Galeries Lafayette is just one of the many shopping destinations to be found on Berlin's Friedrichstraße. (Courtesy Galeries Lafayette)
Although Kurfürstendamm usually gets all the hype for being the epicenter of Berlin couture, Mitte's Friedrichstraße is a fashion destination in its own right. Head south from S-Bahn Friedrichstraße and you'll find such famously labeled stores as Gucci (p. 29) and Maurice Lacroix, not to mention several exclusive department stores.
With its cosmopolitan architecture and upmarket brands, Departmentstore Quartier 206 is ideal for the shopper with refined tastes, whether it be for clothing, beauty products, art, or even books. In addition to well-known designers, such as footwear mavens Manolo Blahnik and Rupert Sanderson, the department store features specialty brands that are lesser known but just as stylish, such as Le Prince Jardinier, which offers unique souvenirs for garden lovers.
At Galeries Lafayette, discover a Parisian shopping experience that transcends fashion to include French gastronomy, with epicurean specialties from the food counter and tea from the celebrated Mariage Frères, founded in 1854. The department store, notable for its centerpiece inverted glass cone, is renowned for its fine clothing and accessories, as well as an assortment of perfumes and beauty items.
If it's that inspirational je ne sais quoi you seek, locate the red storefont of Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus ("the department store of culture"). An immense array of both non-fiction and classic and contemporary literature – including a large selection of English titles – can occupy bibliophiles for hours (good news: They close at midnight). See their website for upcoming musical performances and book presentations, many in English.
When your arms can't hold any more bags, Friedrichstraße's many cafés and restaurants are a draw unto themselves. Experience fine German specialties at Maximilians, upscale vegetarian cuisine at Cookies Cream, or further French inspiration at Borchardt.