One of the major events that happens bi-annually in both winter and summer in France are les soldes saisonniers, or the seasonal sales. In the United States, we of course have Black Friday, (my students were horrified by some of the YouTube clips I showed them during our Thanksgiving lesson). However, stateside it is also completely typical and normal to see sales and clearances all year-round in all different types of stores (I’m looking at you, Kohls). Curiously enough, it works a little bit differently here in France.
Typically, France has country-wide sales twice per year, and that’s it. They begin every year on the second Wednesday in January and the third Wednesday in June, and then they go on for approximately five weeks each (this year, the winter sales end on February 12th, and the summer sales will go from June 25th-July 29th). During the five weeks, the prices typically decrease lower and lower each week, until the end, when prices are at their lowest! (Coincidentally, there is unusually not much left!) Les soldes are very exciting in France because sales and clearances in stores and businesses are much more regulated by the government; as I said, these sort of discount events are some of the only ones you will see all year. (However, since 2009, some merchants have been given permission to run sales during two other weeks of the year, as long as their promotions end at least one month before the nationwide sales begin.) Overall, I have found that stores get very excited, and almost every establishment has a separate sign in the window advertising their bargains and deals.
So, this month I have been very busy shopping and taking advantage of Les Soldes. During my first weekend back from Christmas in January, I headed back to Toulouse in order to visit my friend Sarah and her husband Aldric (and of course their bilingual daughter, Mia!) That weekend, in addition to vegging out, and going to the park, we also took advantage of Les Soldes.
My new absolute favorite store here in Europe is Desigual, a Spanish brand I discovered in Barcelona but coincidentally exists all over France. (I have heard a confirmed rumor that there is a branch in New York City, but I’ve never heard of nor seen it anywhere else stateside. This store is amazing, but expensive. So, I’m trying to take advantage of les soldes, and am slowly but surely building my wardrobe with a few key items (ie: Leather Jacket, scarf, sweater, purse).
Do you think you’d prefer the American or French-style of Les soldes? What’s your favorite overseas brand? Leave me a comment!