Today’s post is all about my experience Chanel shopping at Rue Cambon and other Chanel boutiques in Paris! On Saturday morning at 07:35 I hopped on the first flight (with Swiss Air) out of Zurich to Paris, by 09:05 I was at the airport and making my way by taxi (strongly recommend using G7 Booking to book your taxi) to the city. I should mention if I had more time and weren’t travelling alone I would have taken the train and metro connection. I reached 31 Rue Cambon at 09:55 and there were already three people in line waiting for the boutique to open at 10:00.
When the boutique opened, and I entered, I was pleasantly greeted by the security guard and by one of the sales assistants, Aya who ended up assisting me during my visit. Aya is the epitome of Chanel, elegant yet unpretentious I later found out that she has been working at the Rue Cambon boutique for 17 years! I read a lot online that the Chanel sales assistants can be snooty and unapproachable, Aya was the contrary she was professional yet friendly and more than anything welcoming.
I was looking for the seasonal Chanel rectangle mini or medium flap in pink with light gold hardware; unfortunately, this is currently sold out in all of France. However, they did have it in the square mini version below, which was so cute!
There was no other rectangle mini’s in other colours in stock, and as for the medium flaps, there were many beautiful colours but none that I was after. They did have a light pink in patent leather, but after my experience with patent leather with my extra mini, I tend to stay away from patent bags in general.
Since I was unsuccessful on the bag front, I moved on to the two SLG’s that were on my list: a small O Case in black caviar with silver hardware and the elusive classic cardholder that looks like a mini wallet – in black caviar leather with silver hardware. I know, I know I don’t need another cardholder – but this one has been on my radar since last year. There were quite a few Boy coin purses and cardholders without the flap also in stock (see photos below). Unfortunately, there weren’t any small O Cases at the boutique, but Aya located one at Printemps. Rue Cambon had the cardholder I was looking for, but only in lambskin, again Aya found it at another boutique, this time it was at Rue Royale.
We then moved onto the shoe department just to have a little browse. Since I recently got my Chanel slingbacks in pink, I was good 🙂
The next department was jewellery there was a good selection of brooches and earrings. Again I had two items on my list a pair of earrings and a brooch – happy to report that I found both items! (unboxing coming soon). At this time Aya and I had been chatting about my obsession with Chanel and how much I love the brand. Aya offered to show me around the ready-to-wear department which was as I expected – beautiful. I was in tweed heaven and fell in love with so many beautiful blazers. Since I am still building up my handbag collection, for now, I decided to pass on a classic jacket, but will be sure to revisit this wardrobe staple in the future!
I also popped into the makeup section, but it was rather small, and all of the limited edition items were already sold old. The tax refund paperwork was quick (blog post on this coming soon) and by the time I finished paying Aya had my bags ready for me! Aya was very kind to individually pack each of my small pieces into their signature white bag and placed both into a large white bag (without me even asking) since she knew how happy I was to have my first visit at the Rue Cambon store. Again without me asking she took me to the iconic staircase leading up to Gabrielle Chanel’s second-floor apartment. She offered to take my photo, but after my early morning start, I was a bit of a mess and politely declined! I did take a picture of my goodies on the staircase though 🙂
After we had said our goodbyes, Aya handed me her business card, and she told me I could contact her whenever I wanted something that I could not find in Zurich or if I was visiting Paris again. She was also very kind to give me a card listing all the Chanel boutiques in Paris as she knew I was on my little Chanel tour in Paris 😉 I spent over an hour at the boutique and was done by 11:06. What I loved about the experience was I never felt rushed, even though Aya knew I was very particular with what I wanted (which meant I wasn’t going to purchase a bag on that day – since the pink rectangle minis were sold out) she still did not rush the sale. She took her time, and she showed me around the ready-to-wear department knowing I had no intention to purchase anything there. Considering she sees so many people who have their first time “wow” moment at this legendary boutique every day, she still indulged me and was happy to share little anecdotes about Gabrielle Chanel and the history of Chanel.
