Woman walking past the Hermes shop on Rue St Honore, Paris, France
†Ian Cumming/© †Ian Cumming
True to its 180-year-old business model, Hermès still makes its leather bags by hand in France, each one crafted from start to finish by a single artisan—the Birkin starts at $12,000 and can run upwards of $200,000. Of its three Paris stores, this flagship is the biggest and busiest, its wares ranging from furniture to perfumes; helpful salespeople serve coffee to customers waiting in line for leather.
Hermès Secret Sale
Twice a year Paris goes on Sale, with bargains to be had in almost every store in the City. Some of the luxury boutiques, like Louis Vuitton, don’t participate at all, while others just keep it discreet, placing the sales items in a back room. Hermès doesn’t have a back room large enough, or perhaps they don’t want hordes of bargain hunters rubbing shoulders with their exclusive clients. Whatever the reason, each season Hermès rents out the conference hall at the Porte Maillot and has a private sale that is open to the general public, no invitation required. It is enough to know the address and the date which is usually announced two weeks before the sale.