The Fashionista’s Guide to Paris and London
Two of the most fashionable European cities, Paris and London, beckon the fashion obsessed for a shopping experience unlike any other. Treating myself to a getaway in these stylish capitals, I can’t imagine a better way — or place — to shop for this season’s high-end scores. I love how fashion has infused itself into everyday city life; from amusing London museums to quaint Parisian cafés, there is a sense of fashion everywhere.
The joie de vivre found in Paris is especially palpable in its most fashionable districts. Paris has always been synonymous with fashion and it certainly lives up to its reputation. Staying at the Hotel Shangri-La near the Eiffel Tower leaves shopaholic travellers like me set to shop the Parisian way – after a good night’s rest.
A croissant and an espresso gave me the boost I needed for a walk to the Galeries Lafayette — a department store like no other. Walking is the preferred mode of transportation in Paris, although there is a vast Metro subway system if you prefer.
On my way, I stopped by the landmark Eiffel Tower located near my hotel, which is marvelous to see (but not worth the line-up for a climb to the top — especially if you have some serious shopping to do!). Continuing on, I took in the sights and sounds of the city, with hurried traffic, little corner stores, and stylish Parisians lending to the charm of the capital.
From the outside, the Galeries Lafayette looks like any other mall, but inside is a true Parisian retail experience. It’s part traditional shopping mall and part art gallery. The art gallery on the main floor, the Galerie des Galeries, features contemporary French and international art, fashion and photography. Using the gallery designs as inspiration, you can shop big-name brands like Zara and Urban Outfitters, or lesser known brands like Aime. I fell for a floral print Aime dress, on sale for just over 100 EUR.
Sale buyers beware that some signs offer additional discounts but only for French residents – tourists are out of luck! Before leaving the Galeries Lafayette I browsed the Designer Laboratory, where each season showcases a different up-and-coming luxury designer. You’ll likely leave the department store with a few fabulous purchases — and definitely with a heightened sense of fashion.