In France, a sales tax or VAT is tacked onto most purchases; however, non-E.U. citizens who spend at least 175 euros at a participating store can get the VAT refunded (with some exceptions).
In most department stores, you will be handed a "bill" to pay at the cashier (sometimes a long walk away) before getting your items. By French law, sales take place twice yearly (in January and July). They're amazing, and long lines form outside the swankiest shops on day one. To avoid fines, some stores (mostly department stores) mark some racks as "specials" or "just in," but it isn't all that common.
Visit Avenue Montaigne in the eighth arrondissement for haute couture from the likes of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior.
Marche aux Puces St-Ouen, the most famous flea market in the city, is enormous, encompassing more than a dozen smaller markets. It's held along Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt Saturday through Monday.
Rue du Faubourg St-Honore pays homage to glamour, fashion, high style and the world's most expensive shops and galleries -- as well as the President's Palace.
The Champs-Elysees is one long boulevard of shopping opportunities, including names like Hugo Boss, Banana Republic and Louis Vuitton.
Many visitors are surprised to hear that Paris has a Chinatown, but it's actually a fun place to shop. Browse the aisles at giant Asian supermarkets along avenue d'Ivry such as Tang Freres, which is packed with dried mushrooms, Vietnamese lemongrass and canned lychee juice. It's a must-do for finding those ingredients you can never seem to find for a recipe (as long as it's canned or sealed, it's fine for getting through customs back home).
- Learn to Paint Like Monet
- Climb Europe's Largest Sand Dune
- Embrace Your Inner Prehistoric Artist
- Capture Paris on Film
- Step into the World of Jules Verne
- Learn to Cook Like Julia
- Explore Brittany's Celtic Heritage
- Drink or Bathe in Blessed Waters
- Experience History in the Making
- Follow the Cider Route
- Paraglide Over the French Alps
- Live It Up in Cannes
France Lodging: Gites, Palace Hotels & More
Getting Around France
Paris Travel Guide
Paris Travel Deals
Living Like a Local in France
9 Best Sensory Travel Experiences
Mediterranean Art: Following the Masters