Takashimaya on Fifth Avenue in New York is a multi-level treasure house where you can find the perfect flower, gorgeous clothing, and every personal and domestic accessory imaginable. Even better is the serene tea salon on the ground floor.
—John B. Giuliani
West Redding, Conn.
My favorite store is Emerson Books, Maps & Prints in Portland, Maine. It's in the historic Old Port, a restored harbor lined with restaurants, art-house cinemas, jewelers, and coffeehouses. Owners Mary and Thomas Emerson sell new and rare books as well as original maps.
—J. L. Soley
New York, N.Y.
Shopping at Stéphane & Bernard on St. Bart's is the ultimate experience. This tiny boutique has the most exquisite Paris fashions, but it's the owners' special attention that will make you feel like a queen. Their inimitable style has turned me into a faithful client.
—Mary Evelyn Pafford
Our pick has to be Denise Francelle, a small glove-and-scarf shop in the Rue de Rivoli arcade in Paris. Buying gloves there is extremely personal. Your hands are examined as if you were having your fortune read. The result is a beautiful fit—and the enjoyment of receiving fine service from an expert reminiscent of a different era.
—Garry Gibbs and Kathy Niemi
Walking into the Folk Tree in Pasadena, California, feels like visiting several faraway destinations at once. Owner Rocky Behr has assembled eclectic items from places such as Mexico, China, and Romania. Whenever I take out-of-town visitors to her stores, their first response upon passing through the brightly colored door is invariably "Oooooh!"
Valley Village, Calif.
Quite simply, Elizabeth Gage on Albemarle Street in London. It's the most refined place to buy jewelry, in the most civilized of settings. You'll be treated like royalty whether you're making a purchase or not.
How do you handle customs when you return to the states?
Here are the results of T+L's latest Internet poll with AOL.
46.9% I would never lie to Uncle Sam—I declare everything.
30.3% I occasionally fib. It's not as if
Parma ham is a danger to society.
22.8% I don't tell them a thing.
What they don't know won't hurt them.