Paris’s “Winter Sales” began on January 11 and continue through February 21. It’s not just department stores that are having them. The big fashion houses are also in on the discount extravaganza and there are bargains to be had.
The discounts are deep, 50 to 70% on selected items. Get there when the doors open, when everything is neatly piled and lines less long at the cash register. Some designers have to limit the number of shoppers in their department store boutiques. You’ll always see a queue of just-off-the-jetters who go for the big brand names.
Values are waiting in the triangle d’or (Avenue Montaigne, Ave George V, and Rue Francois 1er), where the finest Haute Couture shops in the world are located. The prestigious houses include: Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Dolce e Gabbana, Max Mara, Christian LaCroix, Valentino, Prada, Ungaro, Joseph, Bonpoint, Jean Louis Scherrer, Gucci, Pucci, Loewe, Krizia, Bulgari, Calvin Klein, Nina Ricci, Ines de la Fressange, Donna Karan, Celine, Yves Saint Laurent (headquarters), Bulgari, S.F. Dupont, Porthault Linens, Caron, Hermes, Gianfranco Ferré, Givenchy, Kenzo. Rochas, Courreges, and Balmain. Be prepared to have your purse searched before entering.
Tired just reading the list? The Georges V (31, avenue George V) to the rescue with a time-out drink at Le Bar or light meal in the L’Orangerie restaurant. The staff are always gracious and welcoming; the flower arrangements will take your breath away. Sidenote: If you’re a guest, free flower arranging classes are offered by their world-renowned flower magician ($200 for non-guests); the staff offer guests a special morning hour-long jog at 7:30 along the Seine, through the Tuileries (free, once a week), room rates start at $800 a night.
At 50-70%, even the couture prices may well be beyond your means. Depot-vente (secondhand boutiques) present another choice. Dive into the piles for some amazing bargains all year round:
Didier Ludot, 24 Galerie Montpensier – Jardin du Palais Royal 75001 http://www.didierludot.fr
Kiliwatch, 64 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002 http://www.kiliwatch.fr