Outside Antik Batik at the large outdoor mall Vallée Village.
The outlet shopping mall has come to France. The mall itself is an American concept, its arrival here fairly recent. But there are now factory outlet malls, like the Usines Center, sprinkled across the suburbs on the way into Paris from Charles de Gaulle airport. Here you’ll find midrange brands like Petit Bateau, Aigle and Comptoir des Cotonniers. The mall is dark and tired, but the shops have plenty of stock at fantastic prices. To get there, take the RER B to the Parc des Expositions, then the 640 or 23 bus until you see Ikea.
For a relaxing outdoor mall experience and an upscale collection of international brands, La Vallée Village is THE place to head. To get there, take the RER A to the Val d’Europe station and follow the signs until you arrive at an incredibly pleasant mock village that looks like it could have been designed by the folks at the neighboring Disneyland. Which explains all the tripists walking around with Goofy hats and Mickey Mouse ears. You’ll find a collection of 90 boutiques, including Lalique, Agnès B., Diane von Furstenberg, Céline, Lancel and Robert Clergerie. The savings are good. I nabbed a Burberry trench coat for 440 euros, which was about half the retail price, and Lalique rings for 30 percent less than you’ll find in town.
Waiting for the free shuttle to Disneyland.
If you strike out, you can always take advantage of the retail boutiques at the neighboring Val d’Europe shopping center, where you’ll find the mega Auchan store, which is a French version of the US chain Target. There is also a food court here—a good alternative to the ultra-expensive, very bad food available at La Vallée Village.
If you are not a mall rat, there is still hope for your inner bargain hunter. Before the outlet malls arrived, the shops around the Alésia metro stop in the 14th Arrondissement were the place to head, and there is still plenty to discover. Sonia Rykiel, Cacharel and Chevignon remain faithful to the area, which continues up the avenue du Général Leclerc.
The snail sculpture at Vallée Village.
No matter what neighborhood you are visiting, keep your eye out for the word “stock,” which is the French term for the Anglo-Saxon idea of a factory outlet shop. You’ll do particularly well if you are hoping to collect some Paris brands that are actually made here in the city and are not likely to be found abroad. My current favorites are the Maje, Sandro and Zadig et Voltaire stock shops.
Sonia Rykiel SR Store
64, rue d’Alésia, in the 14th.
114, rue d’Alésia, in the 14th.
122, rue d’Alésia, in the 14th.
9, rue du Cherche Midi, in the 6th.
26, rue de Sévigné, in the 4th.
Stock Zadig et Voltaire
22, rue du Bourg Tibourg, in the 4th.