I've saved the best for last; shopping. It's part of the culture here. Many of the world's finest designers are French and Paris is the mecca of Fashion Houses. People talk about the fabulous shopping in Paris, and now I know why. It's amazing - I've never seen anything like it!
Nowhere else in the world can you find solid blocks of couture like in Paris. They've got all the big flagships like: Dior, Chanel, Louis, Yves Saint Laurent ... and the most darling little boutiques. Even those who claim to hate shopping, can't resist at least a little bit of browsing.
Galleries Lafayette - 100,000 people walk through these doors every day (closed Sundays). One author wrote about how when she dreams of shopping, she’s often in Galleries Lafayette. This is a shopoholics haven with over 100 of boutiques under the same roof. 40 Blvd Haussmann
Rue de St. Honore du Fauborg - Think died and gone to heaven. This is what you imagine when you think of the shopping in Paris. I'm talking sick, sick fashion houses all along one gorgeously manicured windy street. And did I mention that July was sale season?
Avenue Montaigne - Most of Galleries Lafayette have it's own stores along this street. It's in a great location; by the Champs Elysees and near the chic hotels. It's definitely worth walking around. Dior is basically an entire avenue.
Champs Elysees - For this to be the most renown street in Paris, I wasn't impressed. It was very crowded and filled with all kinds of chain stores. Ever been to 34th street in NYC? It kind of reminded me of that. It does however house Europe's largest boutique, Louis Vuitton.
Colette - Again, this renown boutique did not live up to it’s standards for me. Perhaps it was the collection that it was carrying at the time, but the selection was sparse and the staff was rude. 2, rue Cambon
Bon Marche - Basically the Bloomingdales of Paris only a little bit edgier (think more like Barneys). I went and it was closed, but it was OK. The weather was too nice to be inside a department store. Wait, did I really just say that? 24 rue de Sevres
Diptyque - This upscale candle company is located in a great area. The prices at this store are also about 1/3rd less than in the US which makes these candles, great gifts. 34 Blvd Saint Germaine
So that was Paris. I went 8 years ago and did not have the same appreciation for it at all. I once thought the people to be snooty and rude, and the city to be old and hard to navigate. It’s strange how time can change your perspective. This trip was out of this world and I can’t wait to return. Vive la France