Paris preview

France

All it takes is a walk down any boulevard to understand that Parisians are serious about fashion. Men, women and children pay careful attention to how they dress and what it says about their own personal style. That is not to say, however, that they are all dressed in Dior or Chanel. While Paris certainly deserves its reputation as the haute couture, or high fashion, capital of the world, this category is only accessible to a minute section of the population.

The famous haute couture fashion shows in Paris take place in January and July, but much like the clothes that are paraded on the runways, they have very little to do with Parisian shopping. The pieces on display generally cost more than an average person’s annual clothing budget. But take heart, many of the couturiers, like Givenchy, Hermes, Lanvin, and Dior, to name a few, also have prêt-a-porter (ready-to-wear) stores under their griffe, or designer label.

As expensive as shopping for clothes and shoes can be in Paris, there are also a huge number of alternatives for the budget conscious from degriffe (shops that sell new, but out-of-season designer clothes) to depots-ventes (consignment shops) to inexpensive, but reliable international chains, like Gap, Zara and H & M.

There are some beautiful department stores, which house many designers under the same roof, as well as home goods, and in some cases, food halls. There are also several centre commerciaux (malls or commercial centers) throughout the city that cluster numerous shops in the same build…