Shopping in Geneva involves a visit to its outdoor markets that lie clustered around Plaine de Plainpalais and Boulevard Helvetique. Plaine de Plainpalais is the largest outdoor flea market that is frequented by people wishing to buy paintings, records, dish sets, antiques and vintage clothing. It operates on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm.
Rues Basses, Rue du Rhone, Rue de la Confederation, Rue du Marche and Rue de la Croix-d'Or are the main shopping streets in the city. From these streets, tourists can purchase gold jewellery, watches and Swiss chocolates. The Old Town, St. Gervais and Paquis districts are home to many antique quarters and art galleries.
Eaux Vives, Rue du Rhone and Rue du Marche have many designer retail stores. Along Rue du Mont-Blanc and its surrounding streets, there are many shops selling souvenirs such as Swiss pocket knives, chocolates and other Swiss knick-knacks.
Grand Rue has shops filled with relics dating back to the city’s mediaeval days. Vintage clothing stores, boutiques and bookstores are located at Rue des Paquis. Shopping in Geneva is also inclusive of buying second hand retro wear, Havana cigars, unique lighters, antique pipes, handbags and antiques.
Rue de la Confederation, Promenade de L’Europe and Rue Cornavin have many shopping malls and department stores. Shoppers also frequent the flower market on Place du Molard, along with the clothes and books market on the Place de la Madeleine.
Plaine de Plainpalais holds a flea market, and fruit and vegetable market. Place de la Fusterie is apt for purchasing regional handicrafts. Shopping hours in the city are from Monday to Friday from 8 am till 7 pm. Shops are open from 8 am till 9 pm on Thursday, and from 8 am till 6 pm on Saturday. On Sunday, shops remain closed and flea markets operate.
The only duty free shopping zone is located at Geneva International Airport. From this zone, tourists can purchase watches, fashion, food and luxury items. On goods and services purchased in the city, a VAT of 7.6% is levied. For single items purchased for $475.22 or more, VAT refund can be claimed.
To claim the refund, tourists need to be a non-Swiss resident and need to export the goods within 30 days. Using a VAT refund form, which states the amount of refund due, the reclaim, can be made. These documents need to be stamped by customs officials. Once processed, VAT refund is sent to the tourists.
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