France Shopping Around, indeed shopping in France is a tourist adventure you won't easily forget

...france shopping around

Shopping in Paris and Shopping around France

You'll find an alphabetical list of some of the major Couturiers, Fashion Designers, Jewelers, Leather Goods [shoes et bags], Major Department Store retailers in Paris and around France [type of store is noted]. You'll even find the famous flea market where you may locate your 'treasure or trash' find of a lifetime.

...france shopping around

Paris fashion boutiques are plentiful and can be found on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore area and Avenue Montaigne in the 8th. Some of the noted Haute Couturiers and Designers boutiques are -- Hermes, Cartier, Chanel, Chaumet, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Chloe whose sites you can check out below. Other noted couturiers in the 16th are - Piaget, Yves Saint Laurent, Fauchon and Hediard are both on Place de la Madeleine. Leather goods such as shoes and handbags can be found on Rue du Cherche-Midi and rue de Grenelle in the 6th.
My France Tourist - French Fragrance Store

My France Tourist - French Clothing & French Shoes Store

...france shopping around

The Champs-Elysees has always been the favorite mile for 'Haute Couture' to shop on, but bistros and small glitzy boutiques have taken their place. The trend setting areas for high fashion are Rue Etienne Marcel and Place des Victoires that border on the 1st and 2nd arrondissements. For districts otherwise called arrondissements and their locations - click here for a Paris map.

...france shopping around

Please note that some department stores have a grocery store in their basements [for example -- Monoprix [owned by Galleries Lafayette] has general merchandise, clothing and grocery store all combined]. Please note that all stores may or may not be in all of the French regions, please check each region for local shopping.

...france shopping around

Store hours: generally are from 10:00 am until 7 or 8 pm Monday - Saturday. Grocers [or as noted stores like Monoprix] however may open earlier than that. Times may be different in France Regions, than they are in Paris. Please note: Many stores also keep similar hours to the banks, they will close for two hours for lunch, sometimes it's longer, and then sometimes they will stay open later at night. It's not rigid or standard hours, each shop owner does their own thing....france shopping around

Please remember that the French are more formal than we Americans. Upon entering a shop, the owner will great you with a bonjour madam, mademoiselle or monsieur. Be sure to return the greeting or initiate it with the owner. A simple ‘bonjour’ and then if you do not speak French at all, ask if she [he] speaks English. Do not touch merchandise in store displays, it is highly frowned upon, and please ask the owner or clerk for assistance by saying “s’il vous plait [see-voo-plait] and then what item you're looking for”.

...france shopping around

Banking hours:

9:00am - Noon, then 2:00 - 4:00 pm. You must know the banking hours if you're paying in cash and not with a credit card [carte de credite]. ATMs are best for currency conversion rates, and easy to access. Travelers checks are not accepted everywhere while shopping or even in a restaurant. Also, you'll find that Amex is not available in ATMs around France.

Shopping in Paris can be done on any budget. All the best designers have boutiques in Paris, and many are worth a visit just to breathe in the elegance or to get an idea of the latest styles before heading to a more affordable department store or flea market. Shopping in Paris is a serious affair, though. Don’t expect a friendly welcome if you are wearing shorts, sneakers,
or a printed t-shirt, don’t touch displays, and be sure to ask for
assistance with a polite “s’il vous plait.”...france shopping around

My France Tourist - French Fragrance Store

My France Tourist - French Clothing & French Shoes Store

TOP FIVE: SHOPPING...france shopping around

Maison Busqets at 21 Place Victor Hugo (00 33 5 61 21 46 22; has been enticing gourmands since 1919. The delicatessen sells wines, charcuterie, foie gras, cassoulet, amuse-gueules and a host of French oils and vinegars.

Cheeselovers should head to Xavier at 6 Place Victor Hugo (00 33 5 34 45 59 45). A native of the Jura, Xavier has brought his love of cheese to Toulouse and is happy to send his high-quality cheeses such as brie truffé, cantal "gouttieré" and reblochon, to the UK.

With over 115,000 students in Toulouse, the city is second only to Paris for second-hand bookshops. Ombres Blanches at 50 Rue Gambetta (00 33 5 34 45 53 33) is one of the best, covering most subjects.

For the best ice-creams and sorbets in Toulouse, visit one of Octave's three branches: 9 Place du Capitole, 11 Allées du Président Roosevelt and in the market at Place Victor Hugo.

For Maison Pillon chocolates head to 23 Rue Languedoc (00 33 5 61 55 03 08) of for their pastries try 2 Rue Ozenne (00 33 5 61 52 68 14). For the delicatessen, which also sells pastries, visit 2 Rue d'Austerlitz (00 33 5 61 22 96 51; Besides selling a host of pastries, macaroons, nougats, marron glacés, ice creams and caramels, this famous manufacturer produces a registered "speciality of France" - the boxed Pavé du Capitole made of orange praline and soft chocolate.