Armed with my new goodies and list of boutiques to visit I walked over to Chanel Rue Royale (5 minutes walk via Rue Saint Honoré) to find my cardholder. There were no rectangle mini’s, but they did have a few wallet on chains in pink and black. The boutique did have the cardholder I was looking for, so I was able to purchase it there, they also had a variety of wallets and cardholders in different colours. The customer service was very good, and all the sales assistants were very friendly.
My next stop was the Chanel Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré boutique (3 minutes walk from Rue Royale). This was a lovely modern boutique, and the sales assistants were all very friendly and welcoming. I was immediately helped by a nice young lady that had just moved to Paris about three weeks ago. Again I asked for a rectangle mini (Aya had told me it doesn’t hurt to ask as maybe the systems weren’t updated since the day before and there could be new stock) and a small O case. Of course, there were no rectangle minis in stock, but she had a few O cases, none of which were in black caviar leather though. Like Aya, she also checked on the system and found one in stock at the Printemps boutique which was to be my last Chanel stop for the day. If I had more time, I would have gone to the boutique at Avenue Montaigne and Bon Marché, but there is always next time 😉
By the time I finished up at Faubourg Saint-Honoré it was already 12:00 so I decided to head on over to Galeries Lafayette. It is about 16 minutes away by foot, but I was being lazy and chose to take a taxi. Funny story, as soon as I entered the department store it took me a few seconds to decide which direction to go in as it’s a huge store, a security guard came up to me and asked me: “Are you looking for Chanel? It is down to the left.”. Haha was it that obvious??
The architecture at Galeries Lafayette is quite opulent and grandiose. I wish I had enough time to go through the entire department store. I did go to the Chanel makeup section, I was looking for the limited edition highlighter, but that was sold out. I headed to the Chanel boutique, there was already a queue outside, after about 10 minutes of waiting one of the sales assistants escorted a few of us to the Chanel boutique upstairs. A few people were waiting to be assisted, the sales assistant/hostess offered me something to drink while I waited and handed me an iPad to browse the current collection. After about 10 minutes a sales assistant was ready to see me, I gave her the code of the O case I was looking for. By the way, none of the sales assistants in any of the Chanel boutiques that I visited knew what I was talking about when I mentioned the word O Case until I showed a photo, they just referred to it as a pouch. I guess the term O case is used in American boutiques and possibly Anglo-Saxon countries?? After some waiting the sales assistant said she could not find the pouch even though it was showing up in the system, she thought it could have just recently been sold and just not updated on the system. So no O case for me. I also enquired about the rectangle mini again, no pink in stock she only had a black patent leather in chevron available. She also showed me the wallet on chains available in green, black and blue.
So I left empty handed, however afterwards I grabbed a quick lunch, briefly stopped at the Tuileries Garden to take a stroll around. Then I headed back to the airport by taxi (plan enough time to get to the airport Paris afternoon traffic can be a nightmare) and got in a long line to get my vat refund processed (more about this in my upcoming post) before flying back to Zurich!
I think there are many preconceptions and misconceptions about how one should be dressed to receive excellent customer service. In Paris less is more, you don’t find many Parisian women dressed head to toe in designer wear. My tips would be to dress comfortably, especially if you plan on visiting multiple shops in one day. I wore black skinny jeans, a cashmere pullover, short trench coat and classic Chanel flats. I carried my Longchamp tote because I wanted a bag that was unassuming, could fit an umbrella (Spring in Paris is unpredictable), can carry my camera and that could fit a few goodies that I would collect along the way.
If you are polite and friendly, I truly believe you will get the same back wherever in the world you might be. If you do encounter a rude sales assistant always remember they could just be having a bad day, they are human after all 😉
Visiting many boutiques in one day can be overwhelming so I suggest making a list of specific items you really want and make a note of the reference numbers, this helps the sales assistant to find your item faster. Finally, don’t forget to ask before you take photos of items you could be interested in as some boutiques don’t allow that in Paris.
Thank you so much for reading, if you have any questions about any of the boutiques that I visited, please don’t hesitate to ask me.