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Navigating "Sale Season" in Paris

Thanks to the strenght of the dollar against the Euro this may be the first time in years that Americans will be able to go to Paris and actually buy something. For the real shoppers out there, those who plan their trips around their potential purchases, timing travels to sales times is key. But Frommer's EasyGuide to Paris 2015 author Margie Rynn is warning that the strategies that have always gone into shopping Paris' sales have changed. Here's her new advice:

"In the name of fair competition, the French government has traditionally put controls on sales. Two times a year, around the second week in January and this summer from June 24 through July 28, retailers are allowed to go hog wild and slash prices as far as they want. Recently, free market forces have loosened the laws, and smaller sales with less drastic reductions can happen year round. Moreover, there are now lots of Internet vente privés, or pre-sales, for customers with store fidelity cards. The result is that while many still breathlessly await the two big seasonal sales, opening day is both mobbed and anticlimactic. Not only is a lot of the good stuff is already gone, but the initial reductions are minimal.

Personally, I think the best time to go is the second or third week, when the crowds have thinned and the stores start really cutting their prices (sales go on for at least 5 weeks). Unless you’re a dedicated masochist, don’t try to shop on a weekend during sale season; you’ll be trampled on, and risk asphyxiation in crowded, stuffy stores. If you must shop on the weekend, go early in the morning when the stores open."

So there you have it, folks. Happy shopping!