Specific Shopping Questions for Paris

May 10th, 2006, 11:59 PM
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Specific Shopping Questions for Paris

First of all -- I just want to thank those of you that responded to my apt. question a long time ago. I've been super busy w/ my 11 month old son and haven't had any spare time. Your comments were great.
So -- this post's questions are all shopping related. Before I fire them off let me give you some background info. My husband and I are headed to Paris next week with our son. It's a little reward vacation for me for losing all of my pregnancy weight (and there was a lot to lose!). The main focus of the trip will be shopping with some musuems and culture thrown in for good measure. Style wise, I lean toward classic with a trendy twist. I'm 25 and like to dress it, not too young and not too old. For chain stores I like Banana Republic, Anthropologie etc, for designers; Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton . . . Unless it's designer I like to keep my purchases under $200 for any one classic item and less for the super trendy stuff. Of course, outerwear and purses are more.
Anyway -- I'm utterly confused as to where to shop. I know that I want to hit Faubourg (sp?) for the high end stuff, like LV and Hermes and then Victor Hugo for the resale shops. I've been told that the Marais is the best for cutting edge designers and some real people stores and that the 5th and 6th have some great boutiques as well. However, with a baby (and a husband) with a limited attention span for shopping I can't afford to just wander through the arrondisements hoping to stumble on something amazing. If you have the names of any amazing boutiques or great streets with multiple shops -- that's what I need!
That was the call for general info -- now some specific questions.
What should I do with the stroller when I go into the stores? Do I leave it outside where it could get stolen or do I bring it inside and risk running into things?
I've heard that some stores prefer it if I ask to see the merchandise and some don't care -- how do I know which kind of store I am in?
If I've asked to see it -- do they just come and take it off the shelf or rack for me and hold it in front of my face?
Can I try clothes on? If I do am I obligated to purchase them?
How do I avoid hurting their feelings if they show something to me and I don't like it?
I hope all the shopping experts will be willing to share their knowledge with me. I love to shop but I don't want to offend anyone or be rude. We don't have a lot of shopping rules out here on the West Coast! Anyway, thank you all in advance for helping me. I worked hard to "earn"
BKP is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 12:00 AM
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I'm such a dope I apologize for premature posting. I really want this trip to be wonderful and I know your advice will definitely help me that possible.
BKP is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 01:50 AM
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To save time, I would recommend visiting the chain shops in the Forum des Halles -- which also has level "-1" devoted to new designers who are trying to make a name for themselves. But all of the Mango, Etam, Zara, Kookai, Morgan, etc., places are all grouped together in one place. Warning : the Forum can be a madhouse just about any afternoon and is totally unbearable on Saturday.
kerouac is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 02:22 AM
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Hi BK,

You might want to visit the Rue Bonaparte between the Seine and Place St. Sulpice in the 6th.

You can combine shopping with sight seeing.

Enter "rue Bonaparte" and "Paris" at www.pagesjaunes.fr for a list of all of the shops on the street. You can also see photos.

Along the way you will see:
Book stalls on the Seine.
The facade of the Louvre
Eglise St Germaine des Pres
Place Furstenburg
Les Deux Magots
Cafe Flor
A very good pharmacy
Ecole des Beaux Arts
Pierre Herme'
St. Sulpice

There are also some shops on Pl St. Sulpice.

The Luxembourg gardens are about 2 blks S of St Sulpice.

See www.mappy.com

Have a nice visit.

ira is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 02:35 AM
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I think you're most likely to find fashion shops in the Marais in the area between rue de Turenne and rue vieille du Temple, especially along the rue des Francs-Bourgeois and down some of the side streets towards rue des Rosiers (I remember one in an old horse-butcher's shop along rue Pavée or rue des Ecouffes, but it may have gone). I don't claim to know how cutting edge or worthwhile they are, but the area's interesting in itself, with various quirky boutiques of all kinds. I've some photos at www.patrickwallace.me.uk/france.htm (start from about picture 27).
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 02:36 AM
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I meant those shops that are in the Marais, not that there aren't any anywhere else!
PatrickLondon is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 02:57 AM
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Just an observation---while you may be focused right now on clothes, it's accessories that last (almost) forever. Those spectacular earings, necklaces, handbags etc. that will remind you of Paris every time you wear them.

You need a book

Some more ideas

I think the best plan is to leave the baby, stroller and husband in the park while you shop. You should also read this trip report


mclaurie is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:20 AM
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Re books: Born to Shop is probably a little old and middle of the road for you. I haven't read StyleCity, but I do like Born to Shop Paris. The one thing I wish it contained is a couple of " high-style shopping tour" lists for visitors to Paris. It's organised alphabetically by shop name (with some lists at the back).

Department stores like Bon Marché, Galaries Lafayette and Printemps have very good coverage of designers and labels. You can go one of these shops and find high-end designers as well as the equivalent of Banana Republic (or similar stores) represented in the department stores. They're open until about 7, except one night a week when they stay open until 9 or 10. Late opening nights vary from store to store, so you can visit Bon Marché in the evening one night, and Galeries Lafayette on another.

Most shops are closed on Sunday, except in the Marais and on parts of the Champs Elysees. I think the shops in the Carousel de Louvre (a decent, small shopping mall) are also open on Sunday, so you can combine shopping with a visit to the museum. Plan accordingly.

Some of my favourite labels and shops in Paris, which I think you also might like, are Tara Jarmon, agnes b and comptoir des cotonniers. I also like Gerard Darel for work clothes, although the line might be a bit stuffy for you. Furla (for leather purses etc) is a good value in Paris (even though it's Italian, I think). I also like La Bagagerie's private label purses. For lingerie (which you and your husband deserve), I like Darjeeling for moderately priced things. There's a nice shop on Rue Passy in the 16th, but there are probably more.

