Paris only has two sanctioned sales during the year — in January just after the Christmas break and in July just before the August holiday. The winter sale is in full swing through February 21, with many stores now in their second and third markdown. Unlike sales in the U.S., stores are open mostly during normal hours, except have extended days open on a few Sundays. While it seems impossible, French law only allows sales during this time period, otherwise stores must get permission from the police to hold discounted sales outside this time period. The theory behind this is that this protects the small mom and pop shops from heavy discounting by the major giants, like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, but, in reality, this is a way to preserve price protection and state sanctioned price parity among retailers.
Some great venues for shopping include Rue de Passy (Passy Plaza) in the 16th Arrondissement, Rue Saint Dominique in the 7th Arrondissement, Rue du Bac in the 7th Arrondissement, Rue Saint Paul and Rue des Francs-Bourgois in Le Marais (the 4th Arrondissement) and Rue Saint Honore in the 8th Arrondissement. High-end fashion stores like Chanel, Christian Dior and Luis Vuitton don’t participate in this sale because they don’t have to, but some great boutique stores like Jacadi, Bonpoint and Tartine et Chocolate offer some excellent values for children clothes. Other major stores, such as H&M, Le Bon Marche and less well known boutiques provide good values, but inventory is limited so buying right away is key.
Other shopping values can be found at top kitchen supply stores (Dehillerin), furniture at chic stores like Blanc d’Ivoire and Mis en Demeure on the very fashionable rue du Cherche Midi in the 7th Arrondissement) and toy stores like Au Nain Bleu, Si Tu Veux (in the beautiful Galerie Vivienne) and the one of a kind Lin & Cie (near Jardin du Luxembourg). You are sure to find some good buys with little effort, but hurry, as quality inventory truly won’t last!