The changing faces of the Champs-Elysee

My summer in Paris was unforgettable. I loved having a full month to sink my teeth deeper into more of what Paris has to offer, after my fortnight in January. I noticed more about the culture and the state of Paris that I had not noticed a few months before as a wide eyed and wonderstruck tourist.

The Champs-Elysee is changing. Fewer and fewer French fashion houses proudly line the streets. Instead they are lost in a crowd of American, Spanish, Asian, Swedish, and English store like of Marks & Spencer, Abercrombie & Fitch, Swatch and H & M just to name a few.

Abercrombie & Fitch on the Champs Elysee
The gilded gates of Abercrombie & Fitch

It seems wrong. Yes, it’s a world-renowned shopping destination and any leading brand would kill for a prestigious Champs-Elysees address. But Zara? H & M? A & F?

Chanel & friends are around the corner, but the main street is malnourished of French heritage. Laduree, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton and Cartier are some of the only survivors of the foreign invasion.

Laduree on the Champs Elysee

It’s a shame, as “Champs-Elysee” is the definition of French shopping. With an international reputation built over decades, there can be no second Champs-Elysees. Wherever the French stores have fled to, it will take decades to build the glittering reputation of this former fashion Mecca.

On a brighter note, I did pick up something from a French store while on the Champs-Elysees, albeit something very small. My friend and I went to the Louis Vuitton flagship store purely to see the store, which is more like a high-fashion art gallery. It’s worth a look for serious shoppers and window shoppers alike! On my way out, I found a Laduree recipe book which was so cute, it would be silly not to take it home with me. While purchasing what I assume was the least expensive item in the store ( only 30 Euros!) I expected to be treated like dirt by the sales assistants. To the contrary, the service was lovely. They even carried my (tiny) shopping bag out to the front door for me when we were ready to leave. Which was nice, but sort of …weird.
For most of my shopping I went to boutiques in Saint Germain, which still pack a pretty Parisian punch.

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