One of the most famous places to shop doubtlessly is Paris. I've lived there for three years and came across the most fascinating and interesting shops in my life. Sadly, I don't have pictures of many of these, like the pest control shop with rows upon rows of taxidermied rats in the window, or my most favourite bookshop of used, English books who doubled as a tearoom and had a really good and affordable deal on tea, or the delicacies of the now-abandoned, famous Jewish bakery in the Jewish quarter, to name just a few. But I have a couple of my last visit four years ago, like this paint shop which is actually situated in two houses - the two most narrow houses of Paris.
Probably well-known to most English-speaking folk is Shakespeare & Company, and I took some shots of the interior this time. I confess I've never really caught the appeal of it, since in my time (1992-1995) it was and is a bookshop among several of new and/or used English books, but Shake&C is the only one where you need a shower afterwards because you get so unbelievingly dirty in there.
And finally, one of the posh delicatessen stories - or rather two - at the Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arondissement. Straight ahead Hédiard where the posh Parisian shops for tea, vinegar, mustard and so on, bordered to the left by the Maison de la Truffe which specialises, as the name says, on truffles. The house it's in is very special to me, because I lived there for two years, up under the roof in one of the maid chambers, doing half-au-pair (room against some hours of babysitting) while studying at the Sorbonne. To my delight, today the other half of the building houses a Mariage Frères
store, the fourth branch in the city today.
This is perhaps a surprise for many, but the French actually have a high quality tea drinking culture, and Mariage Frères is the Mecca for tea lovers like me. Their main store in the 3rd arondissement also has tea rooms to die for (where you can get, for example, Cream Tea with jellies made from tea - nothing beats their Earl Grey Impérial jelly - or the most delicious Petits Fours I've ever seen). It is lucky the shop wasn't there during my time, I suppose, or I would have been broke all the time. *g* They're having the whole price spectrum of good and high quality tea, though; from the regular-priced to the ridiculous.