France offers you an enormous choice of goods, but the quintessential French purchase is clothing, especially designer fashions. If you’re on a budget, window shop at the great fashion houses to get a feel of what you want. Then head for the markets and budget shops to do your actual shopping.
Shopping In Paris
Paris is divided into quarters or arrondissements, each with its own shopping opportunities. Marais is the place for elegance, St-Germain for international fashion brands and Montmartre is dripping with romance.
Paris is of course home to the large French department stores, les grands magasins such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and you can spend whole days browsing them. But the sheer joy of shopping in Paris comes from visiting the galleries or passages, the 19th-century glass-roofed shopping arcades that just ooze charm and transform rainy days into shopping adventures.
Bear in mind that most stores in Paris close on Sundays which gives you the opportunity to explore one of the citys many flea markets.
Shopping In Bordeaux
Few people outside Europe realise what a shopper’s paradise Bordeaux truly is. There are some of the world’s most popular brand names on parade here: Cartier, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Mont Blanc, Christian Lacroix, Rolex and Tartine et Chocolat.
The pinnacle of shopping in Bordeaux is the Golden Triangle of the Allées de Tourny, the Cours de l’Intendance and the Cours Clemenceau. This triangle contains the Place des Grands-Hommes, home to the city’s most prestigious shops vending everything from foodstuffs the latest fashions.
You don’t have to shell out your last dollar on upscale designer shops, however. There are plenty of cheaper French chain stores here for you to choose from along with countless locally-owned boutiques where you can get something special at a reasonable price.
And of course don’t forget the wine. The whole Bordeaux region offer their local vintages for sale by the case and at very favorable prices.