Shopping In Paris And Tips To Know
It’s no secret that Paris has amazing shopping and is a destination most women dream about going to specifically to shop. In this post I’ll cover specific shopping tips to help you out in Paris and where to go.
These are all my favorite areas to shop in the city and places I usually end up picking up a little something from. Whenever I shop in Paris, I always try to buy things I wouldn’t be able to buy back home. The best part of shopping in Paris is having a special souvenir or memory of a beautiful piece of clothing you bought there that no one else will have.
Favorite Places To Shop For Clothing In Paris
- ba&sh Paris– Favorite Parisian brand for more of a bohemian and edgy Parisian vibe.
- Comptoir des Cotonniers– Classic, and staple pieces for the chic woman. Reminds me of Ann Taylor in the states. They have a location in the states but obviously, everything is better in Paris.
- Flea Markets– You never know what you will find at a Parisian flea market. I have picked up a vintage YSL blazer and a Celine scarf, both under $60. My favorite flea market is the Marche aux Puces de Vanves.
- Le Bon Marché – This is the best department store for me out of the major ones in the city with its classic and chic labels it carries. Plus, after shopping, you can go to La Grand Epicure, a famous luxury grocery store, for some culinary delights.
- Maison Standards– Timeless Parisian pieces for women and men. I love the store in Saint Germain.
- MKT – A bit more trendy but still has great basics at very affordable prices. Love the flare jeans they offer.
- Monoprix– It’s the French version of Target but better and chicer. I visit Monoprix several times during any visit to pick up bottles of wine, snacks, souvenirs, clothes for London, and anything else I feel I need on my visit. This last time I picked up a beautiful leather planner, all in French of course so it helps me learn dates and months.
- Sézane – Favorite store for Parisian essentials like knitwear, coats, shoes, and denim. This is my go-to Parisian brand and they have multiple locations throughout the city. The best one is the Grand Appartement, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. I wrote a post on Sézane sizing if you need some help.
If you are looking for luxury stores then you want to head over to Avenue Montaigne, where you will find all the major fashion houses like CELINE, Dior, YSL, Chanel, and many more.
The Faubourg Saint-Honoré district, which is in the Louvre-Tuileries neighborhood, has stores like Goyard, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and lots of special boutique stores.
What Does VAT In France Mean?
First, we want to start by discussing the Value Added Tax system in Paris and what exactly this means for you as a shopper.
VAT, stands for Value Added Tax, which is a tax rate automatically added to goods and services sold in France in restaurants, shops, and hotels. The standard rate at the time of this post is up to 20%.
This means that tax is already added to the price you see that’s listed. There is no additional tax added at the end of the transaction because it’s already in the price.
What this means for you though, is you are eligible to get a portion of what you’ve spent back. This can add up quickly, especially if you make big purchases (handbags), but there are stipulations.
Also, don’t think of this as a stressful process or be nervous. Just be prepared with the steps below and you will be so excited when you see a refund on your credit card bill.
What Does The VAT Cover?
The VAT will cover the tax on clothing, jewelry, french linens or kitchen items, and anything you can carry and bring back with you.
The VAT does not cover hotel stays or meals, although business travelers might be an exception.
If you happen to buy anything over 100.01 euros or buy over that amount on one receipt or in multiple receipts in a dept store, you are entitled to get the VAT (Value Added Tax) back. Here’s how to make sure you get your refund.
- You need to ask for the VAT refund paperwork when you are checking out. Some retailers will automatically assume you want it, and others don’t want to do the paperwork so they won’t ask.
- You must have your passport with you in the store at the time of purchase. If not, they won’t be able to process the paperwork.
- The big department stores (Le Bon Marché, Galeries Lafayette) have a specific Detax office where you will take your receipts and everything is handled for you, hopefully even mailed in for you.
- If you aren’t at one of the department stores then you will need to turn in your VAT paperwork once you are leaving Paris at the airport.
Turning In Your VAT Paperwork
- Arrive at the airport early if you are turning in your paperwork there. I have stood in a line for 10 minutes up to 30 minutes during the busy season.
- You should go to the Tax Refund office before you check in although there have been a few times that I forgot and went after I checked in for my flight and had no issue. However, I would suggest going before you check your luggage in case there are any questions.
- Each terminal will have a Tax Refund Office and they are clearly labeled with signs throughout the airport.
- Have all of your VAT forms ready to go. Each retailer should have put your form in a specific envelope.
- The offices now have free-standing kiosks in them which say DETAXE TAX REFUND. The process is very simple. Choose which language option you want when you get up to the kiosk. There will be prompts telling you what to do. Basically, there is a bar code on each VAT form that you will scan. After that, you will seal up the envelopes and there are boxes where you will drop your envelope with the forms.
- Then wait anywhere from one to three months usually and you will see a refund on your credit card.
How Much Can You Save Shopping In Paris
I took a few snapshots of the receipts so I could show you what you might expect for your return.
For this purchase of 1335 euros, I will likely get back close to $300 U.S. Dollars. I have yet to receive my return so this is an estimation.
Is Shopping Cheaper In Paris
Of course, it all depends on the exchange rate. However, overall it’s much cheaper to buy items in Paris versus buying them online and shipping them to the United States. For example:
Here are some items I purchased in Paris from Sézane and what I paid vs. what I would pay if I ordered online.
- Square Scarf 20€ vs. $25
- Handbag 295€ vs. $390
- Camel Coat 350€ vs. $485
In Paris, I spent a total of 665€ which equals $698 dollars, plus I will also get a VAT refund from this purchase of at least $100 U.S. dollars so that comes to around $598 U.S. dollars spent.
If I would have ordered those same items online I would have paid $900 without a VAT refund. So, much cheaper to buy these items in Paris.
Luxury items aren’t much cheaper except for the fact you will receive the VAT back.
Do They Have Sales In Paris
Sales in Paris are not like here in the states. Sales are actually regulated by the government and are only allowed to take place during January and July.
You will see signs in the windows saying SOLDES, and that means it’s sale time.
Hopefully, these shopping tips have helped with your trip to Paris. You will be prepared and ready to enjoy all the shopping the city has to offer.