“C’est la Vie en France”
THE SUMMER “SOLDES”
The soldes (sales) have officially begun today here in Paris (the dates vary according to region) and that means you either brave the madness to find bargains or you avoid them like the plague (as I do)!
The markdowns will continue until July 30th, so now’s your chance to score some peachy thing at less than you would have paid during the rest of the year — savings can be up to 50% and sometimes even more (toward the end of the sale period).
The summer sales have never been all that appealing (to me), since summer clothing is not something one needs much of in Paris (particularly this year!), but if you’re off to some fabulous beach vacation or normally live in a warmer climate, this is definitely the time to be in Paris (or elsewhere in France) to take advantage of the deals.
The sales follow the strict regulations as set out by the “Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes” and are designed to create a “level playing field” for the merchants. By restricting the way the merchandise is sold at a discount only during a very specific period and in specific ways, the French believe this to be as fair as possible.
Put the regulation text from the link above into Google Translate and you may be shocked by what you read are the regulations that enforce the way goods are advertised, marked down and sold. This is where our American capitalist thinking differs with the French idea of fairness. We think of “free enterprise” as “freedom of private business to organize and operate for profit in a competitive system without interference by government beyond regulation necessary to protect public interest and keep the national economy in balance.” Therefore, we would never think to restrict a merchant’s ability to mark up or down his merchandise as he wishes.
It’s tough to know if the system really benefits either the consumer or the merchant. An economist might have a more definitive opinion on which system drives the economy better, but one thing for certain: one pays more overall on a daily basis for lack of competition in the marketplace and also if you don’t have the stamina for battling for bargains during the sales, you never get a ‘deal.’ So, one can clearly lose and the merchants win — although perhaps we would have purchased more if it were not for the restrictions! And the merchants would therefore gain from additional spending, so they lose, too.
Oh well. “C’est la vie en France!”
GAY AND PROUD OF IT
Every year on the last Saturday of June, the Inter-LGBT Organization sponsors Gay Pride Parades all over France, with the parade in Paris its largest (73 official floats this year). It’s a time when the community can celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender culture, but you can bet that this year, the anti-gay marriage contingency will show its ugly head.
The march begins at 2 p.m. from Place du 18 Juin 1940 at Montparnasse and winds it way through the city down Port Royal, boulevard Saint-Michel, boulevard St-Germain, and across the Pont de Sully down boulevard Henri IV to arrive at place de la Bastille. At 4:30, there will be a three-minute silence to mark their support for the fight against AIDS. From 4 p.m. till 8:30 p.m., Place de la Bastille will be set up with a stage for music to welcome the marchers.
This is one of my favorite festivals! It’s a time when it doesn’t matter who you are, who you love or how you love — when even the most inhibited types can strut their stuff! And boy, do they! If nothing else, it’s a laugh a minute. Let’s hope the angry-right contingency won’t turn a fun-loving occasion into a brawl!
Every year I park myself along with friends at one of the big cafés, drink and be merry and wait for the parade to come in. Then, when it does, we walk into it and against it so that we can see the whole parade in about one hour, taking a zillion photos along the way of all the crazy sights!…and you won’t believe what awaits you!
Hallelujah! “C’est la vie en France!”
A la prochaine…
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
P.S. Did you know that Parler Paris Après Midi is a great way to meet people and do something cultural all in one fell swoop!? This coming July 9th, Edward Keller, Chef, is going to enlighten us on Gastronomy in France and the United States – history and current trends at Parler Paris Après Midi — our monthly coffee gathering (the second Tuesday of every month except August). Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information and mark your calendars to be there!
P.P.S. You can make your stay in Paris even more special when you use the customized concierge services of Parler Paris Plus! From restaurant reservations, tickets to special events, gift baskets, full day touring itineraries and more, your concierge will work with you to design the vacation of your dreams! Visit Parler Paris Plus or email [email protected].
P.P.P.S The Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group will be closed for the summer vacation. June 29th is the last day, reopening September 10th! See you then!