Why You Should Buy French Luxury Goods in Paris | travelhappier
Paris to me is “love” and “luxury,” and I love me some luxury goods in Paris
To me, there is nothing better than finding the perfect personal souvenir: a beautiful object that reminds you of your trip and that “sparks joy” in you whenever you hold it. (Note that this is different than the perfect omiyage, which is usually food or beauty products if I love you). In Paris, my absolute favorite souvenirs have been Louboutin heels, Lanvin flats, and leather goods from Celine or Louis Vuitton.
And the best part? Not only are these gorgeous pieces the perfect souvenirs, you can “save” (my husband thinks this is funny, but it’s true, ha!) hundreds or thousands of dollars by buying luxury goods in France rather than in the U.S. — even after paying any duty exceeding the entry exemption. I break it down for you below.
Why Buy French Luxury Goods in Paris
(1) It’s more fun (because you’re on vacation, duh)
Everything is more fun on vacation, and the French make shopping for luxury goods pleasurable, too. So do me a favor and say “oui” when offered a glass of celebratory glass of champagne when completing your purchase. And if they don’t offer, just ask. Don’t be shy. Because, yes of course you want to celebrate your purchase! Oui, oui!
(2) It’s cheaper.
Buying French luxury goods in France can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on beautiful, timeless pieces that don’t otherwise ever go on sale simply because the prices are lower in Europe.
LV and Chanel don’t have “sales” ever, but for those shops that do, French law restricts sales seasons to twice a year: once in summer and once in winter - usually in June and January. But you can literally save the cost of a hotel night by buying in France and then getting your tax refund at the airport.
(3) You’ll come home with the best souvenirs.
Take a lesson from Marie Kondo and don’t even buy souvenirs that you don’t absolutely love. Luckily, French luxury goods are easy to fall for. All the pieces I’ve purchased in France over the years all invoke warm fuzzy feelings — and they are the best everyday visual reminders of some really wonderful vacations. Buying something pretty in Paris will bring back nice memories every time you look at it.
A Note on VAT Tax Refunds - Don’t Forget Your Passport
When buying goods worth over 175 euro in France, you’re entitled to get your VAT (value added tax) back when you leave the European Union. You can get cash back immediately or a credit directly to the credit card you paid with in a few weeks; the amount will typically be about 10-12%. So in addition to the prices typically being lower in Europe than in the U.S., you save on taxes. Just don’t forget your passport when you shop: they will need it to fill out your paperwork on their end before you leave the store.
#jetsetterbaby Tip: If you’re contemplating buying a diaper bag for your first kid, my advice to you is just to get a roomy designer bag instead. Goyard and LV have some roomy totes that look cute and will carry all your baby necessities.
My Favorite Boutique Locations in Paris
All of the stores listed below have multiple locations within the city, but the addresses listed below are ones that I’ve personally scouted out or shopped myself. Sales people all speak multiple languages, including English. All locations except the Celine boutique listed are on the right bank and close-ish to the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome.
Celine - Perfectly understated French luxury goods. 16 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France. Ask for Hafeda, she is lovely.
Chanel - Quilted boy bags and wallets. 31 rue Cambon, 75001 Paris France.
Christian Louboutin - Red-soled shoes that make you feel oh-so-feminine. 68 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France.
Maison Goyard - A luxury house older than LV that doesn’t really advertise. Their monogrammed totes give LV a run for its money with the in-the-know crowed. 233 rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris.
Lanvin - The softest lambskin leather flats perfect for travel or everyday use (just not when it’s raining, please!). 22 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris.
Louis Vuitton - It’s LV and it needs no introduction. The real leather pieces are the best buys (not the ever-popular canvas — although I do have a few myself). 2 Place Vendome, 75001 Paris, France. I also like the location within Le Bon Marche (it’s a lot less hectic than other places).