Shopping Tips for Galeries Lafayette and Printemps
If you are really serious about shopping in the Paris department stores, follow our shopping hints below on how to maneuver like a pro.
1. Window shop around town first and then check out the Big Duo. Many local chains have space in the department stores. Using the department store discount can save you 10% off the same item bought across town.
2. Shop early (get there by 10 am). The tour groups usually arrive after lunch (2 pm or so). You REALLY want to be winding down by the time they arrive.
3. Dress comfortably because you will want to try on everything (since you can’t just run back next week and return it). Some European lines run small.
4. Know your European sizes. (Add 32 to your current (US) size for clothes, 30 for shoes).
5. Use the 7 or 9 Metro Lines and get off at the “Chaussee d’Antin – Lafayette” stop. Follow the signs for “Grand Magasins - LAFAYETTE” and you can enter the store without leaving the metro station. You will end up in the basement of the Main store. Don’t fret or go upstairs yet, because the coatcheck is down here. Follow the signs for the lost & found and you will find it. Check your coat then head upstairs to shop.
6. As soon as you get onto the main floor, get a 10% discount card. Don’t forget, you will need to show your passport to get the card. Then get a store directory and take a moment to familiarize yourself with the layout. There are probably entire floors that you will have no interest in.
7. Shop in an organized route.
8. Find somewhere to stash the non-shoppers. If you’re not going alone or with equally eager shoppers, plan to meet non-shoppers at a specific location/time. The stores both have numerous and comfortable “rest zones” as well as cafes for weary (or bored) shoppers. Just remember where you left them…
9. Get the most out of your discount by consolidating your purchases in one store. The detaxe minimum is 175€ (about $215, depending on the exchange rate). That is not all that much if you are planning on shopping. Be aware of the labels/brands that do not count toward that minimum, though. They are clearly marked with RED DOTS.
And don't forget to pick up the detaxe forms from customer service before leaving the store! For more information on how to ensure that you receive your VAT refund, read Demystifying the Detaxe.
10. Break often and remember that this is fun!
Author: Cheryl Montgomery