Personally, it ticks me off when I purchase an item abroad, carry it around all day and spend time packing it carefully, only to find the same thing in the specialty or duty-free shops in the airport. So, on a recent Paris excursion, I got smart. Shopping at Charles DeGaulle Airport is not only convenient but also efficient. Many luxury brands found on the Boulevard Saint-Germain and along the Champs-Élysée can be picked-up before boarding your flight. I was wowed by the selections available in Terminal 2. Here are some of my favorites.
Luxury Fashion Accessories & Fragrances
Hermès is perfect for the last-minute panic shopper. You tried on a dress and weren’t sure it was flattering enough to spring for. Or their fabulous H Bracelet came in too many colors for you to decide which one had your name on it. Finding the same items at the airport gives you one last chance to love it or leave it. Also, I know from personal experience that if you can’t find your guy an appropriate souvenir, Hermès ties make great last-minute gifts.
Longchamp carries the most well-liked styles and the new collections at the airport. End-of-season sale items can mean even more savings for travelers.
Fragonard, France’s popular fragrance boutique sells beautifully packaged gift sets of perfumes, colognes, soaps, and lingerie pouches.
Trinkets for Gifting & Collecting
Mont Blanc and Swarovski carry fewer items than their stand-alone stores, but a decent selection of traditional styles mixed in with the new collections means you won’t have any trouble finding a trinket or two. Of course, most everything here you can find in many U.S. cities so only buy if you find a specific style not found stateside or if you want bragging rights to say you purchased it in Paris.
“Fnac” is perfect when you arrive at the airport and realize you’ve forgotten some electronic gadget that was supposed to help you survive the long trip home. They have the best headphones on the market and everything necessary to be plugged-in while enduring the time in a crowded cabin.
Gastronomic Gifts too Good to Give Away
Ladurée macaroons boxed and ready to walk on the plane with you are in every CDG terminal now thanks to the faux coach kiosks, which was the best idea ever. I am much more apt to buy these colorful treats for friends knowing I won’t have to lug them from my hotel to the airport and through security. Hint: give these to friends who have not been to Paris and have no idea you were able to snag them at the airport. Unsuspecting recipients will marvel at how clever you were to find such amazing treats without even getting stuck in Paris traffic.
La Maison du Chocolat makes fine chocolates and macaroons. Pick up yummies in the signature red box with a white bow for presents or do what I do and select a few pieces that you swear to yourself you’ll share with others and then eat them on the plane. I am pretty sure you don’t have to pay duty on food you consumed while in international airspace.
Duty-Free Shopping for Culinary, Wine & Spirits, Cosmetics & More
Buy Paris Duty-Free can be the best place to load up on difficult scents to find or your favorite French cosmetics. Don’t expect any bargains and keep in mind your allowance for bringing such items into the U.S. Enjoy the expert advice from the aestheticians that work with the products every day.
To bring a taste of Paris home for you or a friend, shop duty-free for cheese, chocolate, foie gras, and more. Note: As long as the cheese is pasteurized and the foie gras is in a metal can, you can whisk it through US Customs without a problem.
And, of course, we can’t forget the wine and spirits. Duty-Free is the best place to pick up a bottle of that delicious French wine you’ve been drinking on your trip. Or if you’d rather, pick up a bottle of Ricard and extend the pastis cocktail season to your home.
Be Relax they say in France. All that last-minute shopping can wear anyone down. Luckily CDG has several locations of the chain of massage and beauty treatment kiosks called Be Relax. If you have the time you can have a shoulder massage, pedicure, manicure, or various other treatments. If you’re in a hurry, they sell aids to help you treat yourself while on the plane, such as neck pillows and gadgets with nobs on them to grind away knots from your achy muscles.
So, why waste valuable time shopping in Paris for items that can be found at the airport on your way home? Perusing the duty-free areas and terminal shops can not only free up time better spent seeing the sights, but it can also eliminate carrying purchases around and having to deal with packing them for the return trip home.
Remember, if you have a connecting flight upon arriving in the USA, liquids will need to be moved to your checked luggage before reentering security. Make sure you save room. Otherwise, the TSA agents are going to have a party!
For a complete list of shops in all terminals visit www.easycdg.com.