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  1. #1

    Default First Time Shopping In Paris

    Bonjour! My husband and I will be visiting Paris in May and I am already measuring up my perfume budget. It's my first visit and I remain highly unclear on a few things. It would mean a lot if some Francophile members would answer some basic Paris shopping questions for me.

    I love Serge Lutens and cannot wait to visit his shop! I plan on buying at least one Bell Jar.

    - How is the service in Serge? English speaking or strictly French? I speak French better than some, but cannot understand others very well.

    - Are they generous with samples? What about with their French exclusifs?

    I have heard nothing but marvelous things about Caron. I am interested in trying their entire line for the first time, in particular the urn fragrances. My goal is to walk away with one.

    - Which Caron boutique in particular is the more storied or reputable? Which one should I try?

    - In addition, it is very hard to determine the actual prices of the urn perfumes and the bottle options available in store. I've read it all from $120 US to $500 and it seems no bloggers want to admit how much they spent at Caron. What will an urn fragrance realistically cost?

    - I also want to buy at least one of their famous downy powder puffs. How much do these cost and do they have the entire color range in their store? I already have the swatches.

    I love Annick Goutal, but it feels so far that there is nothing in their Paris shop which I can't find in the US. Gardenia Passion is my summertime favorite, but I can buy it anytime in LA.

    - Does Goutal have any Parisienne exclusives in their boutique, or should I skip them?

    And finally....

    - What is the superior department store for fragrance and cosmetics? I like Lafayette because it's pretty and historical, but is their something better?

    - Is the Sephora on Champs as overrated as it looks, or should I give it a chance?

    - How is the L'Artisan shop? I like them, but have not found a "love" scent yet.
    The perfumes are the feelings of the flowers - Heinrich Heine

  2. #2

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    Have fun in Paris!

    I've always had great service at SL, and spent a significant amount of time smelling all the paper strips. They all speak english well, of course. For fun, in Paris I always use a horrid italian-french pidgin, with english thrown in; never any problem. When you isolate the perfumes you like, you can ask the SA to put the actual juice on your skin. The first time, as I was undecided, the SA even told me to keep smelling through the day so that I could see how it evolves... the first SA who doesn't try to close a deal right there.

    They don't give samples however. If you buy something, they'll give you a set of wax samples of their entire collection. Very occasionally, they have a vial of their export, but not always. You should ask of course. Incidentally, remember that some of the exclusives are also available in the export collection (eg Borneo, Tubereuse, MKK, et al) so you might want to concentrate on the exclusifs that haven't made to export (eg Sarrasins, La Myrrhe, Iris Silver Mist, Boxeuses, Fourreau Noir, Fumerie Turque, etc.)

    Caron: I only went to the avenue Montaigne one, and service was good. Our Caronian Larimar should be able to help you here with plenty of suggestions. I don't know about the average cost of the extraits. I got 8ml of Tabac Blond in the plainest bottle, and I think it was something around EUR 85, and in any case below EUR 100. But I think prices will vary depending on the scent, and the bottle.

    Dept stores: for perfumes, niche are equally divided between Lafayette and Printemps. Conveniently, the two huge department stores are one next to the other, so there's no need to choose. Probably Lafayette is a touch bigger.

    Since most of what's at Sephora can be found this side of the ocean, you shouldn't probably bother. Anyway, Sephoras, Marionnaud, and Nocibe (the three largest perfume chains) are sprinkled all over Paris, should you have any need. The advantage of Champs Elysees stuff is that it is open on sundays and late at night.

    Re: Goutal and Artisan, again, since all can be found here, perhaps it's not worth. Besides, there are very many great perfume stores within a couple of minutes walk from the Goutal store, I'd rather save my nose for those. (Two doors down is JAR, for instance. Perhaps you might not want to dump EUR 600 for 30ml of perfume, but if you don't see anybody in the store sniffing, you should enter and sniff - it's quite an experience. You sit down at a table etc etc Save your nose for Eclair).

    cacio

  3. #3

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    - How is the service in Serge? English speaking or strictly French?

    I had an ok time. They were professional. No matter how much I showed them I knew about notes and so on. Visited twice and had different SAs each time. Not an unpleasant experience but not superb either.

    - Are they generous with samples? What about with their French exclusifs?

    They are very reluctant to apply on your arm. Its like each swath costs them money or something.


    - Does Goutal have any Parisienne exclusives in their boutique, or should I skip them?

    Yes and perhaps the best one of all. Eau du Fier. Do you enjoy Lapsang Souchong?

    - What is the superior department store for fragrance and cosmetics? I like Lafayette because it's pretty and historical, but is their something better?

    Printemps I felt was superior to Lafayette.

    - Is the Sephora on Champs as overrated as it looks, or should I give it a chance?
    Do you want designer?

    - How is the L'Artisan shop? I like them, but have not found a "love" scent yet.[/QUOTE]
    The shop is down by the river. Lovely location (the one next to the the Louvre).

    for swap/sale:





  4. #4

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    Ohh yeah and do visit the Russian Tea House in Printemp

    Café pouchkine.






    for swap/sale:





  5. #5

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    Quote Originally Posted by Emily View Post

    - What is the superior department store for fragrance and cosmetics? I like Lafayette because it's pretty and historical, but is their something better?
    I consider Printemps to have MUCH better choice than Lafayette. The beauty department takes the separate building, and there's pretty much everything you need to know about niche perfumery
    Your Perfume Guide (all about city shopping guides and list of parfums by dominating note)

  6. #6

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    Printemps for sure! Jovoy have a new shop its the largest independent niche shop in Europe! You will find over 36 "niche"brands in their including some exclusives to the Paris shop. Its on rue Castiliogne, 75001. Within 200 meteres of this shop you have Annick Goutal, Editions Fredric Malle, Jean Patou, JAR, INUX, Guerlain, Jo Malone, Collettes, Penhaglions, Montale and Maitre Perfumier Gantier.

  7. #7

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    and 300 metres away add Divine + Artisan.

  8. #8

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    oppps left off Maison Francis Kurkdjian - 100m away.

  9. #9

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    This is all so great! Lots of awesome help.

    Thank you Cacio for the info about Caron. Prices sound way more reasonable than I was dreading.

    I'm glad everyone brought up Printemps, I'll surely go in now!

    And thank you for the experience info Hedonist222!

    I've also noted the other nearby boutiques you guys have mentioned. Merci! I'm already bookmarking and mapping these new suggestions.
    The perfumes are the feelings of the flowers - Heinrich Heine

  10. #10

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    This is all so great! Lots of awesome help.

    Thank you Cacio for the info about Caron. Prices sound way more reasonable than I was dreading.

    I'm glad everyone brought up Printemps, I'll surely go in now!

    And thank you for the experience info Hedonist222!

    I've also noted the other nearby boutiques you guys have mentioned. Merci! I'm already bookmarking and mapping these new suggestions.
    The perfumes are the feelings of the flowers - Heinrich Heine

  11. #11

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    This is all so great! Lots of awesome help.

    Thank you Cacio for the info about Caron. Prices sound way more reasonable than I was dreading.

    I'm glad everyone brought up Printemps, I'll surely go in now!

    And thank you for the experience info Hedonist222!

    I've also noted the other nearby boutiques you guys have mentioned. Merci! I'm already bookmarking and mapping these new suggestions.
    The perfumes are the feelings of the flowers - Heinrich Heine

  12. #12

    Default Re: First Time Shopping In Paris

    Quote Originally Posted by Emily View Post
    Merci! I'm already bookmarking and mapping these new suggestions.
    YOu should find it useful
    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...cf56a7e1d63590
    Your Perfume Guide (all about city shopping guides and list of parfums by dominating note)

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