“Vive le Shopping”
This itinerary may be reserved as a private departure with a date of your choosing.
Paris is a treasure-trove of bargains for those in the know. A privileged few will follow me, along with our local expert, Antoinette, into the inner workings of the Parisian shopping world. Our experiences will range from artisan ateliers, to outdoor markets, to high fashion boutiques, to 200- year old shopping malls, to a two-year old outlet village. We will be immersed in the history of time and place, and regaled with stories of a bygone age while we dip into a modern Pandora’s box of endless baubles, antiques, and even junk. We dine every day like the locals only wish they could – mostly casual, but sometimes quite fine – and always delicious.
Today’s Paris is ready to welcome you to its present, as well as into its past. Her shopping underworld awaits your visit. I hope that you will join me in this very buisness-like exercise in excess and indulgence.
Upon arrival into Paris on Saturday, we are met and taken to our lovely hotel on the Left Bank. After a brief respite to settle we officially start our trip with a champagne lunch in the heart of bustling St Germain des Pres followed by a two-hour relaxing, easygoing tour with van and driver of some of the Paris highlights which we won’t be exploring on foot: Sacre Coeur, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Invalides, Arc de Triomphe. We will return to the hotel by 5:00 p.m. for those who want to call it a day. For those who don’t, we will have a little cocktail party in the hotel lounge prior to either retiring or continuing on for an optional evening out.
Sunday is market day: Clignancourt Market that is. Clignancout has about 2,500 stalls, most of which are quite interesting and distinctive. Specialties include: antique posters, postcards, clothing, jewelry, china dolls, beads, toy cars, Art Deco lamps, along with an array of bric-a-brac, old kitchen pots, rustic dressers and tables, vintage Lalique, chandeliers, and Napoleon III furniture. Indeed, something for everyone. Bring cash to barter with. We also have a very reliable shipping agent who will send home our purchases so you may throw caution to the winds. After our day at the market, you will have a few hours to rest and recoup, or to celebrate your finds in the hotel’s cozy bar, before we meet again for dinner.
Monday is “mall” day and we visit Le Vallee. It is like a provincial market town where the shops are little maisonettes lining both sides of the street. These are all high quality, designer or top-of-the-range street brands – more upmarket than the outlet malls with which we are all familiar. Prices run between 33% and 60% below retail. We will break for lunch – something light like salads and pastries. Squeeze in a bit more shopping after lunch before we head back into town. If you are energetic we will have some additional surprise shopping possibilities in store.
On Tuesday we go back in time through the arcades of thePalais Royal. Housing cafés, theatres, shops and apartments, the arcades of Palais Royal during the 17th century became a meeting place for people from all walks of life. But what was hidden behind those facades? The cafes saw pre-revolutionary plotting and the Palais Royal became known as a hotbed of gambling dens and prostitution. Today the gardens are one of Paris’ most elegant and tranquil spots. Many shops under the arcades sell prints, antiques, clothes, home décor and many more beautiful boutiques still maintain their old world ambience. This walk takes us through tiny streets leading to the charming glass-roofed galleries and enchanting passages that weave their way through Paris’ boulevards. Lunch will be on an exhilarating open air market street along our route. After lunch we continue our walk to shop, followed by a brief break before dinner at one of the city’s most beautiful brasseries.
On Wednesday we begin our explorations with the ancient abbey of St. Germain, moving on to art galleries, fabulous home décor shops, literary cafes (the post-war “intellectual” hangouts and the birthplace of existentialism), the famous Beaux Art, Picasso’s mansion, the hotel where Oscar Wilde died, the cafes of the jazz era, and the extravagant zazous. This takes us right into the boutiques and picturesque shopping are of St. Sulpice. We break for lunch at a local bistro, only to continue our shopping tour de force in the area. Dinner is at a tres hipplace just off the Champs Elysees.
Thursday is for the exploration of artisan’s Paris. We will discover the passages, back alleys, and courtyards covered in ivy where artisans still ply their crafts: cabinetmakers, carpenters, gilders, and ceramicists, to name a few. It is rapidly changing into the “design” area of Paris, with fabulous lofts and sleek design showrooms, mingled with old world cafes. We will wander through the open-air markets, and finish up in a beautiful garden. In the afternoon we head to a wholesale French provencal shop selling housewares and décor items. Dinner is at a lively contemporary bistro in the heart of St. Germain des Pres – quite casual and delicious.
On Friday we follow the chic-est of the French to theDepot-Ventes – French-style second-hand designer clothing of the highest quality. We will also spend some time exploring the “stock” shops – high-end labels sold through their outlets. We could easily spend all day doing this, but we will allow time for special requests, or to revisit something you just can’t get off your mind. This evening we will dine at a very special place to celebrate our triumphs so pull out your finery and we will go out in style.
Find Out More
NB: This itinerary may be reserved as a private departure with a date of your choosing.
For more tour details, availability and pricing, we invite you to contact Adamarie King at: