One question I get asked frequently is, “are luxury brands cheaper in Paris? and “Are designer bags cheaper in Europe?” Today, I'm excited to answer your burning questions about the pricing of designer brands and bags in Paris and Europe. Paris is home to many luxury fashion houses, including household names such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Hermes, Chloe, YSL and Celine just to name a few. Plus, there are hundreds of smaller designers and brands in Paris. It’s no wonder that people travel from all over the world travel to Paris for the ultimate shopping experience. If people from around the world travel to Paris just to go shopping, it begs the question, are luxury brands really that much cheaper in Paris?
The short answer is yes, luxury brands are cheaper in Paris. If you are looking for a designer handbag, belt, accessory, clothing, etc then Paris is the place to go! Let’s dive down to the nitty-gritty and explain why luxury brands are cheaper in Paris and Europe. Brands that are created in Europe are cheaper because when these luxury goods are shipped all over the world there is an import tax, duty tax and transportation cost associated with it.
For Example: take a Hermés, Birkin Size 30 bag with Togo leather, the price in Paris is €7,000, which would be equivalent to $8,228 USD. However, in the USA the price for a Birkin is $10,900 + Sales Tax = $11,650.16 (NYC). If you buy this same bag in Paris, you will save roughly $3,422. If you are making a luxury purchase, the amount you will save by purchasing a bag in Paris makes the trip worth it. Think of it like getting a free trip to Paris!
Update as of 2023, With the Euro and the USD being almost equal, you will save even more money shopping in Europe! The same theory applies for countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and many others. Shop preloved luxury handbags.
Which Luxury brands are cheaper in Paris?
The best rule to follow when identifying which brands and bags are cheaper in Europe is to check to see whether that brand is actually made in Europe. If the brand is made in Europe, it will be less expensive. If the brand is made in America and you are buying it in Paris, you’ll have to pay the import Tax, thus making it more expensive. Some of the most popular brands that will be cheaper in Paris include, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Balmain, Christian Louboutin, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), Roger Vivier, Thierry Mugler, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermès, Lanvin, Chloé, Rochas, and Céline.
Many people don’t know this, but twice a year by law Paris has sales. This is the only time of the year brands are able to put their products on sale. If you are an avid shopper I recommend scheduling your trip around these events. In the summer the sales start the last Wednesday of June, and in the Winter the sales start the second Wednesday in January. Many of the top luxury fashion houses have put their products on sale!
Keep in Mind, if you’re looking for that classic Birkin from Hermes or the Neverfull from Louis Vuitton, these bags never go on sale. If you are looking to shop like a Parisian, I've also written an article about where Parisian's shop.
Recently I've written an entire article about how Louis Vuitton handbags are cheaper in Italy, Paris, and Europe.
Do you receive the tax refund on luxury goods in Paris?
The great news is that if you spend over 100.01 Euros you’re entitled to the tax refund process in Paris. The tax refund includes luxury goods! Most of the time the sales associate will automatically fill your paperwork, but in case they don’t make sure you ask! You are only eligible for the VAT tax refund process in Paris if you are a non-European citizen and are not part of the EU. Here is a quick breakdown of the qualifications:
- Spend more than 100.01 Euros in the same store, the same day
- Cannot be a member of the EU (European Union)
- Must be older than 16
- Must not be in France longer than 6 months
- Make sure you have your passport with you the time of the purchase
- Have your item readily available to show the customs officer at the airport / train station
When you are processing the tax refund paperwork you have the ability to get the VAT tax back immediately in cash or you can have it added back to your credit card which can take up to 3 months.
If you want cash back immediately, you receive 10.8% of your purchases back as long as you depart from the EU within 21 days. If you decide to wait and have it refunded on your credit card, you will receive 12% cash back. If you decide to add the tax refund back to your credit card, sometimes I can be processed very quickly such as 2 weeks and other times (especially during the busy season) it can take up to 3 months.
Don’t forget To take your tax refund paperwork and the envelope to the airport! Once you arrive at the airport, find the tax refund kiosk, scan the document and drop it off in the ‘mailbox’. Depending on what your tax refund scans says, you may not need to drop your paperwork in the mailbox. Please ask the customs officer if you have any questions. When you arrive at the airport, there will be ‘mailboxes’ at these locations:
At Paris-Orly: South Terminal: Departures level, gate G, West Terminal: Arrivals level, gate E
At Paris-Charles de Gaulle: Terminal 1: CDGVAL level, hall 6, Terminal 2A: Departures level, gate 5, Terminal 2C: Departures level, gate 12, Terminal 2D: Departures level, gate 6, Terminal 2E: Departures level, gate 4, Terminal 2F: Arrivals level, Terminal 3: Departures level, airside.
I'm mentioned this before in other articles, I highly recommend you take a photo of your phone of all the VAT tax refund paperwork. I would love to hear your experiences with shopping for luxury brands and bags in Paris, did you find it was cheaper in Europe?
Sincerely Petite in Paris,