If you have any money left over (or if you’re one of those clever people who plan in advance) now is the real time to get out shopping in Paris. The Winter Sales are the place for the deals and this is one of the best times to get real bargains on everything from winter fashions to home wares as shops start clearing the shelves in preparation for the next season.
When are the sales?
Sales in Paris usually begin the second Wednesday in January. In 2010 the sales will begin on January 6th and last for five weeks. The most desired items will be sold early in the sales, but the greatest reductions will occur later in the five to six week period.
Where to go
The biggest sales can be found in the department stores such as Bon Marché or Printemps and Galleries Lafayette on the Boulevard Haussmann, but don’t forget the shops in the Marais, and on the Left Bank and along St Germain. While the department stores offer the widest range of great bargains, if you’re interested in boutique fashion the less busy, small boutiques often offer better bargains. These smaller shops absolutely must clear their space for the next season and will be very keen to get rid of the winter selections.
For further suggestions of where to shop, see here.
Making a plan
While people won’t camp most of the night outside any stores in Paris as they do in London, and the Paris natives prefer to take their time over deciding on purchasing a bargain, there will be crowds and the shops will be busy and hassling. Popular items are things for the home, rather than clothes.
The French are very organized about their sale shopping and will have looked around the shops before the sales so they know exactly where they want to go when the sales start. You will find, for example, many people simply start at the top of rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and avenue Montaigne, and work their way down both sides, boutique by boutique.
Look for the Paris Shopping Book. This is a free guide listing more than 300 Paris addresses and includes maps and practical information (i.e. shop opening times). The book also lists tips on shopping, eating and sightseeing. A quite useful part of the book are the six itineraries to guide you to shops according to your style. These itineraries are: ‘classic, trendy, creative, boho-chic, fusion fashion and the new “savvy” itinerary.’ Check out www.shoppingbyparis.com to download a free copy.