Bonne Nouvelles: The most wonderful time of the year has finally arrived. No, I’m not talking about the season (it’s still up for debate if its really summer here yet…), I’m talking about soldes! Starting this Wednesday, France will be overtaken by its bi-annual sales season, lasting for six weeks until July 31st. That’s right, sales only come around twice a year in the République française, making the event that much more important.

As exhilarating of a prospect it is to double your wardrobe for less than half the price it would normally cost, soldes is a lot trickier than deciding between a Zara dress and a Princesse Tam Tam swimsuit. Between the crowds and the shifting prices, shopping during soldes is not for the weary.

So, here are 5 essential tips to help you make it through the warzone and come out looking fabulous.

  1. Do Your Homework: and start window-shopping before the sales begin. That way you can get an idea of what’s in stores and what sizes look good on you before the floodgates open and the lines are out the door.
  2. Don’t Soldes on Saturday: because everyone and their uncle will be doing the same thing. Saturday has long been the shopping day for Parisians, as shops are closed on Sundays, and it only gets that much worse during soldes. Better to use up your one-hour lunch break to pop-in when there isn’t a foule folle. Besides, skipping meals is Parisian too.
  3. Leave the Heals at Home: I hardly ever leave my flat in anything less than a 2-inch heel, but for soldes I make an exception. With all the walking between stores (often on cobblestones), and standing in line, its not the best time to be dressed to the nines in uncomfortable shoes. You can do that after you’ve shopped!
  4. Be Patient: Soldes is a marathon, not a sprint; as tempting as it is to blow all your hard-earned Euros on the first day of the sales, keep in mind that there’s also a second and third markdown. Of course the longer you hold out to buy that handbag, the less chance you’ll have of it being there by the end of the 6th week. A good rule of thumb – shoot for the deuxieme demarque when sales prices and selection are the most balanced.
  5. Avoid the Feeding Frenzy Altogether: Not in the mood to tackle five other women for that perfect pair of shoes? Don’t feel like spending half your afternoon in line for the dressing room? Many of Paris’ top stores, like Galeries Lafayette, offer sales online, making it possible for you to get exactly what you wanted without ever having to leave the comfort of your couch.

Bon Courage!


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