La Vallée Village, Champs Élysées, McDonalds (Paris)

London & Paris Day 6 (Click here to return to the London & Paris Travelogue)
I will be covering the following places in this blog post.
- La Vallée Village
- Champs Élysées (Louis Vuitton, Abercrombie & Fitch, Disney Store)
- Laduree (For full blog post, click here)
- McDonalds

On the second last day of my London & Paris Trip, my family decided to go shopping! Paris is definitely one of the finest cities in the world for shopping. There are so many shopping streets to choose from such as Rue de Rivoli, Champs Élysées, Boulevard Hausssmann, Boulevard Montmartre. Don't get me started on the department stores and shopping centers. We had to choose wisely as we have limited time!

We decided to visit La Vallée Village Outlets and Champs-Élysées. We decided to go to La Vallée Village in the morning for the best deals and Champs-Élysées in the afternoon if we can't find the goods we want.

La Vallée Village Outlets

My family and I stayed at Lux Picpus Hotel which was near a Metro Station and the most convenient way to get to La Vallée Village was the RER. We took the RER-C from one of the RER stations in Paris to Val d'Europe (€15.00/S$26.10 for a return journey). It took 35-45 minutes by train. If you intend to visit Paris Disneyland, Paris Disneyland is a stop after La Vallée Village. Do not do both attractions on the same day as you probably will spend a lot of time shopping!

Alternately, you could take the Shopping Express shuttle that runs twice a day to/from Paris (Place des Pyramides) to La Vallée Village. The disadvantage is that you will have to stick to the fixed bus time table to return to Paris. It costs €15 each way. However, if you spend €100 or more, it will cost €7 for the return. In total, €22.00 for a return trip with purchase of €100 or more.
Val d'Europe Station
Val d'Europe Sign
If you are arriving from Monday-Saturday, you will have to walk through this huge shopping mall (Val d'Europe Shopping Center) to get to La Vallée Village Outlets which is behind this huge shopping mall shown below. On Sunday, the shopping mall will be closed and you will have to walk around the shopping mall or wait for the free shuttle bus(only on Sunday) which is suppose to come every 10 minutes.

Be sure to visit the Auchon supermarket located in the middle of the building which has everything you need, Asian food, halal food, fresh milk.
Shopping Mall
You could stop here for a meal as there many food options such as Dragon D'Europe restaurant for Chinese food, Kyoto Restaurant for Japnese food, Noura Restaurant (Halal libanese food), Paul Restaurant for sandwiches, Hippopotamus for Steaks. I had lunch at les Comptoirs Casino which is a supermarket cafeteria. It was cheap (9.50€/S$16.50) for a main course, drink and an appetiser or dessert. The hamburger steak I had was average but the large selection of appetisers and desserts which came with the meal was excellent.
Lunch at les Comptoirs Casino
Once you are through the mall, you will find major luxury brands at huge discounted prices, between 30% to 50%. You can check out La Vallée Village's website for the list of brands available. Do visit Longchamp as they are definitely cheaper, 15-45€ for a le pilage! Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed in the village. Wifi is free, just connect to any of the hotspots. Great for those who want to check with their family and friends the colour they want.
There are Amarino ice stands along the alleys who serve good quality ice cream in a flower shape. 
La Vallée Village

Champs Élysées

After some retail therapy at La Vallée Village Outlets, we travelled back to Paris to visit the Avenue des Champs-Élysées for even more retail therapy. Lined with cinemas, cafes, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, Avenue des Champs-Élysées is arguably one of the world's most famous streets. Several French monuments are also on the street which includes the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. The street is home to popular brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Lancel, Guerlian, Lacoste. More recently H&M (Sweden) and Abercrombie & Fitch (American) were allowed to open at Champs-Élysées. I did not take many pictures as my hands were full of bags!
The avenue runs for 1.91km and is extremely accessible. Here are some of the stations:
- Station Charles de Gaulle – Étoile at the street's west end
- George V by the Hôtel George-V
- Franklin D. Roosevelt at the rond-point des Champs-Élysées
- Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau at place Clemenceau
- Concorde (Paris Métro) at the southern end of the avenue, where the Place de la Concorde is located.

