October 3, 2016

31 Rue Cambon, Paris, France

      Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know that I bought something very special from the original Chanel store located at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris. I've always always wanted a Chanel handbag for as long as I can remember (like, at least middle school long), but being someone that is realistic about my budget and obligatory bills (adulting is hard), I didn't think it was going to be in my near future. But, after thorough research, numerous calculations (gotta incorporate that VAT refund!), and months of saving away my monthly paychecks - I finally did it when I went to Paris. If you're curious to see what I bought, and my experience with the VAT refund, read on ahead!

      Isn't "he" glorious!? I would like to introduce you to my first Chanel bag - the medium boy in black caviar leather with Ruthenium hardware. It was a hard decision between taking him home, or his bigger sibling the medium plus. I so badly wanted to get a bigger bag (the price difference between the medium and medium plus wasn't that substantial), but being petite at 5'2'', the old medium looked a lot better on me. I'm so happy with him, and I can't wait to take him out (when the rainy weather we've been having lately in NYC stops)! My shopping experience at the original Chanel store was very pleasant. Although, there was a wait of about 5-6 people already in front of me waiting to be helped by a sales associate when I went on a Monday afternoon, I didn't wait too long. I estimate I waited around 15 or so minutes. Once I was being helped though, they in no way rush you. I didn't feel like I was rushed or pressured into purchasing anything - on the contrary, the sales associates were really patient and accommodating. Afterwards when you're done purchasing your item, they come out with the iconic white Chanel shopping bag. (If you didn't know already, 31 Rue Cambon is the only Chanel store in the world to give out white shopping bags and white boxes as it was Coco Chanel's first store) In conclusion, I'm ecstatic as I got to experience buying my first Chanel bag in Paris, and I saved a significant amount of money at that if I were to buy the same bag here in the United States!


VAT Refund

      The sales associates and staff at the original Chanel store are highly experienced with the VAT refund as it is a place where a lot of tourists (like myself) visit. Be sure to bring your passport with you as they can't fill out the tax refund form without it. After they fill it out, you're escorted into a separate room to the side of the sales floors where another staff member inputs your information into the computer and prints out the actual VAT refund form for you. Guard this form (and your newly purchased Chanel goodies) with your life because without it, you won't get your refund! Speaking of refund, it's so easy at Charles du Gaulle (the biggest international airport nearest to Paris). All of the VAT forms from the original Chanel store (and I'm going to safely assume the other Chanel stores in Paris), are "Pablo" verified. It means that it's a self-authenticating document which means that you don't have to go to the custom's officer at the airport to have your refund form "stamped" and verified. All you have to do is take the refund form which has a bar code on it, scan it under the kiosks located at the airport (before you go through security into the actual departures wings with the gates), and voila! If you get a green screen, you're good to go and your refund should be refunded to your credit card in approximately 2 weeks or two. It was as easy as scanning an item under the Target price checkers and I was in and out in less than 2 minutes. Also keep in mind that you may have to pay US duty fees when reentering the country. Duty is hard to anticipate because it could be up the the discretion of the customs officer. Still, I read in several sources that the usual fee is 3% of the total amount above the exemption amount ($800 per person).

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