Europe tips and tricks?

thisonce

Member
Nov 6, 2012
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20
Hi there! I'm about to study abroad in Florence, Italy from September to December this year. I've saved quite a bit of money for traveling around and a little shopping. I plan on visiting London, Paris, Spain, Greece, and Germany for weekend trips when I'm not in school. Do you have any recommendations on how to purchase or what stores are the best or even the best bangs for your buck regarding LV? Taxes? Any advice for anything helps. Thanks!
 
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viewwing

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I've purchased from the LV store in frankfurt am main. it's cheaper than buying in USA or Asia. Customer service was great too! Vat is 11% which is easily refunded at the airport. You need to show your passport to the SA when purchasing your items. She'll give you a vat return form. You will bring the form to the counter at the airport. Show the customs guy your items, have the form stamped and then they return you the vat in cash or on your credit card whichever you prefer.

I will definitely buy from there again... It was a wonderful n easy experience.:smile:
 

Purse Junky

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Jan 20, 2013
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I am curious as well. We have a tour coming up--flying into Budapest.. Also going to Vienna, then on to Prague. Flying home to US from Prague. I am thinking about an LV purchase while there. Any info from anyone is appreciated!!
 

ThisVNchick

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Hi there! I'm about to study abroad in Florence, Italy from September to December this year. I've saved quite a bit of money for traveling around and a little shopping. I plan on visiting London, Paris, Spain, Greece, and Germany for weekend trips when I'm not in school. Do you have any recommendations on how to purchase or what stores are the best or even the best bangs for your buck regarding LV? Taxes? Any advice for anything helps. Thanks!

Shopping: Louis Vuitton is cheapest in Paris. If you must buy, buy it in Paris. If you do any shopping in Europe over 175 EURO, bring your passport, since you are allowed to get some of the VAT (tax) back when you leave the EU. I've mainly shopped at the flagship store. I go to Paris every year or so with my husband (it's my favorite place). The flagship store is crowded. It is sometimes hard to get a hold of a SA. It seems like everyone just likes to try on every bag in the store, so the wait can be 30+ minutes. Unless you have a VIC appointment, steer clear of this store if you want some valuable time with a SA. There is a store on Montaigne Ave. It is smaller, but minimal traffic. The stock was good (I stopped by this summer as well) and I was greeted and helped immediately. I think you would enjoy a more personable experience here.

If you're looking to buy Gucci or Prada/Miu Miu, best to buy these brands in Italy. Since you are visiting Florence, take a bus (it costs 10 euro) to THE MALL (that's really the name of the outlet). There are lots of big designer name brands there and everything is relatively cheap. I purchased 5 pairs of Gucci and 4 pairs of Prada heels from there. After getting my tax back, each pair was equivalent to $130 all taxes included. IT WAS A PHENOMENAL DEAL.

Customs Declaration: BE HONEST. They say the limit on tax free things brought into the US is about $800. Anything above that, you pay something like 3-5% of the amount that's over. This past summer I rang DH's CC up to the 25K mark (yes, I know, it's embarrassing). I debated over and over again on whether or not I should declare everything. I did some research and found another member who had posted about this in the Hermes forum. She said that when you go and claim your VAT back, the customs agents in the EU do have some contact with the customs agents in the US (they scan your tax form and take your passport information). How this information is passed between the two countries, I do not know. But being a frequent flyer, I definitely did not want to be on a flying black list so I declared everything. Upon arriving home, my husband and I went through customs together. I handed the agent our filled out form and his eyes literally widened. My husband saw it as well and commented "she had a really nice time". The agent laughed, stamped our paperwork, and off we went. I took a chance knowing that I could have been taxed on the (large) remainder amount, but I took the honesty route and it paid off. I could have been taxed but no where near what the fine with be if I had lied and they found out. Just be honest, that would be my best advice about bringing luxury goods home.
 
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viewwing

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Shopping: Louis Vuitton is cheapest in Paris. If you must buy, buy it in Paris. If you do any shopping in Europe over 175 EURO, bring your passport, since you are allowed to get some of the VAT (tax) back when you leave the EU. I've mainly shopped at the flagship store. I go to Paris every year or so with my husband (it's my favorite place). The flagship store is crowded. It is sometimes hard to get a hold of a SA. It seems like everyone just likes to try on every bag in the store, so the wait can be 30+ minutes. Unless you have a VIC appointment, steer clear of this store if you want some valuable time with a SA. There is a store on Montaigne Ave. It is smaller, but minimal traffic. The stock was good (I stopped by this summer as well) and I was greeted and helped immediately. I think you would enjoy a more personable experience here.

If you're looking to buy Gucci or Prada/Miu Miu, best to buy these brands in Italy. Since you are visiting Florence, take a bus (it costs 10 euro) to THE MALL (that's really the name of the outlet). There are lots of big designer name brands there and everything is relatively cheap. I purchased 5 pairs of Gucci and 4 pairs of Prada heels from there. After getting my tax back, each pair was equivalent to $130 all taxes included. IT WAS A PHENOMENAL DEAL.

