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Paris is one of the world's premier shopping cities. Even people who hate shopping enjoy shopping in Paris. Here, everyone can find something they like, whether it's haute couture, flea markets, perfume, comic books, outdoor markets, or whatever. Serious shoppers will want to prepare before coming, and Suzy Gershman's Born to Shop Paris, a Frommer guide, provides excellent coverage of the Paris shopping scene. For an online visit to one of the most exclusive shopping streets in the world, visit Les Champs-Élysées online.
In major cities, most stores are open from 10h to 19h Monday through Saturday. In the provinces stores are usually closed on Mondays and from noon to 14h or 13h to 15h daily. Some department stores remain open until 21h one evening each week. Hypermarkets can remain open until 21h or 22h. Many food shops are open at 08h, even on Sundays. On holidays most businesses in Paris and the provinces are closed, while bakeries (boulangeries) are open only in the morning.
Bon Marché, Galeries Lafayettes, Samaritaine, Printemps, and Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville (BHV) are a few of the great department stores that are part of the history of Paris, offering a huge variety of items for sale. They have the usual amenities for tourists: shopping helpers, translators, currency exchanges, and tax-free shopping. Most have branches in major cities outside Paris.
Virgin Megastore and FNAC are chain stores that specialize in "cultural products" such as books, music, consumer electronics, and photography equipment. They are also ticket outlets for shows and travel services. Other chain stores specialize in cosmetics and perfumes (Séphora) and interior decoration (Habitat, Ikea).
The boutiques of the major designers are mainly located on avenue Montaigne (Yves Saint-Laurent and Christian Dior, Faubourg Saint-Honoré (Hermès and Gucci), la place de la Madeleine, Saint-Sulpice, or Sèvres-Babylone areas, the area surrounded by rue de Grenelle, rue du Cherche-Midi, and rue des Saints-Pères (Versace, Sonia Rykiel). The younger set should visit the Halles neighborhood (Agnès B, Claudie Pierlot), la Place des Victoires, (Kenzo) or the boutiques of the Marais (Ventilo, Et Vous).
Carrousel du Louvre, a pedestrian mall located under the Louvre museum, features stores such as André Courrèges and Lalique in addition to a variety of boutiques and a gigantic food court. For perfumes and cosmetics, there are many tax-free boutiques in the Opéra area. Souvenir shops are located near major tourist sites, especially under the arcades of the rue de Rivoli. For gastronomic products, the two great gourmet food shops of Paris, Hédiard and Fauchon, are located on place de la Madeleine. The Lafayette Gourmet is located above the Galeries Lafayette department store on boulevard Haussmann.