This is a case of having to be seen to be believed. The US clothing brand's flagship store has been causing a stir on the Champs-Elysées since it opened in 2011, with banging tunes and topless male models standing in the doorway at all times. Like its sister stores in London and NYC, the aristocratic box-hedged garden, dimmed lighting and lingering aftershave scent make the place feel more like a bizarre club than a shop. There are even bouncers ready to tell you off should you dare whip out your camera for a photo op. A shame, because the décor is positively museum-worthy, with beautifully painted 1930s-style frescoes depicting male deities in hunting scenes, athletic poses and boxing rings.
Things get even sillier with the Barbie-and-Ken-like shop attendants. Veritable A&F clones, they all dress the same – coloured jeans or shorts and chequered shirts for the boys, and strapless mini-dresses for the girls – and dance on the spot, on autopilot, to the clubbing music. Still, whether you’re into Abercombie & Fitch’s rah-rah schoolboy ranges or not, the shop is well worth a detour – if only to admire the frescoes. Just be prepared to queue to get in!