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Hitting the paris sales, even with the hideous exchange rate, can make your trip worthwhile. And it’s easy to plan for them because markdowns in France are—surprise!—strictly regulated by the state. They take place twice a year, in mid-January and in late July or August, and may last no longer than six weeks. The initial cut is usually around 30 percent, and gets deeper as time goes by. The big designer boutiques on the avenues Montaigne and Saint-Honoré are fun to cruise through, but pretty much every shop in the city will have a soldes sign in the window, so now is the time to buy Petit Bateau in bulk. Leave your extraneous baggage and your body shame at home; your competition will probably strip down right in front of you. The Ministry of Economy releases summer’s sale dates eight weeks before, so start checking the papers online (, at the end of May.


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