While Brits must rouse themselves from a festive stupor to hit the Boxing Day sales, the French are granted a few weeks’ grace after Christmas. The Paris winter sales – les soldes – always start on the second Wednesday of January and run for six weeks, so there’s plenty of time to seek out a bargain.
This year, sales fever will strike from 9 January to 19 February 2019, with increasingly seductive markdowns on the autumn/winter collections. There’s more than just wearable bargains up for grabs: say oui to home décor, beauty products and even wine and champagne. Your only must-have item is an empty suitcase.
With a bit of forward-planning, the Paris winter sales can be a joy. It’s the perfect time to stock up on timeless items to cherish for life. Hit the shops a few days earlier to try clothes on in quiet comfort and ask which ones will be discounted – staff may even keep them aside for you. Check opening times carefully: many independent boutiques still close on Mondays and Sundays.
Hit the shops midweek for a quieter experience, but don’t expect empty stores: local fashionistas often take a few days off to restock their wardrobes. Wear comfortable shoes for pounding those pavements and dress to undress. Prime purchasing time is during the second markdown (if you can be that patient) as choice is limited by the third week.
Don’t limit yourself to one neighbourhood: the Métro makes hopping between shopping districts a doddle. Superlative department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette vie for attention on boulevard Haussmann. For indie boutiques, head to the Marais’s charming streets. The Left Bank has its gems. Spend an afternoon in elegant Bon Marché or hitting the high-street stretch of rue de Rennes.
Our best tip? Don’t miss designer-brand stock shops like Maje Outlet, Sandro and APC Surplus for out-of-season items at even more purse-friendly prices. Parisian vintage shops, such as Free‘P’Star and Guerrisol are perennially affordable, too. Or have a nosey around Sympa, where a good rummage can unearth cut-price gems from Petit Bateau, Etam and Naf Naf.
Parisians are well-versed in the art of the ‘investment shop’. Concept store Sept Cinq sources its finds from Parisian designers. There’s something for every budget: stock up on eye-catching notebooks from Season Paper, or plump for a pair of leather trainers from Bobbies. For an injection of local cool, next-door L’Exception stocks a curated collection of made-in-France brands.