Paris is one of the world’s best-loved and most romantic cities: Charming building facades from the Renaissance period, unscathed by time, line its never-ending rues and avenues. But did you also know that during early summer, Paris becomes a shopping haven? The Parisians call it “Soldes d’été” or the Great Summer Sale, a massive city-wide sale where departmental stores, boutiques, coutre houses and the shops on every street corner slash their prices and attempt to clear previous seasons’ items.
In France, sales are regulated by the government and happen twice a year, at the start of summer and just before Christmas. The sales usually last around five weeks, much like this year’s Great Summer Sale which starts on 27th June and ends on 31st July. But if you’re thinking of heading over to Paris for some bargain-hunting, you better come prepared, because the Parisians are also determined to go all out to get the best bargains! If you ever wondered how they always look so chic and trendy, now you know!
Thankfully, we’ve prepared a handy guide to make sure that you don’t lose out to the swarms of shoppers that flood the streets of Paris this month:
The early bird gets the worm. We apologize for using this cliché, but when it comes to the Great Summer Sales of Paris, no other statement sums it up better. With prices slashed up to 80% (even at designer boutiques), you can be absolutely sure that the popular designer goods and common sizes will all be snapped up in no time. This means being there early in the morning when the shops open, or during the lunch hour.
Plan, strategize and be patient. Have an idea of what you want to buy beforehand. If you must, do some window shopping, or the French like to call it, faire du lèche-vitrine (“window-licking”), one week before the sales. This lets you try sizes in advance without the crowds of impatient shoppers, and decide on what you want to buy at your own time and comfort. If necessary, take a day off from work, as the weekday crowds are definitely smaller than the throngs of shoppers during the weekends. But even then, don’t be surprised if you still see numerous Parisians around, as many of them will take a day off to shop as well.
Also, two to three weeks into the sale, shops will usually cut their prices further in an attempt to clear out the remaining stock before the sale ends. If you didn’t buy something earlier because it was still too pricey, mid-July would be another good time to drop by that particular boutique again to check it out.
Check your goods thoroughly. We cannot emphasize on this enough, not because the shops sell poor quality goods, but due to the fact that most departmental stores, malls and shops have a no-refund policy during the Great Summer Sale period. Checking your goods also includes comparing prices to make sure you’re not getting ripped off, or missing out on a better deal elsewhere. It is also common for shoppers or staff to mix items up while in a frenzy.
Dress Comfortably. This is pretty much a rule of thumb regardless of where you’re shopping. Simple and comfortable clothes means less hassle while in the fitting rooms. And with most shopping sprees, it is quite likely that you’ll be up on your feet for hours, walking through endless shopping arcades and galleries. Don’t torture yourself by wearing high heels, or multiple layers of clothing.
If you’re not in Paris during summer, or didn’t get what you want, don’t be disheartened. The next great sale will take place before Christmas, and the Winter Sales will be held from 9th January to 12th February early next year. Alternatively, you can always keep a lookout for signs or posters on shops that say “Soldes Exceptionnels” (exceptional sales), which indicate that the shop might be having a special sale or promotion outside of the regular sale periods dictated by the government.
All ready to go on a buying spree? Here are a few hotspots for the Great Summer Sales:
Ave des Champs-Elysées – Located at the heart of Paris, this wide avenue has all the big haute-couture brands – Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Cartier. If that’s too up-scale for you, this street is also home to apparel brands like Zara, Sephora and also the Virgin Megastore.
Avenue Montaigne – Another chic shopper’s avenue, with big names Fendi, Prada, Gucci Chanel and Dior all lined up along this street.
Galeries Lafayette – Easily the biggest shopping gallery in Paris, Galeries Lafayette is likely to have all your shopping needs here, including a gourmet food market, multiple apparel, electronic and music and children’s shops. One of the more family-friendly places during the sales, this is a must-visit if you’re in Paris with your family and kids
Le Bon Marché – Located right outside the Sèvres-Babylone Metro Station is one of the world’s first departmental stores. Built in 1852, the store features the apparel boutiques of over 40 designers, a newly opened lingerie department, and one of Paris’ largest beauty and cosmetics department, Le Théatre de la Beauté. Ladies, take note!
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Fraser Suites Harmonie – Summer Time in Paris promotion
Promotion Ends: 17th Aug 2012
This offer is available from July 23rd to August 17th 2012 according to availability.
Enjoy your holidays and book now!
Fraser Suites Le Claridge, Champs-Elysées – Summer time in Paris promotion
Promotion Ends: 19th Aug 2012
This offer is available from July 23rd to August 19th 2012 accordng to availability.
Book now to enjoy summer in Paris!
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