Paris retail sales start January 7th for six weeks of bargains

Written by admin on December 29, 2008 – 12:28 pm -

Admittedly, the economy is terrible and many people are worried about finances. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should stop traveling. They simply need to know how to travel smarter because now, for anyone that happens to have some extra cash, it may be time to head to the City of Light for shopping and more.

Airlines want to fill their planes and they’re having a hard time doing that these days. Surf the Internet. There are lots of deeply discounted fares, especially if travelers are able to be somewhat flexible with dates. Ditto for hotels. There are many websites offering last minute and discounted prices.

If you need an excuse to visit Paris, shopping when bargains are real and plentiful is as good as any. The winter retail sales in Paris officially begin on January 7, 2009, and continue for six weeks. Stores discount their stock by up to 70%. If travelers are leaving the EU, they’re entitled to a tax rebate (up to 15%) if they spend a minimum of €175 in the same store on one day. Gone, unfortunately, are the days when visiting shoppers could accumulate receipts during a week and qualify for the sum total of the tax rebate.

The French are gunning for the shopping tourist trade and have launched a website Shopping Paris that tells visitors what’s hot and happening during the sales.

Parisians by nature love shopping. Paris has 17,500 shops (many aren’t much larger than a postage stamp). That’s 29 stores per 1,000 inhabitants. Once travelers are shopped out, dine at one of approximately 10,000 restaurants to refresh the body, take in a show at one of the 145 theaters to refresh the soul and visit one of the city’s renowned museums.

It doesn’t take much other than comfortable shoes to walk the streets and get some inspiration. Be sure to bring appropriate clothes. Even though it rarely snows (or if it does, it doesn’t stick), a knit hat, scarf, gloves and boots will undoubtedly come in handy.

Here are five new shopping itineraries targeted at individual’s different styles of dressing. Be sure to buy a Plan de Paris (a small book that you can carry with you that notes every street). Another option is using the GPS function if you’re carrying a Blackberry or an iPhone. Check with your provider before leaving the U.S. about activating it and the costs you’ll incur.

Clothes glorious clothes:

Classic: Looking for timeless elegance? Head to these areas: Montaigne, Champs-Élysées, Place Vendôme and Palais Royal.

Trendy and cutting edge: Le Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Haussman, Étienne Marcel, and Les Halles. Les Halles is a good bet for anyone on a limited budget.

Bobo-chic (or the charm of arty intellectual Paris): Sèvres-Babylone, Odéon, Charonne, and Canal Saint-Martin.

Creative and young designers: Try Bir Hakeim, Abbesses, Marché Saint-Honoré, and Saint-Paul.

Fusion Fashion World or cultural melting pots: head to Belleville, La Villette, Olympiades, Ledru-Rolli, and Opéra.

Don’t overlook outdoor markets. Even though many of them concentrate on selling food, there are usually plenty of clothing vendors. I’ve bought some terrific wearables for a fraction of the cost I’d have to pay in a store.

Even if a browser ends up buying nothing, walking these neighborhoods will teach a great deal about the city and its people. The shopper’s view of Paris after diving into the Paris-on-sale world will be far different from those people who take a city tour or a cruise on the Seine.

Visitors forget how small the city is. In its entirety, Paris is only 41 square-miles and the Métro and the buses will move millions quickly from shop to boutique comfortably and quickly. What more could you want?

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis.

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Posted in Consumer Traveler |