Cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and prosperous, Basel shelters a medley of shops whose merchandise rivals that found in much larger cities. The finest antiques shop in the region is Antiquités M. & G. Ségal, Aeschengraben 14 (tel. 061/272-39-08). Founded in 1862, it's run by the articulate and knowledgeable fourth-generation owner, Georges Ségal, and his North Carolina-born wife, Margaret. Their specialties include 18th-century Continental paintings, silver, furniture, ceramics (including antique Meissen porcelain), and art objects, all of which are displayed over four floors of a building bulging with treasures. You'll also find two impressive art galleries in town. The immensely prestigious Ernest Beyeler Gallery, Baunleingasse 9 (tel. 061/206-97-00), is a cultural focal point that's famous throughout Europe for its roster of Impressionist, modern, and contemporary paintings. Also, a more avant-garde gallery with more emphasis on minimalist, hypercontemporary art, is the well-respected Galerie Gisele Linder, Elisabethenstrasse 54 (tel. 061/272-83-77; www.galerielinder.ch).
Seeking a suitcase to pack the loot you've already acquired in Basel? Head for Droeser, Martinskirchplatz 15 (tel. 061/261-42-53), where wallets, valises, purses, handbags, shaving kits, even gym bags, offer leather making at its best. If you have a yen for fine tobaccos, check out Oettinger Cigares, Aeschenvorstadt 4 (tel. 061/272-47-70), where brierwood and meerschaum pipes, along with cigarettes and cigars from around the world (including Cuba), are sold along with their appropriate accessories. And finally, dozens of emporiums in Basel are ready, willing, and able to sell you a wristwatch. One of the city's most upscale shops is Gübelin, Freie Strasse 27 (tel. 061/307-56-20; www.guebelin.ch).
The premier chocolatier in town is Confiserie Schiesser, 19 Marktplatz (tel. 061/261-60-77; www.confiserie-schiesser.ch), which sells expensive but delectable confections in its downstairs shop. Upstairs is a Viennese tearoom founded in 1870, where you can order delicate pastries and tasty little sandwiches while enjoying views of the bustling market square and the Gothic City Hall.
The best place to shop for handicrafts and gifts is Heimatwerk, Schneidergasse 2 (tel. 061/261-91-78; www.heimatwerk.ch), which carries an array of tasteful merchandise from all parts of the country. You'll find everything from ceramics to wooden toys here.
If you're just seeking general merchandise, head for the leading department store in Basel, Globus, Marktplatz 2 (tel. 058/578-45-45; www.globus.ch).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.