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The Riches of Paris

Book Review

book cover The Riches of Paris
Maribeth Clemente
Paper, US $16.95
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN 0-312-26907-2

For many visitors, shopping represents the heart and soul of the Parisian tourist experience. Their Louvre is Printemps, the Galeries Lafayette, or Le Bon Marché; to these mavens of mercantilism, a selection of household linens at Catherine Memmi evokes as much joy as an organ concert at Notre Dame or dinner at a three-star restaurant. Now, thanks to Maribeth Clemente, they have a new bible: The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide.

The 372-page book is divided into three sections:

The Essentials: When to go, what and where to buy, money, French clothing sizes and other "shop talk," bringing and shipping purchases home, packing tips, and other practicalities.

The Districts: The author leads you on a tour of some 30 shopping areas in Paris, from the "Golden Triangle" (big-name fashion designers) to Neuilly ("suburban chic"). Detailed shop descriptions are grouped by street to help you find boutiques with the aid of a map. This 276-page shopping section includes sidebars on restaurants and hotels within each district.

More Shopping: Auctions, flea markets, the big department stores, discount shopping, and English-language bookstores are some of the topics covered in this section. The book ends with a French shopping glossary, including such essential terms as les soldes (the sales) and détaxe (tax refund).

Verdict: A worthy competitor to Suzy Gershman's Born to Shop: Paris, written by an author who ran the "Chic Promenade" shopping service while living in Paris for 11 years, and who wrote The Chic Shopper's Guide to Paris. Maribeth Clemente's other current book is The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces from St. Martin's Press.

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