Twice a year, in July and January, Paris because more of a zoo than usual. It's time for Soldes! The twice-annual state regulated clearance sales create a shopping frenzy. Even my American ex-pat friends, with the dollar weak to the Euro, take advantage and splurge.
Department stores have bouncers and roped off lines as people go in for discount Dior and Chanel. Shoe departments look like someone might lose an eye. Fitting rooms are a tangle of bodies and silk and linen as everyone jostles for that perfect, and cheaper than usual, designer piece.
Every store window announces it, and sometimes leaves the manequins naked just to prove a point.
Places like Hermes become madhouses, with limits on how many scarves you can buy and showing up to the sale with something already from Hermes being worn. There's a whole new set of tourist in town, specifically here for the designer sales.
I took advantage to pick up some more kitchen items that I was lacking- a whisk and spoons and a cheese grater. I know, boring, right? But I also found a really cute silk dress for an astounding 10 euro that I'll be showing off soon enough. Aside from that, my taste run a little too rich, even with the soldes. A silk scarf at 40% off was still 700 Euro, a cashmere and merino blanket for 900, cushy oversized bath towels that cost 150 Euro a piece, shoes discounted at 70% would still reign as the most expensive shoes I've every worn. The department stores here are a bit much for me to handle. I'm keen on staying away.
I found it was also a good time to pick up a few necessities, like sunscreen and lotions. It's kind of like the city is having a rummage sale. If you go early in the day, the crowds aren't all that bad either.
As the month grinds on, the discounts get bigger, but the stock noticeably sadder. The enviable fall collections start becoming more of the focus.
All the major department stores and even some of the bigger grocery stores have gorgeous yarn departments and notions. The summer yarns are all way discounted as well. I couldn't resist picking up some cherry-red Rowan Calmer (discontinued! The horror of it all!) for just a few Euros a skein.