the joy of juillet

The weeks surrounding the Fête de la Federation are a perfect time to revisit Paris – that’s July 14 in case you didn’t catch today’s tenuous travel connection. Perfect not only because of the summer weather that makes strolling the Seine so sublime – especially with an ice cream from Berthillon – but also ideal thanks to the summer sales, or soldes. Lest you think these are any old sales, I’m going to set you straight: the national soldes are a government controlled period of five weeks each summer and winter when shops are allowed to offer exceptional discounts. And by exceptional I mean deals up to 70% off on all the good stuff. Think Barney’s Warehouse but with better food – and the Bastille.


solde on paris

If you’re like me you’ll agree the best way to shake those post-holiday blues is to take a trip or go on a little shopping spree.  My idea of the perfect solution combines both – if you’re brave enough to venture within 50 feet of an airport these days.  Book a flight to Paris for the annual winter sales that run January 12 through February 15 when store prices are slashed up to 70%.

For the past five years the City of Light has thrown a four-day shopping “fête” called Soldes by Paris to kick off the great winter sales. From January 12 to 15, over 300 participating hotels, restaurants, boutiques and tour operators will offer visitors extra discounts, gifts and bonuses. For example, the hotels are discounting room rates up to 50% during the period – and often longer.

The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with participating establishments, is distributing a complimentary Shopping Book for visitors, which features all the special offers and discounts, plus seven themed shopping itineraries throughout the city with names like Bobo-Chic or Ethic-Ethnic. New this year, too, is a free iPhone app that features the seven itineraries, a Paris map with GPS positioning, and over 500 boutiques, restaurants and city sites.

Like anyone needs another excuse to visit Paris.


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