is priced like JC Penney; check out their housewares for coffee cups/bowls, napkin rings, etc. Stationery/office supply stores have cool pens, folders, notebooks, etc. at regular prices.
2) Don't go by price to determine if it's French or foreign-made. French-made is oftentimes cheaper; it'll be clearly labelled "fabrique en France".
3) French leather briefcases aren't that much different than ours (it seems like the most upscale are Italian-made anyway); what ARE different are some of the alternative materials. If you're set on a leather one, then Bon Marche, Galeries Lafayette or Le Printemps will have luggage depts. I've seen leather stores (upscale) in the 7th and the 6th and the 8th - possibly the Marais also. I bet the 16th will have some VERY pricey shops. Just keep your eyes open.
4) Sunday morning, get up about 7 and just start walking. Neighborhood patisseries and boulangeries are open for Sunday morning breakfast, so take your pick. Don't try to carry the pastries in the box - take them out and pack in ZIPLOCK BAGS. Ditto the baguettes (you'll have to break it in halves or thirds).
5) Do NOT spend all your time and money on souvenirs; you'll regret it, especially the time part.
Nov 5th, 1999, 09:59 AM
Posts: n/a
I like shopping in the Carrousel du Louvre - - a lot of the places there have some connection to art - - besides posters and prints, I think that gifts of address books, journals, diaries, stationeries, note cards and mouse pads are usually well-received, come in all price ranges and you can almost always find some images on these items that will NOT be found at home.
Bread and pastries are so fragile and never the same when you get home. Many "terroir"-type foods (for example, cassoulet is as available as pork'n'beans are in the U.S.) are available in jars and or cans and make great and unique gifts. At any ordinary supermarket, you will find an assortment of brands and prices from "gourmet" to pedestrian. Don't forget that wines can be purchased cheaply - - again, at grocery stores or at "boutiques du vin". The latest information at the Wine Spectator website says that you can bring home a dozen bottles of wine (pack an extra, empty STRONG canvas duffle bag) lots of wine shops will give you a six-bottle packing carton - - that and some dirty clothes wrapped around will make your purchase arrive home safely. I have brought AT LEAST a dozen bottles home on each of the last three trips with no problem - - funny anecdote: on my last trip back, I had in an ordinary paper sack, some bread, some VERY pungent cheese, and an apple. In my bags were 13 bottles of wine. At PHL airport, the guy asked me to go over to the Dept. of Agriculture line - - I was sure that the cheese was probably evident to his trained nose; moreover, I had listed wine on the back of the customs form. I told the agent that I had these items of "my unfinished lunch" in the bag - - she took one look inside, said "we're going to have to take this apple from you" and then waved me on with no inspection of any of my packed luggage. I'm not sure I was actually in violation of ANY laws or non-compliant with any tax obligations (perhaps I owed Pennsylvania sales tax on the wine, according to some books I have read) - - but I thought it was funny that they took the apple!
Best wishes,
Nov 7th, 1999, 12:42 PM
Posts: n/a
I agree with all the suggestions you've received. However in addition to Catherine, you might want to go to Raoul and Curley's (yes, he's bald). They have more to see than Catherine. Not only do you get the VAT back, but Catherine and Raoul and Curley discount off department store prices. R&C I believe is located on the Avenue de l'Opera.
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