By comparison, London was pretty late to the party with its retail offering with shops starting to appear during the 16th century – albeit in their most basic form to say the least.
They were little more than doorways from which vendors loudly flogged their wares, with shoppers rarely getting a look at what they were buying before parting with hard earned pennies.
It was not until the 17th century that shops really started to pop up in earnest and become more recognisable as retail outlets.
Shopkeepers began to sell a wider variety of goods, from spices to fruit, fabrics to tobacco and much more in between; their stores also began to transform aesthetically with interiors and shop fronts designed to attract custom and promote their produce, with the addition of glazing occurring in the 18th century.
Shop counters, display cases, fitting rooms and mirrors were also slowly becoming a feature around this time and, later on that century, grand shopping arcades became a mainstay in major cities.
Parisians enjoyed the more genteel environment of the Coliseé on the Champs-Elysee and the Palais-Royal, built with vast glass roofs to allow as much natural light in as possible, and designed to enable customers to avoid the filthy streets outside.
As close to today’s mall concept as you can get in terms of shopping experience, the Palais-Royal, opened in 1784, played host to around 145 boutiques, cafes, salons, bookshops and even two theatres.
London’s Piccadilly Arcade, Royal Opera Arcade and Burlington Arcade followed suit in the early 19th century; strolling around these retail meccas became a common pastime as shopping transformed into a leisure pursuit rather than just an errand.