Shopping on the Champs-Élysées - Marks & Spencer and Mercedes-Benz

Part of the long line waiting to get into Marks & Spencer, Champs-Élysées on November 24.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a tweeter. And even though you can't determine a person's nationality on Twitter, it has been pretty obvious over the past couple of weeks if someone is American or English. Here's my methodology - if they're tweeting about how delicious the burger and fries are at Le Camion Qui Fume, an exciting new food truck in Paris, they're probably American. If they're tweeting about the re-opening of Marks & Spencer on the Champs-Élysées, chances are that they're British. I'm pleased to report that my accuracy rate is 99.99%.

While there are quite often lines in front of the well-known luxury stores on the Champs-Élysées, it has been amusing to hear people with English accents wondering why anyone would stand in front Marks & Sparks, the British retail store that sells clothing and luxury food products.

The line yesterday. Shorter, but still... The red ropes add to the allure.

For me, it was the thought of mince pies and well...mince pies that had me waiting in the cold. Upon entering the store, I made a quick reconnaissance of the women's wear (nope, nothing for men or children) and headed towards the food department, where there was yet another line.

Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long to discover that there wasn't a lot left on the shelves. People were throwing Christmas puddings, English muffins and scones in their baskets as quickly as the employees could restock. Best of all was overhearing the "What is this?" comments made by the French people who were baffled by many of the products. They reminded me of how I feel when overwhelmed by the selection of cheese or wine in the local stores.

Here's what ended up in my basket, along with prices for anyone who is curious to know how much English delicacies cost in Paris: mince pies (2.99€), streaky bacon (2.39€), Welsh cakes (1.79€), English muffins (.99€), sliced mild cheddar (2.79€) and red Leicester cheese (2.89€).

Getting my fix of mince pies for the year must have gone straight to my head because I found myself inexplicably drawn to the Mercedes-Benz showroom. Ok, I admit it - I'm always drawn to the car showrooms on the Champs-Élysées. I can't help it. Maybe it's a side effect of riding the metro all of the time.

Among the suitcases, caps and model cars, I noticed these wine stoppers that were inspired by the gear shifters of Mercedes-Benz classic cars. While I agree that there may be a need for stoppers for red, rose and white wine, I'm slightly baffled by the one for champagne.


  1. Lines--I simply don't understand. Sprinkles, a cupcake emporium on Walton, heralded by Oprah, will often have a line out the door and to the corner but I go two blocks in the opposite direction and buy mine at More. Having never ventured into Sprinkles, I don't know if I'm missing anything as More is perfectly fine. Lines, I simply won't wait in them.

    The food prices seem about the same as similar items here in downtown Chicago, especially compared to items in the Treasure Island which imports many good from across the pond. I'll have to look for some mince pies--do those include ground meat as well?

    The wine stoppers, oh my, dear me, hmmmm. Just wrong on so many fronts but I guess if there's a car aficionado on your shopping list this might be right up the alley. Does the champagne stopper have a clamp that can retain the pressure released by the bubbles? If so, then honestly, it can keep your champagne 'fresh' for an additional day. I will often put one on top of my bottle just as it sits to be poured between glasses and slowly remove it to control the release of pressure.

  2. Now that I've eaten my fill of mince pies, I'll probably start craving cupcakes. My all time favorite is wedding cake white. Tooth achingly sweet but oh so delicious.

    The mince pies that I've eaten haven't had ground meat in them They're like the American Thanksgiving version only they're much smaller and made with shortcrust pastry. Since I don't like American mince pie, I didn't expect to like these, but I've been hooked ever since I first tried them at a Christmas carol service.

    The champagne stopper didn't seem to have a pressure clamp. It just came as a bit of a surprise that there would be champagne left in a bottle. We usually do our best to finish it off because we didn't know that it would be good the following day. I'll have to try it sometime...but not on New Year's Eve!

  3. Do you ever add another liquor to champagne? Say, Chambord for Kir Royale? My local bistrot has put on the menu a champagne and Chartreuse mixture--I haven't tried it yet, but they are two of my favorites, so I feel one coming on.

    If I'm served an overly sweet (bad) champagne, I try to add a dash of good vodka'--it's called a Silver Bullet, and it can be lethal.

  4. I've decided. My daughter is going to that uni in Paris whether she wants to or not! I HAVE to get to shop in M&S every now and again!

  5. Joseph, Kir Royales are a favorite of mine! As I rarely drink anything other than wine, champagne and the occasional beer, I think that I'll have to pass on the SIlver Bullet. "Lethal" sounds a bit too dangerous for me. ; ) Please let me know how you like the champagne Chartreuse mixture.

    Steph, I agree that your daughter should go to uni in Paris...but if she doesn't, M&S plans to open some more stores in France. Perhaps there will even be one in your village soon.

  6. Greatpost - good on ya for the 'cultural assessment' and virtually 100% accuracy - love it!

    Thanks for the wonderful views of Paris too.

    Cheers and enjoy.

  7. indeed a great post and well written!!!


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