Photograph by Fabrice Coffrini/Getty
From the National Geographic book The 10 Best of Everything
The Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich's resplendent, tree-lined exclusive shopping avenue, stretches a mile (1.4 kilometers). You'll find some of Switzerland's top shopping along its length, from top clothing designers to high-end options for shoes, furs, accessories, china, and jewelry. And, of course, Swiss watches.
Beverly Hills, California
Rodeo Drive manages to pack in enough audacious glitz to qualify as one of the world's most glamorous and expensive shopping stretches. Just off Rodeo lies Two Rodeo, a strip of boutiques modeled after European boutiques, with cobblestones, fountains, and bistros. Perhaps its least known amenity is the free two-hour valet parking.
Reykjavík's main shopping street hosts numerous clothing boutiques and an assortment of shops offering accessories, leather goods, cosmetics, lingerie, books, music, and the finest handmade knitwear and woolen goods. If you buy an outfit from one of the local fashion houses, rest assured it will be original.
The Ginza, comprising eight blocks, is Tokyo's most exclusive shopping area. It boasts some of the most expensive real estate on Earth. Known luxury and exclusive retailers stand side by side with Tokyo's landmark department stores, Mitsukoshi, Wako (whose clock is a landmark unto itself), and the 14-story Marion. The latter actually houses seven movie theaters and two department stores. Many store windows feature elaborate displays that showcase typical Japanese culture. At night colorful neon and fluorescent lights flood the Ginza with light, bringing the otherwise gray city to life.
New York City, New York
Large landmark department stores (Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Macy's) and small high-end designer name boutiques (Ferragamo, Harry Winston, Versace, Emanual Ungaro, Gucci, Henri Bendel, Tiffany, Steuben, Christian Dior) make New York's Fifth Avenue a shopper's paradise. In December, the stores mount elaborate displays—doormen dressed as toy soldiers at FAO Schwarz, a 27-foot (8-meter) sparkling snowflake floating over the street outside Tiffany, winter wonderland scenes in Macy's windows—that attract holiday shoppers and sightseers. Strolling the crowded sidewalks of Fifth Avenue at this time of year is a special treat.
Just a few blocks off Lake Michigan, North Michigan Avenue is home to such shopping greats as Gucci, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, and Hermes, as well as Bigsby & Kruthers, a renowned local retailer. The crowds on the Magnificent Mile can be overwhelming on weekends.
Avenue Montaigne, located in the "golden triangle" between the Champs Elysées and the Seine River, is the fanciest avenue in Paris. The fashionable and the well-monied shop in the myriad luxury boutiques—Bulgari and Louis Vuitton among them—and haute-couture houses—Emmanuel Ungaro, Guy Laroche, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, and Chanel—that lie within the avenue's elegant buildings.
World-famous fashion houses, jewelers, and art galleries line the sweeping Avinguda Diagonal, which forms part of Barcelona's three-mile (five-kilometer) shopping line. Some of the finer shops are found on Passeig de Gracia, Via Augusta, Carrer de Tuset, and the exclusive Avinguda Pau Casals—small, elegant streets just off Avinguda Diagonal. You will stroll through a mix of Gothic and modern architecture. The avenue has a pick of fun and fine cafés to stop in for tapas.
Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, & Galleria Vittorio Emanuel
Milan is a fashion paradise and center of style, with matching high price tags. In the Duomo area, Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele house elegant boutiques and posh cafés inside romantic landmark Victorian buildings. In addition to the internationally known fine fashion names, the area has inside favorites, such as La Rinascente, Milan's most famous department store, 9 Peck, a renowned food store, and Provera, a favorite for its vintage wine selection. In the streets, there's always a parade of well-heeled Italians casually modeling the latest fashions.
Bond Street is home to the most elegant and expensive shops in London. You will find designer clothing, perfume, art and antiques, jewelers, and more Royal Warrant holders (suppliers to the royal family) here than anywhere else in London. Old Bond Street, the short section at the southern end of Bond Street that joins Picadilly, has been distinguished by the most posh since the 1850s. Asprey and Agnew, Sotheby's, and Phillips, to name a few, all appear against a backdrop of elegant houses turned shops that were once home to a host of distinguished politicians, artists, and writers.
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