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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