France has been described as the market of Europe and the names of the products speak for themselves – Chanel, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent…Here’s a look at the shopping scene in Paris and Nice.
France is renowned as a shopping city but you have to choose your times well. Shop hours are Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm. Many small shops close for a two-hour lunch break. Thursday is the best time for late-night shopping. Many stores stay open until 9 or 10pm. Sunday shopping is generally limited to tourist areas and flea markets.
Shopping In Paris
If you want an authentic Paris shopping experience, you need to get away from the elegant outlets on the grand boulevards and to head to the flea markets. Paris has three main flea markets. Once haunted mainly by rogues and gypsies, the flea markets of Paris are now popular with everyone and a good place to look for bargains and serendipitous finds.
The first of the three main Paris flea markets is in Porte de Montreuil. This is one of the cheaper flea markets. It mainly hawks old clothes, furniture and other household items. The second is in Porte de Vanves which sells a wide range of bric-a-brac. The last one is located in Saint-Ouen / Porte de Clignancourt. This is the most famous and often simply known as the Paris Flea Market.
It’s best to visit flea markets in the morning. They’re quieter and there’s more to buy. The Paris Flea Market is the place to buy antiques. It is located in a working-class district so rents are low and also is a cash-driven business. So costs are low and so are the prices.
Shopping In Nice
Nice has its share of the affluent, both residents and visitors. So there’s no shortage of shops catering for the jet set.
Nice is a delightful city for a shopping stroll. You can browse the boutiques along pedestrianised rue Massena, place Magenta, avenue Jean-Médecin, rue de Verdun, and rue Paradis. This is mainly the preserve of high-end chain stores along with a few shoe shops, boutiques and restaurants. Pick up your Sonia Rykiel, Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton items here.
When you have over indulged with designer fashions, and in the mood for some arts and crafts, Atelier Contre-Jour at 3 rue du Pont Vieux is the place to go. It offers painted-wood handicraft items such as picture frames, painted furniture, and silk lampshades. Plus, many artists have their studios and galleries in the side streets of the old town near the cathedral.
Nice is also famed for street markets. There’s the Marché aux Fleurs flower market, Marché ŕ la Brocante, the main flea market. Another flea market at place Robilante on the port opens Tuesday to Saturday between 9am and 6pm. The summer months sees a nightly arts and crafts market on cours Saleya catering mainly for tourists.