Lèche-vitrine is what the French call window shopping. Well, it actually translates to window licking, which is kinda gross (could you image the layers of bacteria on those store windows). But when you see some of the beautiful displays in store windows…sometimes you do feel like eating them!
I imagine myself crawling through the window, being part of the display and rolling around in all that French style. That certain je ne sais quoi! The French have it-so do their window displays.
I have a degree in Retail Business Management, with a minor in Fashion Merchandising, so the visual part of me is no stranger to window displays. I am drawn to displays wherever I go-but in Paris it is extra special.
Some of my favorite areas in Paris to window shop are the Marais, right off the Place des Vosges, the Place de la Madeleine, the Boulevard Saint-Germain des Prés (this is where some of the high end designer shops are like Fragonard, Dior and Armani), the Place Saint Sulpice and my persoanl favorite,the I'le Saint Louis.
If you do decide to leave your licking and go in for a closer look,keep in mind the French have an etiquette that you should respect when shopping. Follow these rules and you should get proper treatment-ignore them and be prepared to be laughed at or perhaps not treated kindly.
- Always greet the salespeople with 'Bonjour'
- Never touch the merchandise without asking permission first. Most salespeople want you to let them show you the item. It's not like TJMaxx where you just rifle through the merch.
- Whether you are buying or not, always say 'Merci, au revoir' when you leave.
One of the best parts of lèche-vitrine, is that when I am shopping in Paris, I don't need to actually buy anything to feel like I've had an 'experience'. My wallet appreciates that concept too.
Photos: Storefronts around Paris