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Shopping in France

The French have made shopping into an art form. Almost all larger cities and towns will have an extensive range of shops in their centers. Going around and browsing the items then stopping for a café to refresh your energies, is a major leisure activity here. France has strongly resisted the trends to consolidate all shops into town-edge malls, so you’ll still find lots of independent shops selling their bespoke wares. Open air markets are a joy, offering a huge variety of foodstuffs and crafts. Withlocals local tours will make sure you find out where those markets are and when. France isn’t the cheapest country to shop in but it isn’t just haute couture and designer brands either. Antiques are often a particularly good purchase by the cost standards of other European countries. Leather items can be good value and look out for metal ware – pewter, copper, brass and bronze items here are often beautifully designed and reasonably priced. Big-name labels, even the French ones, are expensive, just as they are everywhere but some unique and chic clothing is very reasonably priced. Wine is perhaps the best known souvenir from France and the good news is that it’s relatively cheap, including the major vintages!

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Top 10 Shopping Malls and Chains in France

  • Galleries Lafayette. You’ll find one of these in most of the larger French cities Paris, Nantes, Rennes, Le Mans, Lyons, Lille etc.
  • They carry extensive ranges of fashion, cosmetics and perfumes, smaller household goods and a food hall.
  • Le Printemps is another famous Paris department store. The Haussmann store has a beautiful listed glass dome making a meal in the bistro there after a bit of shopping of course just magical.
  • Beaugrenelle Mall in Paris is just a stone’s through from the Eiffel Tower and houses a dazzling array of top brand outlets as well as a wide selection of bars and restaurants.
  • Les Quatre Temps at La Defense in Paris is out of the city center but has an choice of shops and boutiques. Also open on Sunday.
  • Close to Disneyland Paris you’ll find La Vallee Village where you can find last year’s fashion at prices discounted by 33%.
  • Okadii is a chain specializing in children’s clothing at very affordable prices without sacrificing in any way on quality or style.
  • Petit Bateau supplies primarily in quality children’s underwear. Other clothes for both children and adults are also available.
  • Marionnaud is a perfume chain with outlets in many of the larger towns and offers a wide selection of fragrances and beauty products of women and men.
  • Comptoir des Cotonniers is a women’s fashion outlet offering chic styles and can be found in many of the larger towns.

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Top local Products in France

  • Chocolate. Good chocolate with a high cocoa content is a firm favorite and there are small select shops in many bigger towns.
  • Cheese. You’ll find specialist cheese shops in many towns though don’t discount the supermarkets. Many carry a wide selection of regional products.
  • Bread. All towns (unless they are very small) have at least one bakery (boulangerie). Bread is baked throughout the day as people expect freshness. Don’t be surprised to find a wider range of bread than there are cakes.
  • Designer clothing. Top designer brands have their own shops in many of the larger cities. Smaller boutiques will have a wider range of brands and prices.
  • Wine. Most towns of any size will have their own Cellier stocking a wide selection. Take their advice on what is best with which dishes and don’t expect to find an extensive range of wine from other countries.
  • Perfume. The major French brands have their own outlets in the larger cities but there are smaller chains and independent stores in most towns.