On my trip to Paris earlier this year, I had three goals: drink, eat and shop.
Sightseeing was on the agenda too, of course, but what better way to see those sights than by stumbling across them on the walk over to a restaurant or, better, on a shopping spree?
The French capital is the birthplace of some of the world’s biggest designer brands, like Louis Vuitton and Coco Chanel. It’s the pinnacle of luxury and, as well as being the city of love and the city of light, Paris is undeniably the capital of fashion.
And, now that UK residents are able to shop tax-free in Europe since leaving the EU, it simply would have been rude not to.
But with so many shops to choose from, across 14 districts, it can be difficult to know where to look. These are the best places to shop in Paris.
Where to shop in Paris
My favourite day in Paris had to be the day we took the Metro to Bastille Market and wandered down, rotisserie chicken in hand, to Place des Vosges, the prettiest square in Paris, nestled in the middle of Le Marais.
Le Marais, also known as SoMa (South Marais) is Paris’ Jewish quarter, which means that it is the place to be on Sundays if you want hustle and bustle.
A historical district, Paris’ 4th arrondissement is brimming with distinctive and quirky boutiques, handmade jewellery stores and, best of all, an array of vintage stores and kilo sales.
Le Marais is the best place to go if you want to find something special and unique and experience French fashion at its finest.
Staying just round the corner of the Champs-Élysées, it would have been a crime not to wander around the shops.
Situated in Paris’ eighth arrondissement (and often referred to as the most beautiful avenue in the world), The Avenue de Champs-Élysées is home to the flagship stores of both Louis Vuitton and Dior.
But you’ll find more than luxury brands in this area, with Zara, Levis, Lacoste and Banana Republic also establishing their flagship stores on the avenue.
Not to mention, there are a number of brilliant eateries dotted along the street, like Ladurée (which, according to our tour guide, serves the best breakfast in Paris), Pierre Hermé for the best macarons in the world and, of course, the world’s most popular McDonald’s.
Nestled neatly in the Le Halles district in Paris’ 1st arrondissement, Rue Saint-Honoré oozes elegance and class.
The street is best known for luxury shopping and haute couture. It’s here you’ll find a number of chic stores, including the ornate flagship stores of Gucci, Yves Saint Lauren, Burberry, Givenchy and Balenciaga.
Just around the corner, on Rue Cambon, you’ll also find Maison Chanel, Coco Chanel’s first ever boutique.
Admittedly, we only passed through to visit & Other Stories, but Rue Saint-Honoré is the ideal place for window shopping and splashing that hard-earned cash.
How to shop tax-free in Paris:
Now that the UK is out of the European Union, Brits are able to shop tax-free all over Europe.
This means you can claim back up to 19% on items you buy abroad, so long as you bring them back to the UK within three months of purchasing them.
However, getting the tax back is a little bit of a process which often includes filling out a VAT form in store and declaring your goods at the airport, unless you use an app like Wevat.
Traditionally in France, you can claim up to 12% tax back on your items and you need to spend €100 per shop in order to qualify. However, using Wevat, you can claim back just over 13% and you only need to spend €100 in total throughout your whole trip.
The app itself is extremely simple and easy to use: simply add your details, including a picture of your passport and a selfie, before you head to the shops and ask for an invoice (facture in French) when you buy your goods, rather than a VAT form.
Uploading an image of your invoice to the Wevat app will then generate a barcode which you can scan at the Tax Refund kiosk at the airport, no paper forms necessary.
While we sadly weren’t able to use Wevat to its full potential because it is compatible with all Paris airports except from Paris Beauvais Airport (where RyanAir flies to), the initial setup of the app was easy enough and one user, Francis Kassatly, from London, told Metro.co.uk that the process itself was ‘painless’ and that he received his tax return the day after he got home.
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