Customs Declaration: BE HONEST. They say the limit on tax free things brought into the US is about $800. Anything above that, you pay something like 3-5% of the amount that's over. This past summer I rang DH's CC up to the 25K mark (yes, I know, it's embarrassing). I debated over and over again on whether or not I should declare everything. I did some research and found another member who had posted about this in the Hermes forum. She said that when you go and claim your VAT back, the customs agents in the EU do have some contact with the customs agents in the US (they scan your tax form and take your passport information). How this information is passed between the two countries, I do not know. But being a frequent flyer, I definitely did not want to be on a flying black list so I declared everything. Upon arriving home, my husband and I went through customs together. I handed the agent our filled out form and his eyes literally widened. My husband saw it as well and commented "she had a really nice time". The agent laughed, stamped our paperwork, and off we went. I took a chance knowing that I could have been taxed on the (large) remainder amount, but I took the honesty route and it paid off. I could have been taxed but no where near what the fine with be if I had lied and they found out. Just be honest, that would be my best advice about bringing luxury goods home.
Have you been to Germany? Is the price of LV better in Paris or Germany?
 

gonno

Member
Jan 13, 2011
75
48
I've purchased from the LV store in frankfurt am main. it's cheaper than buying in USA or Asia. Customer service was great too! Vat is 11% which is easily refunded at the airport. You need to show your passport to the SA when purchasing your items. She'll give you a vat return form. You will bring the form to the counter at the airport. Show the customs guy your items, have the form stamped and then they return you the vat in cash or on your credit card whichever you prefer.

I will definitely buy from there again... It was a wonderful n easy experience.:smile:
VAT in Germany is 19%. The store in Frankfurt is great, I think it's the German flagship store. Many, many multilingual SAs, English is no problem at all, excellent service.
 

ThisVNchick

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Have you been to Germany? Is the price of LV better in Paris or Germany?

Prices in Paris are definitely cheaper. It is not a whole lot cheaper (maybe 50-80 euro less for bags). I prefer to shop in Paris just because Paris has so much more stock than any other country I've been to in the EU.
 

ThisVNchick

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VAT in Germany is 19%. The store in Frankfurt is great, I think it's the German flagship store. Many, many multilingual SAs, English is no problem at all, excellent service.

I think she meant the actual refund you get back is only 11% even if the VAT is 19%. There is a processing fee you have to pay (8%) so you don't get your 100% VAT.

But from my experience, you normally only get 11-12% back. It just depends on what country you're in when the purchase was made. France gives you 12% back coupled with the lower retail price of LV, this is why it is cheapest to buy in France.
 

viewwing

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Oct 1, 2008
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I think she meant the actual refund you get back is only 11% even if the VAT is 19%. There is a processing fee you have to pay (8%) so you don't get your 100% VAT.

But from my experience, you normally only get 11-12% back. It just depends on what country you're in when the purchase was made. France gives you 12% back coupled with the lower retail price of LV, this is why it is cheapest to buy in France.
Thanks! That's exactly what I meant. A quick check online shows the prices of the bags are the same in Germany and Paris. So the only difference is how much vat you get back. :smile:
 

gonno

Member
Jan 13, 2011
75
48
I think she meant the actual refund you get back is only 11% even if the VAT is 19%. There is a processing fee you have to pay (8%) so you don't get your 100% VAT.

But from my experience, you normally only get 11-12% back. It just depends on what country you're in when the purchase was made. France gives you 12% back coupled with the lower retail price of LV, this is why it is cheapest to buy in France.
Oh, thank you! I didn't know this.
 

peachy pink

Member
May 7, 2009
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Düsseldorf / GERMANY
Prices in France and Germany are exactly the same, so it's true the taxes are the difference-but if you go to Germany, go to the store in DÜSSELDORF and I'll PM you my SA, because he is THE best :heart:
 

ThisVNchick

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Thanks! That's exactly what I meant. A quick check online shows the prices of the bags are the same in Germany and Paris. So the only difference is how much vat you get back. :smile:
Awhile back, I was checking prices between France and Italy (was going to vacation in both these places), and there was definitely a difference, which is why I said it's cheapest in France. But now rechecking the prices between France, Italy and Germany, they are all the same. Hm. I guess Vuitton changed that! Thanks for pointing this out!
 

katiel00

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May 29, 2014
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I'm going to England and Paris in Sept. I was looking forward to the VAT refund, but I'm still a British Citizen (that lives in the USA). Dang it LOL. I think its still cheaper (when I did the conversion). I'll have to just see how that all works out. But my husband is an American citizen... :thinking:
 

lvoeforever

Member
Sep 23, 2013
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Europe, Austria
I can definitely recommend the store in Vienna. I live here, and buy here everything. We have here 20 % tax. There is only one store in Vienna, but it is a big flagship store, so you can find everything, you need. I would recommend to visit the store on weekdays, it is much more calm, or on the weekends just half an hour before they close. You have the less customer to that times.