Craving a bit of outlet shopping? La Vallée Village, with its meticulously manicured storefronts and spacious walkways, is a sophisticated bargain hunter's dream. Located in the up-and-coming community of Marne-La-Vallée, the shops exemplify the spirit of the region.
A part of the newest urban development project by the same name, Val d'Europe is a trendy shopping center which has become one of the most popular shopping destinations in Serris. Aside from a variety of shops selling clothes, gadgets, home decor items, beauty products and the like, and a number of restaurants and cafes like Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's and Veng Hour, the shopping center is also home to one of the branches of the famous Sea Life chain of aquariums. So whether you feel like going on a shopping spree or simply wish to spend an entertaining day out, Val d'Europe is a great place to come to.
A high-class restaurant on the world's most famous avenue, Ladurée (founded in 1862) also boasts a bakery. You can try the famous “macarons” (moist jam-filled cookies), a specialty of this establishment, or enjoy the raw and cooked vegetable salad along with a variable of other dishes served for lunch and dinner.
Despite the invasion of big name stores such as Gap, Zara, and H&M, the flagship branch of Galeries Lafayette, along with nearby Printemps, has remained one of the last bastions of Parisian chic. Built in 1894, this shoppers' paradise has continually reinvented itself and kept customers coming back. The resplendent main hall has an impressive array of perfumes, accessories and other products. The department store stocks all the best designer labels and also has its own deluxe grocery counter, restaurants, a travel agency, fashion shows, Internet access and more. Its incredible Christmas window displays are a Parisian institution.
Stretching for two kilometers (one mile) and lined with trees, les Champs-Élysées has become the center for festivities and official parades in Paris. The avenue was originally created in 1667 by André Le Nôtre, Louis XIV's gardener, in order to improve the view from the Jardin des Tuileries and its palace. The avenue was lengthened at the end of the 18th Century to run from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Today, this famous boulevard is a magnet for tourists and for the multitudes who enjoy evenings spent strolling along the broad and picturesque street. The many cinemas, cafés, and restaurants tempt visitors to rest their legs for a few hours, tired from walking by the designer boutiques, banks, and embassies also situated in this chic neighborhood.
The world's biggest flea market welcomes 200,000 visitors each weekend. You name it and this place will have it: furniture, pictures, new and second-hand clothes, all at rock-bottom prices (especially if you're a dab hand at haggling). There's a jovial fairground atmosphere with the aroma of food wafting around and people crowding round the stalls, hoping to pick up a 1970s leather jacket or a rare Louis XV chest of drawers. Make sure you have cash on you, as stallholders seldom accept credit cards and the nearest available cash machine is always lined out.
Located in the Disney Village in Marne-la-Vallee, the Disney Store is one of the biggest stores in France. The range of toys is spellbinding, with adorably decorated interiors. The collection consists of finely manufactured toys that appeal to both adults and kids, although the price range may be considered a tad steep by some. The staff is extremely helpful and will help you look for your favorite toy in the sprawling store. Pick your favorite Mickey, or build your own saber. Even if you do not purchase anything, a visit to the store will certainly put a spring in your step.
The Place d'Aligre is the spot for several of Paris' more famous markets, including the Marché d'Aligre and Marché Beauvau. Fruits and vegetables can be bought at the Marché d'Aligre at attractive rates. One can find the daily customers haggling with the stall-vendors over prices. Visit the area for your daily dose of vegetables or just some plain and simple people-watching.
Bastille boasts one of the largest markets in the city. It takes skill to weave through its stalls. Thanks to the Parisians, who take their time picking out the best possible product, and the tourists, who take their time inhaling the market's sites and sounds, it's not easy to get from one side to the other. Aside from all the expected fares such as vegetables, fruits, cheese, and both raw and cooked meat and fish, the Bastille market also sells plenty of unexpected items: sewing machines, beeswax figurines, mousetraps, to name a few. The best time to get a deal is just as the market is closing. Vendors will sell plastic bags burgeoning with fruits and veggies at a very cheap price.
At first glance, Shakespeare and Company is nothing more than another English bookstore. But just a few steps inside the door, you start to see why the storefront is just as much a museum as it is a legendary bookshop. Between the books stacked to the ceiling, there are notes, announcements and fliers left from visitors all over the world. Since 1919, the name Shakespeare and Company has been a refuge to writers. The original bookstore was the stomping grounds of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce and others. Today, writers from all over the world come to share their work. Unknown writers have a place here, too; Shakespeare and Company lends sleeping space in exchange for a couple of hours of work in the store.