February 26, 2013

Shopping in Paris

February 26, 2013 Photo of the day: "Shopping à Paris"

Thirty days from now, I will be on my way to Paris again! This time, I am taking a group of six 15-18 year old girls. We will be spending four days in Paris before taking the TGV to Avignon to tour Provence and the Côte d'Azur. Our 10-day tour will end in Nice and Monaco. This is a dream come true for my students, and I feel privileged to share the experience with them.  Last night, at our final meeting before the trip, I asked the girls what they would like to do during our first two free days in Paris before we meet the rest of our tour group. I suggested a boat cruise on the Seine, a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, an excursion to Versailles, and various cultural activities that are not included in their structured tour. Yet the overwhelming response was "We want to go shopping!" I'm not surprised! Imagine being a teenaged girl in this mecca of fashion and style. On previous trips, students have purchased prom dresses, outfits to be worn for senior pictures, hand bags, scarves, perfume, etc. The biggest complaint I have heard loud and clear is that there hasn't been enough time to shop. Well, ladies, this time prepare to shop 'til you drop!

Susan Swire Winkler's The Paris Shopping Companion is one of the most popular books in my classroom library. It includes detailed maps, tips, and ideas for shopping that fit anyone's budget. 

What are your favorite neighborhoods in Paris?

Do you prefer the posh Right Bank...

...or the trendy Left Bank?

I am sure that we will stroll along the Champs-Elysées and arcades of the Rue de Rivoli. We always visit the Hausmannian department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. I am ashamed to say that I have never been inside Le Bon Marché, Paris' oldest department store (definitely on my list). The girls might want to "faire la lèche-vitrines" ("lick the windows - window shop) in designer shops in the Faubourg St.-Honoré or the Place Vendôme. We might also visit the Marais or the Galerie Vivienne. If you have favorite neighborhoods or shops in Paris, we would love to hear your suggestions!