The twice-annual sales throughout France, known as les soldes, begin Wednesday January 7 and last through February 10. Despite the many faux sales disguised as “promotions” in the past few months, nothing matches the frenzy that the soldes produce in Parisian shops. Some stores, especially around the Champs Elysées, will be opening at midnight tonight. There will be lines outside the posh couture boutiques of the Avenue Montaigne and the Faubourg St-Honoré. The normally mild-mannered Parisian ladies are, at this very moment, sharpening their claws. Are you ready? Have you sussed out and already tried on — don’t even think of trying to get into the changing rooms during the sales — everything you want to purchase? Have you taken your vitamins? Stashed a small bottle of water in your purse? Strapped on your stylish-yet-comfortable shoes?
I rarely ever venture into the sales. Too many people, too much heartache when I can’t find my size or the shoes that I know were there at closing the night before and are gone within three minutes of opening. I hate the disorganized mess of the sales, the fear of making a decision too quickly and getting stuck with something I don’t like… I always end up drifting over to the relatively calm, tidy end of the shops featuring the nouvelles collections.
But some department stores understand my pain. Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann, for example, has developed a special Soldes VIP program that includes:
– opening at 8am on the first day of the sales, then open the entire first week of the sales from 9:35am until 9pm.
– valet parking for €5-€8 (one-two hours).
– free personal shopping service so that you can sit comfortably and have the clothing you want brought to you by the in-store experts. Reserve a spot at 01 42 82 66 11.
– their “achat mains libres” service gathers al of your selected items in one spot so you don’t have to carry things around between departments, and allows you to pay for everything at once.
– if you aren’t going straight home or to your hotel after shopping, they will hold your packages for you to come back and pick up 24/7
– anything you purchase, including sale items, can be returned within 30 days with the receipt.
Do also check out the Shopping by Paris website (warning, the English version has the wrong dates on the sales). Under the “Good to Know” category are hotels, shops, restaurants, tour services and other cultural offerings on sale.
And if you find that amazing deal out there without losing a limb, give yourself a big pat on the back. 😉