Love to Travel and Shop? Here’s When to Shop for Bargains in Paris

A few tips for shopping the bi-annual sales in Paris

Paris, France

Raise your hand if you’ve ever dreamed about shopping in Paris. Well, if you’re ready to hop on a flight, bi-annual sales in Paris are back from Wednesday, January 6 to Tuesday, February 16, 2016, and the summer sales are expected to start around June 22 and end on August 2, 2016. Fashion-obsessed jet-setters can expect discounts of up to 70% at department stores, boutiques, and even major fashion labels such as Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Lanvin, and more. So the timing couldn’t be better to stop dreaming and start planning.

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Paris sales are typically held once in the winter and once in the summer. Sales (called soldes in French) are government regulated and normally last about 5 to 6 weeks. During that time, prices are continuously slashed as the sale period comes to an end. Although the best bargains are in clothes, housewares, furniture, and even wine are on sale.

Navigating the beautiful cobblestone streets of Paris for fab finds is like a sport, so you’ll definitely need to strategize. Here are few tips to help you get started:

1. Wait until halfway through the sales to shop. Prices drop the closer you get to the end, but fab finds will be scarce.

2. Avoid competition with the locals and shop during mid-week or mid-morning. This is a great time for personal service and more legroom to stroll around smaller shops and boutiques.

3. Start your day with a pastry and coffee. Indulge in a galette des rois (a flaky pastry filled with almond paste), beignet (sweet fried sweet dough covered with confectioner’s sugar), or the all-too-famous classic French croissant.

4. Dress comfortably. Hustling around Paris streets by walking and/or taking public transportation can be incredibly tiring, so resist the temptation to dress like the locals. Comfortable shoes are a must. Wear clothing that is easy to get on and off in dressing rooms.

5. Don’t waste time wandering aimlessly down the wrong streets. Before you get started, grab The Shopping Book, a promotional guide prepared by the French Office of Tourism. This shopping & style “Bible” has hundreds of addresses and themed itineraries, and stores are organized by shopping profiles: Bohemian-Chic, Trendy, Select, Ethic-Ethnic, Creative, and Savvy. The book is available for free at the Bureau’s tourist information points.

6. Expect long lines (or queues) which form well before 8:00 AM at famous multi-level department stores like Galeries Lafayette (40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 ), Printemps (64 boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris), Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche (24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007), and Place Vendôme, (Jewelry heaven – 75001 Paris). Both Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are worth a visit, but the sales are a bit better at Galeries Lafayette.

Most of the larger department stores carry luxury brands as well. If you have your heart set on scoring a pair of famed red-bottom heels, the original Christian Louboutin boutique is located in a surprisingly desolate street on 19 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The second Louboutin boutique is located at 68 Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. This building is a two-story building work of art, but expect long lines and crowds.

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