Paris’s winter sales are nearly upon us, so get ready for huge discounts on everything la belle France does best, from clothes to cookware. The six-week sale season runs from January 11th to February 14th, and with offers of up to 60-80% off your most lusted-after brands, it’s going to be a (very chic and classy) gunfight.
Here are five survival tips to ensure you bag the best of the bargains… and keep your sanity intact in the process.
1. Make a wishlist
Don’t rush from shop to shop like a headless chicken – visit your top stores a few days before the sales start and make a note of the items you really want. Take pictures on your camera phone so you know what you’ll be hunting for when the sales hit, and get to know the store layout so you can make a beeline for the racks you need.
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2. Choose when to go
This is where the dilemma kicks in – do you hit the sales on the opening day, when the choicest offers are still in stock, or do you bide your time until the last week, when prices are slashed even further? For clothes and shoes, we’d say it’s best to dive in first so you can get the stuff you badly want while it’s still offered in your size. For everything else – accessories, furniture, home ware – wait. You’ll get better savings if you exercise a little patience.
3. Time it right
Avoid shopping on the first couple of weekends of the sales: such will be the frenzy of rack-rummaging and ringing tills, you’ll end up either leaving empty-handed and traumatized, or panic-buying things you don’t need. Instead, make the effort to go at odd hours – 9am on a Monday, 8pm on a Wednesday – when the shop floor will be clearer, freeing you up to really consider your options and spend wisely.
4. Pick your battleground
For really effective sales-shopping, target either a shopping district or one department store a day. Rushing all over town or wandering aimlessly between stores will drag out the process and end up frustrating you into decision-paralysis. Instead, set self-imposed limits on where you can bargain-hunt – you’ll be able to make better use of your time looking in every corner for those sweet price knock-downs. Big department stores to visit include Printemps, Le Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette, while well-known shopping quarters include the bobo-chic Marais and designer-alley rue Saint-Honoré.
5. Dress comfortably
You usually reach the nadir of sales-annoyance on the sixth occasion you have to unbutton a coat, unlace your shoes or roll off jeans in a cramped changing room in one day. Avoid the awkwardness by wearing flat, slip-off shoes, a loose dress you can whip over your head in an instant and a light belted or zipped coat that eliminates the fiddly-button issue. Then all you’ve got to worry about is adding a few extra zeros to your credit card bill…
photo by Marshall Segal