The summer sales in Paris are all about shopping to the max, a little exercise and a lot of competition. You’ll find women in their comfortable walking shoes walking all over Paris hunting for bargains and discounts. They’ll be busy with strategic plans and lining up outside the best stores in the city.
In some cases, the summer sales involve secret destinations and that’s part of the fun.
LUNCH AT BRASSERIE VIRON
I’m writing this out from Tokyo and not from Paris unfortunately. But today, for lunch, I met my Japanese friend Keiko at the Brasserie Viron in Shibuya.
This is one of the most authentic French brasseries in Japan. It only uses French flour, French butter and French salt to make bread and pastries.
SHOPPING TRIPS AROUND THE WORLD
Meeting Keiko today after a very long time reminded me of the many trips we have taken together all over the world. Most of these trips have involved some amount of shopping because Keiko and I both cannot resist good discounts.
THE SUMMER SALES IN PARIS
So, for about ten years, I would meet up with her for a week in Paris right about the last week of June to catch the first few days of the annual summer sales in Paris.
Actually, I met Keiko on a trip, and this is probably why we became very good travel friends.
SERENDIPITY IN FLORENCE
After a family holiday in Austria, I spent a week in Florence on my own before meeting up with someone in London. This was going to be my “me time” and I planned to visit museums and galleries in Florence.
I flew in from Vienna, and my first stop that evening was dinner at a delicious local trattoria. The place was full and I was on my own, so I guess that’s why the restaurant seated me next to the only other lone diner. This diner turned out to be Keiko.
EATING IN FLORENCE
We exchanged pleasantries in Japanese and by the second course we were comparing notes on museums and outlet stores. And by the end of the evening, we’d made plans to meet up every night for dinner together.
Anyway, this was long before Travelife came along and took the time (but not the fun!) out of traveling.
THE SCHEDULE OF THE PARIS SUMMER SALES
The annual summer sales kick off on the same day for all stores. Quite a lot of avid shoppers travel from all over the world to unabashedly indulge themselves in a sea of 50% or 60% discounts. There is absolutely nothing high-brow about these June trips, although we did manage an afternoon at the Louvre on one year.
In general, however, we reserved the museums, the historical walks and the opera for visits to Paris at other times of the year. It’s too frantic in Paris during sale season. There are too many women in slacks and flats, roaming the streets with their credit cards in hand and the determined look of hunters searching for current season items at half-price.
THE SALES STRATEGY
Keiko and I had our routine down to pat. We always arrived five days or so before the sale proper and booked a hotel within walking distance to the Fabourg St. Honore. This area is also near the department stores around the Place de l’Opera, and also the Left Bank.
For the sales, I usually liked staying at the Park Hyatt Place Vendome or the Meurice.
SCHEDULES & PLANS
We always arrived earlier than the first day of the sale. The summer sales in Paris start on the same day each year and the date is announced in Le Figaro and other French newspapers. This way, we could check the shops, choose the items and plan our respective first-day routes.
At stores where we became regulars, the shop girls would keep highly coveted items for us.
Then, on the first day of the sale, after an early and big breakfast, Keiko and I would part ways for the day and wish each other luck. She always joined the crowds at Printemps and Galleries Lafayette.
Meanwhile I usually stopped first at the off-site Hermes sale, where the line is always long. Then I headed on to Chloe and Missoni.
CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN ON SALE
Years ago, Christian Louboutin was not world famous yet so his tiny workshop and store on a very narrow street just on the way to the Marais was not crowded at all. I love his shoes so I always ended up here even if it was far away. I bought most of my Louboutins during the sales.
After two days, our hotel room looked like a war zone, with bags everywhere. And way too soon, it would be time to pack up and return to Tokyo with overweight bags and overused credit cards. But with big smiles on our faces.
Read more about shopping in Paris in Travelife Magazine.