Soldes or sales in Paris: when planning your next trip to Paris, I recommend organizing the dates around the two annual sales. Unlike in the United States, timing for merchandise discounts in France is dictated by the government. For those who are lucky enough to be heading to Paris soon, the summer sales start on June 25 and end on July 29! For anyone wishing to prepare well in advance, winter sales dates are January 8, 2015 – February 10, 2015, and dates for summer 2015 have also been released: June 24, 2015 – July 28, 2015. While shopping in Paris, look for signs in window displays that say “promotion” (deal) or “soldes exceptionnelles” (exceptional sales). During the two sale periods each year, it is a good idea to look everywhere — even price tags on designer items could be slashed by up to 80%.
Some tips for shopping the sales in Paris:
- Know your converted sizes before heading to Europe; the popular stores are very active and they won’t let you try items until you know your size.
- Wear layers that are easily removable and shoes that are easy to slip off — you will be happy, realizing you can try more clothes on, even while waiting for the dressing room. Dress lightly and comfortably.
- Shop early in the day: it’s when you have the most energy, and when the stores aren’t too busy yet.
- Also, shop early during the sales period — although you may not get the lowest possible price, you will have a better chance of finding the right size and the perfect piece!
- Just looking: if you dare, you can enter designer stores and try on dresses with no intention of buying.
- The French are small! You might find that French designers make clothes smaller because the French tend to be slimmer than other people.
- Shop around and read the fine print: compare the prices from several shops and take home the best deal. During the French sales, many stores don’t allow returning items so make sure to check the return and exchange policy before making any purchases.
- Can’t make it to the Paris sales in person? Try buying online: the online stores offer sale items too! If you are a master at speaking French, you will be able to navigate around French specialized websites such as Galeries Lafayettes, 1000 Bonnes Affaires or L’internaute with the best deals offered in hundreds of stores. Remember though, that not all stores ship outside of France.
In my neighborhood, Neuilly-sur-Seine, there is an annual weekend street sale called a “braderie,” where you can buy low-priced items from the chicest shops in Neuilly, from Maje to The Kooples to Sandro, it’s the best sidewalk sale around!