Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Paris: The Shopping-Part I

Even though I love to shop, I had only one major store I wanted to go to in Paris, and that was the Hermes flagship store at 24, rue Faubourg-St. Honore. Before we get to Hermes however, there were a few other places we hit that I enjoyed and stocked up at:

10 place Vendome

This store is another Parisian institution having been around for over 100 years. They are renowned for their ready to wear or made to measure shirts for men and women and have attired royalty and various heads of state; perhaps their most famous client was the Duke of Windsor. It is a must to own one of their dress shirts; better yet, to have them made to measure specifically for you. There are a total of seven floors at Charvet. We only made it to three. Definitely check out their mens' shirts and womens' floor. They are also well known for their pajamas and robes.

Petit Bateau
Yes, there are a few stores scattered here and there in the U.S. but the prices are a bit high for the cotton clothing, although they are of wonderful quality. It is less expensive in France, and it was at the Champs Elyssees location that I scored a major find, a lovely button-down terry robe for my daughter. DH had been obsessed with finding her one after realizing that she was outgrowing her hooded towel. Every store we went to in the mall, he would ask if they had robes for toddlers. Not surprisingly, the answer was always no. So when I saw a simple yet adorable robe with buttons instead of a sash, I was elated. I also went a bit crazy on the adorable bateau necked tops, camisoles, pajamas, and basic tee shirts. The aesthetic is so much more appealing than the bright pink, mini-Paris Hilton outfits one finds in the States.

Louis Vuitton
Okay, this place (the flagship on the Champs) was a zoo. Full of tourists elbowing their way to the front of the counter and vying for the attention of a team of staff that are severely outnumbered; it is also peppered with a team of security at the doors and throughout the store. We headed there in search of a few gifts. A very nice SA greeted us and as we pointed to bags behind the counter to try on, other customers watched the modeling session carefully. I think my mom must have sold at least three bags just by modeling her bag in front of a mirror. I watched a few tourists point to her bag when talking with their SAs. It was really amusing to watch. After we made our selections, our SA pulled them out for our inspection and we gave them a cursory lookover and said they looked fine. He looked relieved and when I asked him about it, he stated that some customers were really particular and really went over their bags with a fine-toothed comb. If anything, it is fun just to go in there and watch it all go down.

Gaspard de la Butte
near the Abbesses Metro stop

We found this store by accident. We were walking through Montmartre when we spied this tiny store as being open, a rarity on Labor Day in Paris. I am so glad we went in. The clothing was well-made and absolutely adorable for both women and children. It was like Marc Jacobs, Marni, and Liberty all rolled into one. Some floral cotton tops with patchwork, a mod 60s mercerized cotton coat, cropped jackets for toddlers, all just gorgeously crafted.

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