The best shopping destinations in France

Forget Paris! Bordeaux is one of France’s most sophisticated shopping cities

Forget Paris! Bordeaux is one of France’s most sophisticated shopping cities

When you think of shopping in France, you probably immediately think of Paris. It is true that the capital is up there as one of the world's greatest shopping cities, but there are plenty of other fabulous destinations to spend some cash and spoil yourself if you fancy a change of scene.

Rue Sainte-Catherine

Location: Bordeaux, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Drive from Calais: 8h 10m / 877km

The Rue Sainte-Catherine is famous as one of the world’s best shopping streets
The Rue Sainte-Catherine is famous as one of the world’s best shopping streets. Photo by Alain Muller.

Bordeaux's famous Rue Sainte-Catherine is often hailed as Europe's longest pedestrian shopping street at just over 1.2km in length. So, if you think of yourself as something of a serious shopper, then surely this street is up there on your list of personal shopping challenges. The main draws for shoppers visiting Bordeaux are the department store, Galeries Lafayette, and the shopping arcade, Galerie Bordelaise, built in 1834. You'll also find all the most popular high street shops along the Rue Sainte-Catherine, such as Zara and H&M, as well as lots of local French brands.

Once you've exhausted all that the local shops have to offer, you might like to explore the rest of the city, half of which is actually UNESCO listed, making it the largest World Heritage site in a city. Head to the Miroir d'Eau, the world's largest 'reflecting pool', for an iconic holiday snap in front of the Palais de la Bourse. And whilst you're in town, you can't pass up the chance to try some of the world-renowned local wines. There's no better place to learn all about the wine-making process and culture than La Cité du Vin, which you can get to by tram on Line B, or drive to in your car as there is plenty parking nearby.

Annecy Flea Market

Location: Annecy, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Drive from Calais: 7h 30m / 837km

Explore the market stalls around the canals in Annecy
Explore the market stalls around the canals in Annecy.

On the last Saturday of the month, if you drive down to Annecy you'll be in for a treat, as this is when the town hosts their local flea market. This isn't your average flea market, as professional sellers and artisans travel from all over to sell their wares, including art, crafts, clothing, and plenty of curios and antiques. The stalls are set up all over town, lining the streets and canals, so the shopping experience is also something of a walking tour. Whether you're looking for vintage furniture, a one-of-a-kind piece of art, or even a pair of antique wooden skis, you're sure to find it here.

All that shopping and bargain hunting is hungry work, so it's important to stay well-fed and watered. If the weather's mild enough (or not, if you don't mind the cold!), a picnic on the waterfront of Lac d'Annecy will be a meal you won't soon forget, as the crystal-clear waters offset by the backdrop of the Alps is a view sure to stay with you. If it does happen to be a little too chilly for you, there are plenty of great restaurants in town that serve delicious local food, and you can enjoy the views on a lake-side walk instead.

Marché des Halles de Menton

Location: Menton, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Drive from Calais: 11h 43m / 1,274km

The colourful little town of Menton is as pretty as a picture
The colourful little town of Menton is as pretty as a picture.

The Marché des Halles de Menton was built in 1898, and has been used as a market hall ever since. You'll find some sort of market here almost every day, except for Mondays, selling a variety of clothes, toys, flowers, and most famously, food. The local produce is truly incredible, and there are about 40 or so stands for you to browse and choose from, making it tricky to know where to start – but what a lovely predicament to find yourself in! If you're lucky enough to be staying in the local area and have access to a cooker, just imagine all the recipes you can try out with those fresh ingredients.

But if you prefer to leave the cooking to someone else, you can always enjoy a meal at one of the many local restaurants. If you really feel like spoiling yourself, book a table overlooking the sea at two Michelin-starred Le Mirazur, which currently boasts fourth place in the world's best restaurant list. If your tastes are a little simpler, sample the homemade delights at Maison Martin et Fils, tucked away just behind the covered market. Wherever you dine, you're guaranteed a feast, and given Menton's location on the southern coast of France near the Italian border, the weather is always pretty mild. So, after dinner you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach to walk off your food and take in the views of the pretty paint-box town reflected in the calmly lapping waters.

Have you got the urge to shop 'til you drop? When you book your tickets with us early you get the best price, which means more spending money!

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Prices start from £30 per car, each way* *£30 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day. Book your travel now