I recently came back from a one week vacation in Paris. It was my first time in Paris and besides seeing ALL the touristy places I managed to get a little shopping in. I though I'd share some of my shopping experiences there. The first stop for any tourist shopper is either Printemps or Galeries Lafayette on Haussmann blvd. Both are huge department stores which carry higher-end brands. Both also market aggressively to the tourists, including offering a 10% discount card. However, the discount is only for regular-priced items. Even it was sale season, and most things actually were on sale, the prices were still fairly high. Maybe it's just the high Euro. I don't think there was anything in either store that couldn't be found cheaper elsewhere ie. in smaller shops. I stopped by Albaladejo Shoes on ave de l'Opera. The main person there is Miguel. There was also a very helpful young woman whose name I can't remember. Both don't speak much English but fortunately my wife speaks French. The shoes are very, very nice and are reasonably priced at around 300 Euros. Most of the styles are fairly classic. Like I said, the regular shoes look very nice, but he also had on display some shoes with a finish that was absolutely outstanding. Antiquing, I guess it would be called? How he does this is of course a proprietary secret. Miguel says that he's able to do it for most models he has available. It costs an extra 50 Euros and takes two days. After comparing the shoes with and without the finish I think it's definitely money well spent. In fact, there's not many excuses for not getting the finish; it is that impressive. They also had a selection of women's shoes. The saleswoman was very helpful in that she brought out ALL the models in my wife's particular size to try on. How do I explain to my wife that a high-quality $300 shoe is better than her usual glued-together, pleather $100 department store shoes?? Miguel also confirmed that Albaladejo produces women's shoes for Edward Green. "Edward who?" my wife asks. Anyways, I purchased a pair of reddish-brown double-soled Norwegian-front(?) split-toe shoes. Of course I got the extra finish on the shoes. It looks amazing. I can't tell you how pleased I am with the shoes as well as the service at ALbaladejo. BTW, they don't have a catalog or much of a web presence, but Miguel tells me both will be up by September. I came by a shoe shop Shipton & Heneage on Raspail. Very nice shoes. The salesman told me that most of the models are produced by Crockett & Jones and that a few of them were by Sargent. The prices were 250-350 Euros, and were cheaper than similar-appearing shoes at the C&J shop. I bought a very nice oxford, the Bedford. Same models in the shop as on their website shipton.fr. Just some brief notes on other places: La vallee outlet (It's out near Paris Disney and we were visiting there anyways): Not many stores. Prices not that great for an outlet. Nothing really interesting. John Lobb, Berluti, Kiton, Dunhill: nice stuff to look at in the windows but I was too embarassed wearing my tourist-clothes to actually go in. Louis Vuitton: This place is nuts. It's a small shop near where the main shop is being renovated. There was a lineup going all the way out the door. I'm not kidding. We stopped in and asked if they was a sale going on or something. There wasn't. I guess I'd charge those high prices too if people are lining up to pay what they're asking. Consignment shops: Ridiculously overpriced for very used goods. Think smelly, OLD, scuffed-up, soles-worn-down-to-cork John Lobbs for 500 Euros. OK, that's enough from me. Any comments especially from those more familiar with the above Paris shops are welcome.
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7/16/04 at 3:04pm