The world's best shopping cities
By Laura Tait
If you are someone who hates shopping then stop reading now. If you are someone who gets carried away at the first sight of a sale, gets swipe-happy with your credit card and doesn’t stop until you need to remortgage your house, then you should probably stop reading too. For everyone in between, here are eight of the world’s top retail therapy destinations.
Savvy shoppers will be able to pick up plenty of bargains, from fashion to antiques, that would be sold with a massive mark-up elsewhere. And by savvy we mean prepared to barter. More often than not you can get everything for a significantly lower price – and not just in the famously buzzing street markets. The bright, modern, air-conditioned malls might not feel like haggling territory but you’ll often find prices can be talked down. If you don’t mind a bit of chaos, head to Chatuchak Weekend Market - one of the most exhilarating and lively shopping experiences in the world.
Whatever your style there’s a district for you. The famous Champs-Élysées boasts big brands and high standards, the Boulevard Haussmann has two of Paris's largest and oldest department stores and Le Marais has hip boutiques, antique shops and cafes. The fashion-filled Rue des Francs-Bourgeois conveniently ignores France's Sunday closing law while Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli has the city’s biggest indoor mall, flanked by bakeries, cheese shops, wine shops and produce stands. Then there’s Faubourg Saint-Honoré - known as the most fashionable street in Europe thanks to pretty much every major fashion house having shops here.
There’s more to London shopping than fighting the crowds on Oxford Street, despite the fact it has every high street shop you can think of – and often more than once. London’s markets make a brilliant shopping experience - some of the best are Portobello, Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Camden (or Borough if it’s food you’re after). You’ll also find the country’s biggest and best malls, both east and west of the capital – the new Westfield in Stratford and the original Westfield in White City.
NYC’s inclusion in a roundup of the best places to shop is a tad predictable but its exclusion would be a huge omission, so here it is. Not only is it home to some of the best department stores in the world – including Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s – it’s also not short of brilliant boutique shops. These can be found in abundance on Fifth Avenue, where you’ll also find the iconic Saks Fifth Avenue. There are trendy open air markets, like the Green Flea Market, if you prefer something a bit more unique.