10 Insider Tips for Shopping Winter Sales in Paris

Note: This article has been updated from it's original release date in January 2013.

Fashion obsessed jetsetters take note: The splurge worthy shopping frenzy starts in Paris, France, Wednesday, January 8, 2014, and ends Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

So, how far are you willing to travel for a 5-inch sexy pair of Christian Louboutins? What are you willing to do for a classic tweed Chanel blazer with braided trim or some other dreamy fashion frock from Hermes, Lanvin, or Gucci at 30-60-70 off?

Well if you know me, you know I’d travel back to Paris during a blizzard to take advantage of the biannual sales.

Paris sales are typically held once in the winter and once in the summer. Sales (called “Soldes” in French) are government regulated and normally last about 5-6 weeks. During that time prices are continuously slashed as the sale period comes to an end. Although the best bargains are in clothes, housewares, furniture and even wine are on sale.

I planned my first trip to Paris around winter sales, which just so happened to be held during my birthday. Yours truly scored a pair of gorgeous, red soled pink-suede beauties at about 65% off ($375.00).

Christian Louboutin shoes

So, are you ready to jump on a flight and shop? If so, I’ve got you covered.

Navigating the beautiful cobblestone streets of Paris for fab finds is like a sport, so you’ll definitely need to strategize. Here are my top 10 tips to give you a heads up: 

  1. Wait until  halfway through the sales to shop. Prices drop down the closer you get to the end but fab finds will be scarce.
  2. Avoid competition with the locals and shop during mid-week or mid-morning. I found this time best for personal service and more leg room to stroll around smaller shops and boutiques.
  3. Start your day with a pastry and coffee. Indulge in a galette des rois (a flaky pastry filled with almond paste), beignet (sweet fried sweet dough covered with confectioner’s sugar) or the all to famous classic French croissant. 
  4. Dress comfortably. Hustling around Paris streets by walking and/or taking public transportation can be incredibly tiring so resist the temptation to dress like the locals. Comfortable shoes are a must. Wear clothing that is easy to get on and off in dressing rooms.Paris Shopping on the Street
  5. Don’t waste time wandering aimlessly down wrong streets. Before you get started, grab “The Shopping Book” a promotional guide prepared by the French Office of Tourism. This shopping & style “Bible” has hundreds of addresses, themed itineraries and stores are organized by shopping profiles-Bohemian-Chic, Trendy, Select, Ethic-Ethnic, Creative and Savvy. The book is available for free at the Bureau’s tourist information points.
  6. Expect long lines (or Queues) which form well before 8 am at famous multi-level department stores like Galleries Lafayette (40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 ), Printemps ( 64 boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris), Le Bon Marché  Rive Gauche (24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007) and Place Vendôme, (Jewelry heaven- 75001 Paris). Both Printemps  and Galaries are worth a visit but the sales in my opinion are bit better at Galaries. Most of the larger department stores carry luxury brands as well.Paris Shopping

For your favorite handbags and shoe designer stores especially Louboutin, Prada and Gucci, the same long line rules apply.

I went to the original Louboutin boutique located on 19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau,1er. Although I felt like I was a part of a scavenger hunt while trying to locate this surprisingly small plain old boutique on a desolate street,  there was no line to get into the store, the service was great and it was stocked with a fab selection shoes.

The second Louboutin boutique is located at 68 rue du faubourg St Honoré. The line was down the street and customer service was sub par but this two-story  building is work of art. It features the exotic, suede and bedazzled CL creations; definitely worth a visit just to drool and hate on the women, men and even teenage girls buying 3 to 4 pair of shoes at once.

7. Check store hours. Smaller boutiques stick to regular hours, opening around 10 am, and larger department stores open around 8am to 9am.

8. Pay attention to the sale signs. Generally the sale of a “sale” item is final and no refund is available.

Paris Shopping area Rue De Rivoli9. Don’t forget to claim your VAT (Value Added Tax)! If you spend at least 175.01 euros in one location in one day, you can be reimbursed for the 12 percent VAT in many stores. You must be a non-European citizen and over 15 years old. Ask for “Tax-free Shopping France” forms. Beware the 12% tax refund lines are Bananas!

10. Have fun and explore. Click here to check out some of the best shopping areas known for some of the best cafés, boutiques and great scenery!

Have you ever shopped in Paris during the biannual sales?  Any tips?  Plans to go? Sharing is caring, leave a comment.

One Response to 10 Insider Tips for Shopping Winter Sales in Paris

  1. Andrea Adams says:

    I have shopped in Paris during the biannual sales, though its been years now. I love the tips!! What a great way to celebrate your birthday. Your little finds are wonderful, those pink suede shoes!!

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