"" Writer's Wanderings: Paris - Shopping

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Paris - Shopping

One final word on Paris before we move on to the cruising on the Seine, the Saone and the Rhone. Shopping! Ah, but first the laundry.
On our return to Paris from our trip down the Seine from La Havre, we spent the morning on a "laundry excursion." From our three days in Paris earlier where we stayed at the Hotel Eiffel Seine, we learned of a nearby laundromat and decided to skip the bus tour of Paris offered by Viking and get some clean clothes. While 4.50 euro (about $6.75) was a bit steep for a load of wash, it still beat the prices on the riverboat.
Instead of putting the coins in the machines, you put the clothes in the washer, closed the door, and went to a large panel on the wall that took the coins. Then you pushed the numbered button for your machine and you were good to go. The same with the dryer that was .60 euro/5 minutes. Clean clothes are a premium in Paris!

So are new clothes. Sticker shock became the norm. I expected high prices along the Champs Elysees, the premium street in Paris but in the afternoon, we trekked to another large shopping area--the LaFayette Galleria. We thought it was a mall but it appeared to be one large department store. There were eight levels but the top floor is numbered seven because in Europe, the street level is call zero not one as in the U.S. In the center was a huge dome with stained glass windows and on the top floor (7) was an observation deck where you could get a 1/2 panorama view of Paris and a great shot of the opera house across the street.
We explored several of the levels and stopped on occassion to look at a price on something. Always sticker shock. A pair of men's Dockers was priced at 91 euros (about $140). I couldn't help but wonder how successful Walmart might be here. There is a store similar to Walmart we found later in Chalon called Monoprix. It even had a grocery area in the store and prices were much more reasonable. We never did find a "euro store" though.


mamabearbouch said...

Don't you just love Parisian life?!? I've spent a couple mornings in one of those laundromats doing team laundry, trying to read those signs in French & figure it out :) My friends say water (and electricity!) are very expensive, thus the steep prices . . . it's for the same reason that most homes are equipped with these bitty washing machines that use very little water but take 3 hrs to wash a load! And no dryers - they hang things to dry! Yep, we are pretty spoiled here :) As far as shopping goes, the shopping is good twice a year - during the government-run 'soldes' or sales that happen in late June / early July and again in mid-January - early Feb. Very regulated . . . to keep things 'fair' for all, the govt. tells stores when they can mark things down, how much, which cities do it when, etc. But you can find really good deals, especially when it's the week for the 'quatrieme' markdown :)

Wandering Writer said...

Great information! Thanks!

Darlene Johnson said...

Must be a Euro thing! Laundry in Italy was about the same...and the picture is a great 'flash back'. We wandered the back 'streets' of Venice with a bag of laundry at about 10 pm. Found one! Nice little out of the way place...CLEAN! Unmanned, but the same panel set-up. Just started drying clothes and a buzzer and flashing lights warning the shop closed in 15 min. We wondered if we'd get locked in or hauled off??? Well we looked around & sure enough the door has a timed latch; so we held it open. Sure enough it closes and I am pretty sure we couldn't have gotten it open! The adventure of traveling Europe!

The 'Sticker shock' sounds familiar too. Especially Venitian Glass & clothing, etc. Food too...but we found some great little places & the little local groceries have great stuff at a fraction of the other stores...especially bottled water/pop, etc. A budget saver!


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