After our trip to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, we came back down to ground level and explored a bit of the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Is it really the shopping paradise that it’s made out to be? Is it really the pinnacle of Parisian avenues? Meh. It depends what you’re looking for, I guess.
I am most certainly not a luxury brand shopper. The big names of Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes have very little significance for me. Yes, they are luxurious and usually quality brands, but it’s not something I particularly covet. The luxury brands are the big draw of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, but not for me.
Just check out the lineup outside the Louis Vuitton store. There’s no way I would spend time in that line even just to take a look at things. There’s just no interest on my end. Obviously, I am an outlier in this case because there are some wealthy folk in the line that disagree with me. To each their own.
The vibe at Kusmi Tea down the road was more to my liking. Yes, there is a sense of high-endedness, but this famous Paris-based tea merchant is much more accessible. I had purchased some Kusmi Tea on a trip to Quebec City in 2013 and had seen a branch store in Montmartre a couple days earlier. This Kusmi Tea shop is complete with the Cafe Kousmichoff with pricey tea sets and munchies. The store itself, though, was easily accessible for an everyday commoner like myself. My wife even found this nice glass water/tea carafe that we plunked down some Euros for. As for the tea, I decided I could buy the tea back home in Steveston, if I really wanted it.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is also home to France’s automobile flagship showrooms. I wandered into the Toyota and Renault showrooms replete with racing cars on display. In particular, I gravitated to the F1 Championship winning Red Bull in the Renault showroom. It was hard to get a decent photo of the F1 car because everyone else was trying to take a picture with it. I am a part-time F1 fan. So seeing the Red Bull was a real highlight for me. I even walked out of the Renault showroom with a Red Bull Racing shirt. I couldn’t resist.
Across the street, there was yet another automobile showroom – Citroen. I was not about to bore my wife with more automobile showrooms. Instead, I decided to walk into the flagship store for the Paris Saint-Germain football club and bore her with football stuff. I didn’t get a good shot of the store. Funny enough, though. I got a photo of a Smart fortwo painted in Paris Saint-Germain livery in front of the Citroen showroom.
We didn’t do much other shopping along the Avenue that day, but we would later return for dinner and for me to purchase a Paris Saint-Germain jersey. Another purchase I couldn’t resist.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is worth visiting to gawk at the lineups outside LV. It’s a decent place to grab a meal, but it is a tourist area. So diner beware. Worth visiting just for the sake of saying I’ve been there.