Friday, October 10, 2008

What to buy in France

Most of us are shoppers, curious people, bargain hunters. The places we visited were full of shops with beautiful products made by local artisans. I kept looking for bargains as well. Since a Euro translated to one-dollar-fifty or thereabout, I was constantly adding 50% of the price of each item to have a full idea of the purchase price. Since France has a value-added-tax of 20% already in the price, it was hard to come up with the bottom line. I must add that in order to collect the value-added-tax at the airport, one must keep good receipts and read the fine print.

This is what I bought: soaps; jars of fleur-de-sel with herbes-de-Provence; jars of jams and tapenade; scarfs and berets; a wool shawl; books; hats; and two paintings. The last two purchases were made by my husband and are still on route. He fell in love with both the artists and the paintings and by the time we left the galleries, he had left his patrimony on the table. I can't wait for these to arrive.

I started by wanting to buy scarfs and porcelains. Frenchmen all wear scarfs with creative touches. It turns out one can spend the cost of a vacation on one Hermes scarf or one beautiful pill box. I gave full attention to these items and appreciated the workmanship and the quality. If any reader has the money and wants to purchase these on line, they will get the most beautiful designs and quality in the world. I just couldn't see wearing a scarf that cost more than an entire outfit I'd wear, including new shoes and new coiffure.

We had to dispose of some things to make room for our purchases, with airlines keeping tabs of all our luggages and charging plenty for going over 50 lbss. Simple, undergarment and ordinary T's. To replace them, it would just be a few dollars in the States. Besides, who wants to bring back dirty laundry?

Those readers who are curious about any of the elements of this post, from products to recipes, can obtain more information, including authentic Provencal recipes by posting a request.

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