Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frugal in France - Paris

Before embarking on my trip to Paris this Spring, I fantasized about all of the wonderful French products I would buy for a fraction of what they cost here. Things made in France should be cheaper there right? Apparently, only in my dreams. There are; however, a few exceptions. Several companies have outlets or surplus stores in Paris where you can buy clothing for half the price of what they cost here. I thought I would plan a day in Paris with products, attractions and eats on the cheap.

(Image from A.P.C.)

Start your day off in scenic Montmartre with a delectable almond croissant from the charming Coquelicot bakery at 24, Rue Des Abbesses. Pop in the upscale beauty store a few doors down and stock up on French skin care products. Three products I love that I found cheaper in Paris are: La Roche Posay Hydraphase, Avene Sunscreen, and Nuxe Reve De Miele Lip Balm. After checking out Van Gogh, Picasso, and Lautrec's former studios, make your way over to Sacre Coeur. After you've had enough site seeing and are ready for some shopping, head down the hill and check out the A.P.C Surplus Store at 20 Rue Andre Del Sarte. Of the three outlet stores I hit in Paris I found this to be the best.  The store is small but well organized  with men's and women's selections from about 6 months prior at 50% off.

(image from Zadig & Voltaire)

If you are done exploring Montmartre, you can make your way over to the Marais. There are three free Museums in this area, The Musee Cognacq-Jay, the Maison de Victor Hugo, and the Musee Carnavalet. All are in beautiful mansions and are great places to stop if you need a bathroom break. A cheap place to pick up lunch in this area is L'as du Falafel. It really is the best falafel I have ever had for around 5 euros. There is not much room to eat in, but you can take it to nearby Place de Vosges and sit in the park. There are two other outlets close by, the Zadig and Voltaire at 22 Rue de Bourg Tibourg, and the slightly further a field Et Vous at 17 Rue de Turbigo. The Zadig and Voltaire is the most outletlike experience with boxes and shelves stacked with items to dig through. It is a good place to hit for basics, or to find that item you passed up here months earlier because it was just too expensive. Before visiting their surplus store, I was not familiar with Et Vous clothing, but of the 3 outlets they have the best prices. I found a navy trench coat previously 400 euros for 50, and cashmere sweaters for 40 euros.

(Image from Le Vaissellerie)

If you have the inkling to check out the left bank, head over to La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marche at 38 Rue Sevres. Packed with food, you can pick up a baguette with ham and cheese for about 6 euros and a reasonable bottle of wine. As you make your way over to the Luxembourg Gardens to eat your dinner, stop by Le Vaissellerie on 85 Rue Rennes. Although this is not an outlet, it is packed with white French porcelain for as little as 3 euros a plate, and other thrifty tabletop goodies.

Click below to view my google map with all of the places listed. Happy Shopping!

View Flitterin Frugal in France Map in a larger map

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