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Travel Guide

Shopping in France

Shopping in France

France is great value for everything from washing powder to wine. Shops usually close for lunch often between 12.00 and 14.00, and stay open longer in the evening. All towns have pharmacies open 24 hours a day. Most hypermarkets are closed on Sundays and bank holidays. Crafts, wine and cheese are some of the best articles to buy in France. If you are headed for wines, the best thing to do is to go directly to the producers -"vignerons "-, or to the "Maisons or Syndicats du Vin". The most economic option it´s to buy "vrac", boxes with 5 to 10 bottles filled directly from the barrels. In order to buy a sample of the enormous variety of French cheeses, the most advisable thing it´s to make it in a fromagerie, where as minimum usually there are 200 varieties. Among all the possibilities that the French crafts offer, it Outstands the ceramics and the porcelain -in some places called "faïence"-, especially the produced in the city of Limoges.

In Paris there´s an ample supply of stores where to buy clothes. The haute couture is present in the stores of the great designers like Yves St-Laurent, Armani, Chanel or Versace, whereas cheaper alternatives can be found on department stores, the Lafayette galleries, and the so called "discount stores", with quality clothes from the last season. Other good option in France it´s to overhaul the numerous street markets celebrated in almost all the cities and towns one or twice per week.

Goods may be purchased in France free of value-added tax (VAT) for export (see under "Duty Free Sales"). Information on this matter can be obtained from:

1) The shops selling tax-free goods,

2) The customs, who will supply you with the leaflet on tax-free purchases. The sale in France of precious metals, jewels, works of art, collector's items and antiques is subject to a 7% tax (7.5 % in the case of precious metals). You may be asked to pay this tax when you leave France, unless you can prove with an invoice that you purchased the goods from a professional dealer or that the tax has been paid by the vendor.


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