Did you know that the term “haute couture” is regulated by law in France? Only members of the exclusive Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture, who present their fashion collections twice annually, can actually use the term. Each article of clothing is made from scratch and is tailored specifically for the customer. The giants of fashion, Pierre Cardin, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior are just some of the designers belonging to this elite group.
Incredibly expensive, haute couture clothing is beyond the means of most. It is estimated that a mere 2,000 women globally actually purchase couture clothing, most definitely an exclusive group!
If a price tag of $20,000 to over $100,000 is a little too steep for a custom haute couture gown, perhaps a trip to one of the many fashion-shopping districts in Paris is in order. Parisians love to shop and the city is host to some of the most fabulous shopping experiences in the world. The idea of concentrated shopping districts originated in France with the many shopping arcades and grand magasins, or department stores, around the city, some in existence for hundreds of years. Shopping in Paris Video.
Visiting Paris’ historic department stores brings magnificent architecture and trend-setting fashion together for a unique shopping experience. Whether you arrive for the brightly decorated holiday season or at the height of the summer tourist season, the magnificent Printemps, La bone Marche, La Samaritaine and Les Galleries Lafayette offer shoppers the ultimate in chic Parisian clothing, perfumes, jewelry, fine cosmetics and trendy accessories.
Printemps has been offering French fashion to the discriminating buyer for almost 150 years. Wander this magnificent store sampling the finest the fashion world has to offer. Department after department presents a wide range of women’s fashions, from beachwear to grand ball gowns. Would you like to sit, relax and have a Parisian makeup session? Let the cosmetic experts show you how to rival Parisian beauties with the secret of makeup.
Don’t miss the fashion shows presented here each week. Free for groups of 14 or more and only 10 Euros for individuals, you can see the latest fashions presented in an intimate setting of the store’s private lounge. For a change of pace, be sure to catch one of the workshops where you can learn all about the intricacies of design embellishments like embroidery and sequins.
Le Bon Marche, the first department store to open in Paris has been compared to a cathedral in its opulence and grandeur. You can literally shop ’til you drop in this fabulously elegant store. Focusing on the fine arts as well as the preeminent fashion designers of Paris, Le Bon Marche is not only a shopper’s delight but a cultural experience as well.
Another architectural gem, the original Les Galleries Lafayette is one of the most visited stores in Paris. Consisting of three buildings, you’ll need an entire afternoon to explore its over 200,000 square feet of shopping space. A paradise for clothing shoppers, you’ll find men’s and women’s attire along with the finest in home decorations. Be sure to see its famous glass dome.
La Samaritaine is the fourth of the historic grand department stores of Paris. Like the others, it offers the finest in clothing along with beautiful historic architecture. Everything from books to athletic wear is available at this wonderful store.
All of the department stores have restaurants and cafes for a delightful meal of the best French cuisine to replenish your energy so you can resume your shopping expedition! Be sure to have a glass of the finest French wine. Treat yourself to the luxury of dining in one of Paris’ elegant department stores that epitomize the Parisian shopping experience.
If you are in the mood for bargains, look no further than the discount superstores of Paris. Widespread in the United States at the end of the 20th century, these giant discount stores were first developed in Paris in the 1930s to provide shoppers with astonishing variety of fashion items at discount prices. Monoprix and Tati are just two of the most popular and can be found throughout the city.
Bargains abound at the incredible La Vallee Village, a collection of 90 boutique outlet stores just outside Paris. Daily shuttles on the Cityrama Shopping Express take avid shoppers from the center of Paris to La Vallee Village. Busses also run from the Disney Park just five minutes from The Village. Stroll the open-air shopping center with tourists from around the globe along with French shoppers looking for the perfect bargain. Shops include the finest in the fashion world. You’ll find Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Armani and dozens of others in this unique shopping village.
Not sure where to start your shopping expedition? Let a personal shopper guide you, or take a shopping excursion designed to lead tourists to the ultimate fashion hotspots in Paris. Let your guide help you find stunning outfits, exciting accessories or daring fashions while they map out your shopping trip, helping you avoid any downtime lost in the maze of Paris shopping explorations. Take a daylong shopping tour to discover the best spots and revisit them again on your own!
After a frantic and exhausting, but oh so satisfying shopping holiday in Paris, why not slow down the pace a bit? Journey on a leisurely barge cruise along the incredible network of canals that crisscross France to discover the simpler delights of French villages and the fragrant countryside. Barge tours from The Barge Connection vary from self-drive tours, where you explore the canals and historic villages through which they pass at your own pace. No license required for the self-drive barge tours, you are at the helm as Captain and crew. Or cruise aboard a hotel barge and let the experienced and friendly crew pamper you with the finest cuisine, wines and guided excursions of the area. Barge cruising is the best way to finish a fantastic shopping extravaganza in Paris and you will come home looking fabulous and relaxed…you can’t beat that!