Let me share some highlights of my visit:
 Another view of Champs-Élysées, this time down towards Place de la Concorde.
The customer service at Louis Vuitton is probably the best in Paris. There are staffs from all around the world, making sure that there will not be any difficulties in communicating. The LV products are definitely cheaper than what we have in Asia. And the staff is more than willing to help with the necessary procedures for the VAT refund. All you have to do is bring a copy of your passport and they will get everything filled in for you. Just bring the forms to the airport customs to get the VAT refund stamped and you are done! You will be given two options of the VAT refund, 12% through credit card which takes several weeks or 10.8% cash refund.
This flagship stores is large and allows a certain number of people in at a time. You may have to wait in line for 15- 20 minutes before being allowed into the store. Unfortunately, you may feel at home since it is a little touristy with MANY ASIANS AROUND. Free Wifi. A MUST VISIT even if you are going to gawk at the merchandises. Opening hours: 10:00am - 8:00pm (Monday-Saturday) and 11:00am - 7:00pm (Sunday)
Louis Vuitton
Even in Paris, the strong sweet smelling A&F’s signature Fierce fragrance, is always present in the shop! Abercrombie and Fitch has a nice aristocratic box-hedged garden on the way in. The décor is positively museum-worthy. Unfortunately, no photography within the shop itself. Still, a MUST VISIT. Prices are similar to what we have in Singapore. Opening hours: 10:00am - 8:00pm (Monday-Saturday) and 11:00am - 7:00pm (Sunday)
Exterior of Abercrombie & Fitch
The box-hedge garden.
Exterior of Abercrombie & Fitch
This is Europe's largest Disney store which features something for everyone including the latest Hannah Montana and High School Musical merchandises, exclusive toys from Pixar and Disney favourites. Opening hours: 10am to 11pm (daily). Great for those who did not go to Disneyland Paris.
Disney Store Champs Elysees
There are plenty of food options on Champs Élysées but they maybe expensive. We tried macaroons from Laudrée and Baguette sandwiches from McDonalds. 
Ladurée with it's elegant tearoom, from the 19th century-style interior and service to the labyrinthine corridors that lead to the toilets. Check out my blog post on Ladurée! MUST TRY. €1.85/piece.
The McDonald's here serve Macarons at €1 and are said to be from the same factory as Ladurée in Switzerland. Why not give it a try? They have touchscreen kiosk where there is English if you have a phobia with the French. However, the counter staff spoke English which made my life so much easier. The Curry Sauce is WAY BETTER than the ones we have in Singapore. Oh, they serve baguette sandwiches, wedges and beer too. MUST TRY. A meal here costs around €10 per person.
At the end of the day, we went back to our hotels with our hands filled with bags! Let me answer some of the frequently asked questions!

Why do people enjoy shopping in Paris?
Most European brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Longchamp are cheaper in Europe because you can get VAT refund when you leave the country when you spend €175 in one shop on the same day! You will have to leave 6 months from the date of purchase and generally get 10-12% tax refund. Many tourists from Asia would spend thousands buying popular brands in Paris, Florence, Venice and Rome. Chinese visitors to Paris are estimated to spend an average of €1,470 (S$2557.80) each on shopping, mainly buying designer brands, according to Global Blue, the Swiss-based duty free services company. Remember to do it before you leave the last stop of any EU nation before returning home!

When are the sale seasons?
In France, the government sets certain times of the year when shops can put their merchandise on sale. Paperwork would have to be done for sales to be held outside the pre-ordained acceptable time. The sale season are in January (Winter Sales) and July (Summer Sales) which last roughly six weeks.

Who should I look for more information?
The Official website of Convention and Visitors Bureau, Paris Info.

How do I know where are the sale items?
When you see the word "soldes", it means "SALE" in French.

Where should I shop?
-  If you are in Paris for a short period of time, you should go to Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marché as most of the luxury brands are clustered in the same building.
 - If you are here for a longer period of time and find that the selections in Paris is expensive, you could consider travelling to La Vallee Village which is located at Marne-la-Vallee. La Vallee Village, a high-end outlet park located 30 minutes from Paris. They are open on Sundays when most of the stores in Paris are closed. Most of the Luxury brands are present here but they are out of season. They are usually 35% cheaper and you still get that VAT refund at the airport.

What you need to know:
- Only head to La Vallée Village Outlets if you know you will buy lots of stuff (I'm sure you will) as the trip itself costs €15 by train and €22 by bus.
-  La Vallée Village is 30 minutes away from Paris. It will be worth a trip if you have spare time in Paris. Don't miss out on the other attractions in Paris.
- Arc de Triomphe is on the Champs Élysées. You could do some sightseeing and shopping.
- Be sure to visit Louis Vuitton flagship store on Champs Élysées.

(Click here to return to the London & Paris Travelogue)

Here is a map to sum up Day 7 of my London & Paris Trip. Enjoy.
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About Haoming Koo

Koo Haoming. Founder of The Fat Chemist. Currently an undergrad at the National University of Singapore with a burning passion for science! Inspired to start a blog after reading the book, "Napoleon's Buttons, How 17 Molecules Changed History". The book fills the gap between Chemistry and History. Adapting the style of the book, posts written by me highlight the chemistry in the food we eat.
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