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  1. #1
    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    I'm going to be in Paris for a couple of days next week, and I'll have part of a day free. I live in Houston, and can buy many perfumes locally or via mail order in the US.

    My question is: what can be purchased in Paris cheaper than in the US or is only available there?

    I'm planning to go to the Serge Lutens boutique for the exclusives and bell bottles - the prices are much better than US retail there as well.

    I also plan to go to the Guerlain boutique in the Champs-Elysee to see what they have. Maybe Habit Rouge l'Extrait is in stock? I asked in a thread recently if they are selling it again, but got no response. I'm also going to check out Parfum de Nicolai - maybe get a big bottle of New York or some minis.

    I know the Galeries Lafayette also has the Dior private collections, and many other nice things...

    Any others you recommend that are cheaper than in the US or Paris exclusive?

    Also does anyone know how the VAT refund works? Last time I went, the SA at the Lutens shop told me the refund is 30% (!!!), and at Galeries Lafayette they told me 12%. Is Galeries Lafayette taking 18% as a processing fee?

    Is there any way to get the refund right away? Last time I got the forms from the shops and mailed from CDG. I was told I've have a credit on my statement in 6-8 weeks.

    Thanks,
    Ruben

  2. #2

    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    There was a recent thread on Paris with many good suggestions. Prices depend a lot on the exchange rate you get, which these days is varying quite a bit, but is on net favorable to the dollar.

    The area of Palais Royal and west of has very many perfume stores, as you probably know (Rosine in the PR, a de Nicolai just west of it, and then plenty in the place Vendome area, including a Guerlain on rue Castiglione - you don't have to go to Champs Elysees if you don't have time). And note that niche brands are divided between Lafayette and the nearby Printemps.

    I don't know the amount of tax refund on perfumes, but when I did it on clothes it was never more than 10-12 percent. In some airports, tax refund companies had a little booth inside the terminal (that is, after you've had your forms stamped), but I don't remember about CDG. Nor do I remember whether the refund was smaller if done that way.

    have fun in paris!

    cacio

  3. #3
    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    Oops - I made the rookie mistake of not searching first. Sorry about that. Well, if anyone can shed some light on the VAT refund process I would appreciate it. Is it really 30% at SL or did I hear wrong?

  4. #4
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    Any others you recommend that are cheaper than in the US or Paris exclusive?
    Montale Confidential Collection

  5. #5

    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    For me, the best things who are exclusives to Paris are the Lutens bell bottles and the waters from Iunx (rue st honoré near vendome).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    Maybe Caron at Avenue Montaigne with their fountain extraits catches your interest. I may be wrong, but all but four (Tabac Blond, N'aimez que moi, Poivre and I forgot the fourth... Farnesiana? Or et Noir) are not officially available in the U.S. and e.g. Pois de Senteur is said to be Paris exclusive today.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    About Habit Rouge l'extrait : a month ago I went to Printemps Haussmann and they were still selling it. It's divine. Maybe you should call them ?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    Oops - I made the rookie mistake of not searching first. Sorry about that. Well, if anyone can shed some light on the VAT refund process I would appreciate it. Is it really 30% at SL or did I hear wrong?
    From the French customs website (100% official)

    The goods that you buy must be retail purchases made as a visitor and must not be for business purposes.
    The total value of your purchases (including VAT) at a single shop on the same day must be over €175.
    When you make your purchase the retailer will give you a VAT refund form. The two pages of the form must be signed by the retailer and yourself.
    By signing both sheets, you are undertaking to complete certain formalities.
    Before checking your luggage, you must present the goods and the form together for certification by Customs, at the time of your definite departure from the European Union.
    The customs certification takes place before check in so do not lock your goods in your checked luggage. You can do it after customs have stamped your forms (needless to say you must pack your bottles very carefully). You then mail your forms (do it landside at the airport ie. before passport inspection, not airside). Customs officers will tell you where the mailboxes are located. Envelopes are provided with the forms, no stamps needed.

    The tax refund is about 12%, the process fee is included.

    http://www.douane.gouv.fr/data/file/1268.pdf

    Guerlain, Lutens, Le Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are all familiar with the refund process.

    The tax refund is the only way to get a rebate on niche scents or exclusive lines that are never discounted otherwise.

  9. #9
    Basenotes Junkie tiberije's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    Montale is cheaper in Paris than here.
    Right now I think that I have all the fragrances that I want.

  10. #10
    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trip to Paris - what is cheaper or exclusive there? How does VAT refund work?

    Thank you all for the suggestions. I leave today and have a good idea what my plan of attack will be. Serge Lutens for bell bottle(s?), Printemps to see if they have Habit Rouge l'Extrait, and then some of the following depending on time and proximity: 31 Rue Cambon, Caron, Guerlain on the Champs-Elysees, Montale. Too bad I have only 1 day.

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