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Letter from Paris: Vive la difference

The first of a series of short postings prompted by a recent flying visit to Paris. By Angela Beevers

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Letter from Paris: Vive la difference

The first of a series of short postings prompted by a recent flying visit to Paris. By Angela Beevers

The retail landscape and experience in the French capital is still hugely different from that of London. The globalisation of retail brands, the rapid connections delivered
by Eurostar, and the levelling of legislation by the European Union have done little to erode the idiosyncrasies and divergent characters of the shopping streets of the two cities.

Sure, there are plenty of examples of cross channel exchanges – the UK gives France brands ranging from Church’s shoes to Lush cosmetics, while in return we get retailers as diverse as Louis Vuitton and Paul bakeries. And of course the ubiquitous international brands, such as Zara and H&M, have strong presences in both cities.

But still there are far more differences than there are similarities, which makes shopping in Paris such a delight. Independent shops have held their own in prime locations in the French capital far more than in London.  Even the quintessential boulangerie, boucherie and charcuterie continue to thrive in the heart of the city.

In the subsequent postings in this ‘Letter from Paris’ series we will look at some of the city’s key retail trends, examine major new openings and redevelopments, identify continental brands that could make it in the UK, and above all celebrate the differences that set Paris apart.

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