...france shopping around


When you're in France, don't buy supermarket cheese unless you absolutely have to. There's nothing wrong with the supermarkets, it's just that supermarket cheese isn't that different to the stuff you'd find at Sainsbury's or Tesco in the UK, although there's a bigger range. Instead, take a trip into town, and look for a busy cheese shop (fromagerie) which smells of cheese, but not overpoweringly so.

Buy the local cheese varieties. They'll be cheaper - for example when in the area, a huge piece of the creamy blue cheese Fourme d'Ambert cost 90p in 2001, and over here, it would have been about £2.50. Also, it will not have travelled, and the fromagerie staff will look after it well. There is a huge amount of local pride in France.

Many cheeses are unpasteurised in France. It's best to try not to consider this a problem unless it's for the children. The French eat the stuff all the time, and they're doing alright.

Buy four or five cheeses of different types, and take the advice of the staff. You need a variety of cheeses. Try one run-of-the mill mild cheese with a rind, a mild (doux) and a stronger (demi-sec) goat's cheese (chèvre), a strong non-blue, and a creamy blue cheese. This is pretty much a complete cheeseboard, and it's cheap enough to do. Eat the cheeses at room temperature - allow half an hour from the fridge. Don't wrap them in film, they'll sweat. Wrap them loosely in paper, then put them in an airtight container. They'll keep a while, but they'll get progressively runnier and stronger. Eat them with bread, not biscuits. When eating, work from mild to strong, the last should be the blue....france shopping around

Meat and Fish to Cook

Eat meat as you like to, but there is a lot to be gained from going to the market, and going for the stalls that look clean and are busy. It's best to leave the horsemeat from the boucherie chevaline alone; it's not great.

Cooked Meats and Savoury Items

The cooked meats and snacks are a very important part of French food. Go to the traiteur, a sort of delicatessen, and take their advice on what is good today. Buy the little pizzas, slices of cooked pork, and other goodies like quiches and taboulé (a bit like couscous), but beware - they're quite expensive, so don't go wild....france shopping around


Try to look for a pâtisserie that is both busy, and not attached to a baker. If all they sell is cakes, they should be good at them. In smaller towns, a combined shop will have to do - they can be exceptional. Buy fruit tarts (tartes aux fruits), they're good, and worth the money. Cakes are a special occasion food, and so they're not cheap.

Roast Chicken

The rôtisserie at the market will almost always be queuing, so get there early. Buy a free range (férmier) chicken. They're more expensive, but they are much more tender. Also, say 'yes' when the vendor asks if you want jus, or gravy. If you have change from 100F (which you should have), buy some potatoes as well. This is a good quick fix lunch, served with salad from the market. Also, if the paella that is sometimes offered is just ready, get that instead of the chicken. It's more special....france shopping around

Where to Buy


Don't judge a supermarket (supermarché)in France by its name, the quality of store even within one company can vary hugely. However, Shopi, Marché U and Super U are best avoided. Hyper U, Champion, E Leclerc, Auchan, Carrefour and Géant are usually good bets. Intermarché can be superb, but steer clear of the sister chain Ecomarché. Look for supermarkets in their own building, of decent size, and that are clean on the outside. Rusty warehouses are not a good sign. French supermarkets are better value than their British equivalents, but the insides are less pleasantly decorated. One notable exception is the bilingual E Leclerc in Saumur, Loire Valley. However, this store is very expensive to shop at. Some smaller supermarkets may make a fuss about British credit cards, don't let them take a card out of your sight, if necessary, show them how to use the card without reaching over the counter....france shopping around

Other Stores

Supermarkets aside, the newest, shiniest, cleanest-looking store or market stall isn't always the best. The only way to judge reliably is on how busy the stall is - and busy with locals, elderly people, and young children, not tourists.

A good stall at the market will always be well staffed and the staff will be helpful. Always try to speak French first because they'll be more helpful if you at least try. Small vendors of saucisson and cheese won't always be refrigerated - this is fine since cheese keeps anyway for a few hours and saucisson sec (cured pork sausage) will happily rest for months.

Also, if you're going to go to a town market, get there nice and early. This way you get the best choice, and while waiting may get cheaper prices, you'll be getting the worse end of the crop. If you arrive at midday, the market will be packing away, 8am to 10am is better, but if you can bear getting up earlier, you'll find some really nice treats....france shopping around

That's about all there is to it - food shopping in France is mostly common sense, and hopefully everything else is covered here. Remember that France isn't the ideal place to diet - but it's easier to eat healthily - the salad stuff and fruit is exceptional. Just be sure to wash all of the bugs of lettuces - the French don't spray these as thoroughly as other countries do, and care should be taken.

My France Tourist - French Fragrance Store

My France Tourist - French Clothing & French Shoes Store

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