I guess I had a greater excuse than most to go shopping in France. When I got off the plane at Charles de Gaulle after my long overnight flight, I got a notification on my phone from Delta saying that my luggage had not arrived with me. After a couple days of yelling on the phone with the airline, I basically accepted my fate that I was without almost all my clothes for the foreseeable future. When I arrived to meet my host family after our Paris orientation with just my carry-on luggage and a tote bag, I sadly explained my predicament.
My host mom shrugged and responded to me, “at least you have an excuse to go shopping in France!” At the time I just wanted my stuff back, but I do love shopping, so I was trying to see the silver lining in this situation.
After a day of orientation in Rennes I finally got to explore the city center and do some shopping. The town has a lot more stores than I expected and a ton of stores that Americans don’t have. Beyond the usual H&M and Zara, there was a store called Pimke with tons of cute mom jeans and even a store called Agent Papier, where you can buy different pieces of paper to cut or fold into different animals, plants, even working lamps and clocks!
My favorite place to go, however, must be Visitation. It’s a mall in the city center, right by Saint Anne metro station. It’s not too big but has a large 2 story H&M, and an amazing candy store called Magic Pills. I’ve never been much for candy stores but it’s nice after a long day of class to roll in there, fill a giant bag with nothing but different flavors of sour strips and only pay 5€ for it. They also have some other American delights, like pretzel M&Ms (objectively the best flavor, don’t argue) and, surprisingly, Lucky Charms! However, my favorite stores at visitation must be Bershka and Pull&Bear. They’re both owned by Zara and offer trendy, but still super wearable, fashion at a more affordable price than Zara. Bershka is a bit more fashion forward and Pull&Bear goes for a more “typical American teen” vibe, which is expressed hilariously in their nonsensical “American” t-shirts.
While students here don’t necessarily turn up for class in a cocktail dress and heels, they still dress up for class way more than American students. I feel the need to put together an “outfit” every day, not just throw on some clothes. Checking out all the cool French stores and seeing what everyone is wearing on campus inspires me to wear something cute every day. While I did get my luggage back after almost 2 weeks, I was kind of thankful that it forced me to go shopping in France. I must keep up with the locals after all!