On the heels of Epiphany (note to self: run out and snag one of the last king cakes in the window of the nearest boulangerie before they disappear for another year...) the next religious holiday showed up in town yesterday in full splendor and, lucky for us, sun-drenched!
Yes, dear readers, I'm talking about Les Soldes.
(Moment of silence, please.)
January 12th marked the first of a stretch of days dedicated to the winter sales. In France, before 2009, business owners were allowed (by law) two periods of six week stretches called The Sales of Winter and The Sales of Summer. The dates were established by official publication from
But in 2008, a law designed to modernize the economy amended the previous regulation to Les soldes fixes, d'hiver et d'été* (5 weeks each) and Les soldes libres** or flottants** (2 weeks). Outside of these two regulated periods for official soldes, merchants may also now do promotional sales and/or sales to liquidate stock.
In years past, I've seen slower easing into the seasonal sales with discounts in the 20% to 30% range as a start. Not this year! I'm here to tell you that the little financial crise*** being suffered in the Old World has led to knock-out bargains: 50% right out of the gate!
Perhaps they're hoping to strengthen the wobbly euro currency before it begins its predicted tumble. (I do not wish further financial crisis on my lovely European host country, but I do root for the dollar to make a storming come back screaming, "I am still relevant!")
Although I was only able to lacher les vitrines****, I joined my French friends on the first day of the seasonal ritual and raised my mistral-kissed face to the sunny skies in joy and gratitude for the possibility to stretch my
Viva les soldes!
* fixed sales of winter and summer
** free or floating sales
**** licking the windows (window shopping)