Make sure that when you walk into shops, that you catch a salesperson's eye right away and say politely "Bonjour madame/monsieur". If you just want to look around, you can reply to their question, "Je regarde, seulement, merci". When you leave, catch someone's eye again and say "Merci, madame/monsieur, au revoir". It is amazing how much better you will be treated in shops if you follow these courtesies.

By the way, Paris is great for buying reasonably priced children's clothing, too. My favourite place to shop for gifts for my friends in North America is the department store, BHV (Bazaar de l'Hotel de Ville), next to the Marais. I'm not impressed by its clothing for adults (very middle-of-the-road), but they've got a great selection of kids' stuff. And you can send your husband down to the extraordinary basement full of hardware, tools and other stuff to amuse himself while you shop on the kids' floor.
Kate_W is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:25 AM
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Marko is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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One of my favorite shops is A La Bonne Renommee in the Marais, 26, rue Vieille du Temple. I bought a winter jacket there 3 years ago during the Paris winter sales that I still get compliments from people on the street whenever I wear it. I've also bought an evening coat, blouses and other jackets there over the last few years. The clothes are somewhat classic style, but a little funky and fun -- often using fabric patchwork accents.
Sea_Marks is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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As someone else mentioned, DO NOT go to the department stores on Saturday. We made the mistake of trying to shop on a Saturday - this was mid-March (not exactly the high season and no big sales were going on)and the department stores were honestly more crowded than a US mall on the last Saturday before Christmas. I could not believe the mobs.
missypie is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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hax is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 07:21 AM
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zizz is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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I've bought things in small chain shops and the Department stores. Get your discount card at the Galleries Lafayette desk by showing your passport and you wil get 10% off (at least I did three years back. I bought a beautiful pair of trousers/skirt combo (too hard to describe) in Galleries Lafayette and get every pennys worth from them. They have seen more weddings and events than any other items of Clothing I own and I still get complimented on them as well as my mango coat at 10% off with a fake futr collar. Enjoy shopping!
SiobhanP is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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You are so lucky! Paris is great for shopping because for the same prices you'd pay at Banana Republic or JCrew for something cute but not great that you then see a hundred other people wearing, in Paris you can get some really cool unique clothes. I like the same stores you do and am about the same age. I have had great success shopping in Paris.

The Marais is fun. I found that most of the same boutiques are in the Marais and the St. Germain des Pres area. I love St. Germain so tend to go there. There are tons of shops around rue Bonaparte as someone suggested and all over the neighborhood. Just go in when you see a window you like and you might be surprised at how affordable the clothes are. There is one store that I really like but I am forgetting the name (two people's first names). It is a chain and has a lot of very colorful funky stuff with a store in the St. Germain area.

Maybe you can get your husband to play with the baby for an hour in the Luxembourg Jardin or sit with him by St. Suplice so you can do some serious shopping. It doesn't take long!

I second the vote for the department stores. Especially Galeries Lafayette which is set up like a bunch of small boutiques. I bought a whole bunch of stuff there and found that there was a lot of great styles in the Galeries Lafayette brand. Great collection of bags there too. I haven't had much luck with shoes because I am tall with very unfrench size 9.5 feet.

Le Bon Marche is good too and opens fairly early in the morning. I remember a last minute spastic shopping trip with my husband before we had to leave for the airport to go home during our last trip. In his frenzy he ended up buying purple espadrilles (seemed like a good idea at the time)!

Louis Vuitton, Hermes and the like are out of my budget and even if they weren't I can buy the same stuff here in Boston or NY so I'd rather spend precious shopping time in the smaller stores where I will actually buy something.
Sally30 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 08:29 AM
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katzen is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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~The selection in those expensive shops have a whole range of items not available in the Boston stores.
cigalechanta is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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I don't like shopping very much, and don't ever spend what you do on clothes, so don't have any favorite shops -- but there are some chic boutiques clustered around place des Victoires which is on the border of 1/2 and not far from the Jaredin du Palais Royal. There are also some designer shops around Eteinne Marcel more and more, but I think the best thing is just to go to a good dept store or maybe St Germain, as others suggest. I think some previous posts recommended a few specific places in the Marais for clothes, but I don't know them.

Given what you spend on clothes and style, I wouldn't think you'd like the Forum des Halles and those kind of shops are pretty cheap chain "designer" stuff; it is popular with teens. Zara isn't really very special, it's a chain sold all over, as well as Etam, etc. But Kookai and all those are in St Germain and some other shopping areas, anyway.

I just think given the amount of money you spend, you should invest in one of those shopping books that is more specific. As for the showing, not touching thing -- I don't shop in expensive boutiques, as I said, but I would assume you would be shown stuff in them. YOu certainly can touch things (and would wait forever if you expected personal service) in large dept. stores and chains like Zara. I think you can tell just by looking around, but if clothes are piled up a lot on various surfaces out in the open and on racks in the open, I think you can assume you can touch them. In Bon Marche, they may not even have a salesclerk anywhere near some of the displays (sometimes they are only at the register). They have dressing rooms in the dept. stores where you take stuff to try on, pretty normally.

One is never obligated to purchase anything just because you've tried it on, anywhere.
Christina is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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When my luggage was lost, I picked up a few inexpensive things to wear at the BHV. on Rue de Rivoli.
cigalechanta is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:46 PM
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I am overwhelmed. Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful responses. We leave on Monday and I have to admit the stress was getting me down. But now I am so excited. Last night I was close to tears when I posted this and this evening I'm close again, but for a much better reason! You guys are all amazing. Thanks
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