Shopping is a big part of a trip for many vacationers, and so we asked Garfinckel's department store president Hanne Merriman for her favorite shopping meccas. Her traveling is mostly on business, so when she is shopping it's partly to see what's available and what are the latest fashion trends.

"But it's always nice," she says, "when you find something that you can take advantage of personally."

Away from Washington, she favors:

* Paris: "I like the assortment of small shops, the feeling of individual attention both on the Left Bank and on Rue du Faubourg St. Honore. I buy mainly ready-to-wear, and there are lots of shoes there."

* New York City: "It's a different kind of approach. I like the big specialty department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks. And I love the shops on Madison Avenue; it's kind of the same environment you get in Paris." For her own shopping, she particularly likes the shoe stores "and all those new gourmet shops."

* Milan: "One beautiful shop after another: ready-to-wear and accessories; silver shops and gift shops; certainly the leather shops are magnificent--you can't miss going to Gucci."

* Florence: "For the gold jewelry, absolutely. There are a lot of small shops. It's nice to know the owner because you always have to negotiate prices."