From New York to Spain: where to shop when you're on holiday

Far be it for me to encourage shopping while on holiday.  But should you happen to find that by day six your fingers are straying towards your usual virtual-retail sites (and I’m not saying you will, or that  I ever have…) nip it in the bud by indulging in some proper bricks-and-mortar shopping.

Did I say indulge? I meant carry out your duty. This is about supporting the local economy and engaging with the culture (NB this does not include nipping to the mall and buying super-brands).

New York

Ulla Johnson on Bleeker Street, SoHo, for chic boho (not a contradiction) in a truly delightful,  flower-filled store. Around the corner(ish)  is Glossier – the skincare and make-up brand that’s become a cult.


The vintage stores lining the Palais-Royale aren’t cheap, but their Hermès Kelly bags and Chanel suits are the crème de la crème – look out for Didier Ludot especially. City Pharma (Rue du Four) is a wonderful mini-market that has all those brilliantly priced French pharmacy brands.


Seek out velvet gondola slippers at Gianni Dittura, and coral and pearl-drop earrings everywhere.


It is all about the Grand Bazaar – gorgeous linen robes and towels, colourful throws and traditional lamps. Note, though, that while you’ll find more immaculately produced (fake) bags than you can throw a police force at, they are also illegal.


On the bridge over the Arno, the antique jewelry shops are hardly cheap, but brimming with beauty. Ditto the marbled paper shops. Leather gloves from Sermoneta (46 Via della Spiga) make a prosaic shopping chore joyous.

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