Shopping and shops in France
France usually brings wine, cheeses, high fashion, perfumes, cosmetics and souvenirs of all kinds, shapes, varieties and sizes. The list is quite obvious, the only question is how to buy all this and, if possible, not go broke? Here are some tips:
If you have more money than time, luxury designer boutiques on the Champs Elysees, the famous department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette will gladly help you out. Clothes of youth brands will cost a little less – you should look for them in the Marais quarter and on Rivoli Street.
If you are not ready to overpay for proximity to the Eiffel Tower, it makes sense to carve out a separate day for visiting outlets. They are located outside of Paris, but compare favorably with the capital’s boutiques both in prices and in assortment: for example, the most famous French outlet La Vallee Village is a decorative village located near Disneyland of 120 elegant pavilion houses, each of which has its own brand. Another famous outlet is Usines Center Paris Nord. The word “usines” will tell those who know French that goods are sold here at factory prices, and the word “Paris” will deceive, since the outlet is located outside the city, near Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Another good way to save money is to book your trip in time for sales. They are held twice a year throughout France and last for 5 weeks each. At the beginning of sales, discounts are insignificant, and at the end they can reach 50-70%! True, the range of goods closer to the final is greatly reduced.
Cuisine and restaurants
French cuisine, with its ability to exquisitely combine the incongruous and discern gastronomic “material” in the most inappropriate products for this, definitely deserves close attention. Each region of the country has made a contribution to the common culinary treasury: the Rhone-Alpes region, for example, is famous for its gratin dauphinois casserole made from thin slices of potatoes, and fondue is prepared like nowhere else in the central Alps. A bowl of bouillabaisse, a Marseille “multi-fish” soup that has taken root in the snowy north, will help you regain strength after a busy day of skiing.
As a rule, lunch time in restaurants is from 12:00 to 15:00, dinner is from 19:00 to 23:00. The rest of the time they usually offer cold snacks.
France is not only a country of haute cuisine with corresponding figures on the menu. See other countries beginning with F. Numerous brasseries and bistros (approximate analogues of our cafes), kreperi (a kind of pancake) and small small Lebanese, Algerian, Chinese restaurants will make sure that you do not go hungry. In such establishments, the price tag for a full meal starts from 12-15 EUR per person, the farther from the center, the lower.
In cafes and bars, two prices are usually indicated on special boards at the entrance: au comptoir (at the counter) and a salle (at the table). The first, of course, is always lower. It is cheapest to eat around noon – where restaurants and cafes are open at this time. You can also save a lot by choosing Menu du jour when ordering – an analogue of our set lunch (with the difference that French establishments offer two or three options for dishes to choose from.
Holidays and events
Few would argue that the most famous holiday in France is Bastille Day. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Paris to see the dapper French military with their own eyes, appreciate the brilliant skills of pilots performing aerobatics over the Champ de Mars, feel the feeling of unity with the Parisians during the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.
It makes sense to come not for the holiday itself, but a couple of days before it: July 13, Parisians traditionally consider Freedom of Speech Day, and on the streets you can see crowds of demonstrators gathered for various reasons – from serious to curious. The evening ends with a celebration, which is called the “ball of firefighters” – the only people in uniform who enjoy universal respect in France.
But France wouldn’t be France if it didn’t always offer the tourist a choice. Even within the country, not everyone is happy about Bastille Day: for example, if on this day you prefer Brittany to Paris, you can attend medieval festivals dedicated to the times when Brittany was independent – on this day you will not see a single French tricolor, unless specifically do not turn to the city hall.
Even if July 14 is celebrated differently in France, what can we say about other dates? It is best to spend Christmas and the September harvest festival in Alsace, and Mardi Gras in the north. New Year in France is the time for guests and secular parties, it is worth meeting in Paris, and Easter – in the same Brittany, which is still famous for its zealous adherence to Catholicism… But no matter what region you choose, no matter what date you choose – You won’t be bored.