American Journeywoman Jeanne
Feldman moved to Paris in 1991. Once there, she perfected her "best
buy" shopping and intercultural communications skills, leading
her to write and publish the shopping guide, "Best
Buys and Bargains in Paris". We asked Jeanne if she would
share some of her Paris shopping secrets with female travellers
coming to her part of the world. She writes...
is an expensive city, if you know where to look, you can still find
lovely yet inexpensive gifts that are truly "French".
In fact, the choice is big when you know where to look and what
to look for. By inexpensive, I mean gifts within a price range of
5 to 15 euros. I also know that gifts must be packed into a suitcase
and brought back home intact!
is more French than gourmet food? So, why not start your
gift search in the gourmet supermarkets in Paris, one of
the best being La Grande Epicerie
de Paris at 38 rue de Sèvres, just next
to the department store Le Bon Marché (Metro Sèvres-Babylone).
Parisians love their salon de thés, especially Marriage
Frères, which makes their own exotic tea blends found,
pre-packaged, in La Grande Epicerie. You can also find delicious
herbal tea blends such as pear-vanilla (poire-vanille),
plus packages of ground coffee, tins of French candy and
biscuits, and even the French specialty marrons glacés
or candied chestnuts. While there, you can also enjoy the
abundant food displays which are splendid.
about giving chocolate as a gift? There are small artisanal
or hand-made-chocolate stores all over Paris. One I really
like is about as centrally located as you could wish.
It's called Charles Chocolatier,
15 rue Montorgeuil (Metro/RER Les Halles). If you're on
a budget, you can purchase hand-made, elegant chocolate
bars (tablettes) for under 3 euros. I really like Charles
Chocolatier because they make chocolat à l'ancienne.
This means pure dark chocolate made from cocoa, cocoa
butter and flavorings. Yum!
idea for a "French" gift is a beeswax candle
in the shape of a teddy bear, cow or rooster found in
La Maison du Miel,
24 rue Vignon (Metro Madeleine or Havre Caumartin). As
the name suggests, this store specializes in honey and
honey derivatives. Although a jar of honey may not be
the ideal gift to transport in your suitcase, they also
sell honey nougat, cake and candy. Plus they have a special
cake called pain d'épice that is a sort of French
inexpensive gift is scented soap. Along with bathsalts,
they can be found in just about any parapharmacie in Paris.
Parapharmacies carry all sorts of beauty and health care
items, and the perfumed soap comes in a variety of scents
such as hazelnut, almond and water lily. They are packaged
in vibrant colors, making very attractive gifts. One parapharmacie
I can recommend is Parapharmacie
du Forum des Halles, 305 Porte Lescot (Metro/RER
Les Halles). The Forum des Halles is a large underground
shopping center; just find the FNAC electronics store,
and the parapharmacie is right next door.