I have done some public service research on the topic of lingerie shopping (for the non-matrix sizes) at a regular department store (El Corte Ingles). Your options, while not excessive, are not the disaster one experiences in big box North America. For starters, the brands are much more inclusive than in France (not that I had access to a big box store there) and they tend towards wider wires and shallow shapes. Having said this, the larger cup sizes aren't unheard of. I sense you're on good footing if you are not waifish and your breasts are on the bigger all-around end of the equation.
Still not good for the women shaped as I am. But I did find one bra (and I was hardly exhaustive) that fits perfectly (Felina Conturelle 80521 in Anthrazit - the grey colourway). It was even on sale, though the full set did cost $160 CDN. Felina is a German brand and the product is on the lady/sophisticated end of the spectrum. The offerings I found were all full-cup, and not like UK full-cup (which tends towards a balconette shape). European cup sizing is a totally different scene than US or UK so I sized up in the back and maintained my regular cup size. Since the EU cup sizes are one cup size smaller than UK (at least sometimes), I retained the same cup size (I think). Mind you, the shape is so different, it's hard to say what's going on. Definitely, the Felina back sizes are snug.
I also bought shoes (in Montpellier):
|Arche Sakari in Nubuck|
The new shoes (below) however, are pure sexy - if on the sensible heel-end of sexy:
I do love me some COS for the sleek lines and wide variety of basics. It reminds me of a Euro version of Club Monaco - very textural. I got 2 blue items, a long-sleeved T (unfinished on the sleeves and hem) and a high-cowl, tunic(ish) sweater. These were both 50% off so the total cost came to 75.00CDN, a ridiculous steal on any day.
Let me say this about European sizing: It is not catering to North American vanity.
And let me say this about the current crop of European styles: Is this the land of sacks or what?? I mean, the sacks are very lovely. They're made of beautiful materials. But a sack is a sack and I'm tired of it!
FWIW: You can posit that my new cowl tunic is a sack (it's loose fit through the torso and it has a curved hem at the thighs). The thing that saves it (aside from the fact that it's in a sleek merino) is that it is cut very small through the arms, shoulders and neck. If you're going to wear a sack, be very certain that the fit is perfection in the shoulders and arms. Otherwise, you will look like a raisin.
Said sweater will go very well with these:
|Hue Original Jeans Faded Leggins|
I love the shop assistants, they are so helpful - so decisive - and completely comprehensible in Catalan (how, I don't know), the Spanish/French combo language they tend to speak in Barcelona. This region is very like Quebec in that it's a land "displaced". They're angling to separate from Spain though, it would appear, in the most pleasant way.
Crazily, I asked another person another question about the Basque yesterday. Learn from my mistakes. Seriously, do not ask anyone about the Basque. I don't know what it is but you will be met with shock and horror.
And on the topic of random, awesome meals: here's a shot of the most gorgeous paella we ate yesterday:
It was touted as vegetarian (not that I care) but I can assure you it was awash in seafood broth. Man, it was delicious.