Shopping in France can be an almost mystical experience. Indeed the hushed boutiques of many designers have the ambiance of shrines. Each region has its own specialties but for the upmarket shopper, the two chic cities of Paris and Nice offer the greatest shopping possibilities. Though far apart in both distance and temperament, they still have much in common.
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Shopping In France
Few people give shopping the same energy, enthusiasm and thought as the French. Whether it’s a trip to the market for lunch ingredients or to an elegant boutique for a new evening gown, they give it their all. For you to truly enjoy the French shopping scene have to do the same.
France is home to a multitude of grand department stores, chain stores, small boutiques and flea markets. But a new concept in French shopping is the parapharmacie. It’s a mixture of chemist shop, health-care store, and beauty product vendor. Factory outlets are also becoming very popular selling off discounted items in boutique-like shops.
Shopping In Paris
It’s easy to spend all your time in Paris browsing at the boutiques and chain stores but for a real Paris shopping experience, you really have to head to the flea markets of which Paris has three. The former haven of gypsies and hustlers, Paris’s flea markets of Paris are visited by everyone in search of a bargain and a lucky find.
The flea market at Porte de Montreuil is one of the cheaper ones. It specialises in old garments, furniture and other household objects. Porte de Vanves flea market sells a bit of everything. The flea market at Saint-Ouen / Porte de Clignancourt is the most celebrated and is often just referred to as the Paris Flea Market. This is the best place to buy antiques. It’s location in a low-rent area so costs are low. Plus it’s a cash only business. This makes it a great place to pick up a bargain but you really need to know what you’re doing.
Flea markets are best visited in the morning when they’re quieter and have more goods available.
Shopping In Nice
Nice is a haven for the jet set and the well-heeled tourist, and the shops, boutiques and markets are ready to cater for them.
The heart of chic shopping in Nice is rue Paradis is a pedestrianised road running north-south linking Place Magenta with Avenue de Verdun. All the luxury designer and jewellery shops are located here making it a window shoppers’ paradise.
For a more relaxed outdoor shopping atmosphere head for the Cours Soleya market in the old town of Nice. This colourful pedestrian district is a favourite meeting place for locals. The streets are lined with stalls and terraced cafes and restaurants. Tuesday to Sunday sees the flower market and fruit and vegetable market, and there’s an antiques fair on Mondays. On summer evenings there’s a nightly arts and crafts market catering mainly for tourists.
Other markets worth visiting in Nice include the March? aux Fleurs flower market and March? ? la Brocante, the main flea market. Another flea market at place Robilante on the port opens from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.