So today I ventured out and participated in the equivalent of Black Friday...Frenchie style. God, what an overwhelming experience THAT was, and I wasn't even fighting weekend crowds. When we're talking sales, we're talking up to 50, 60, and sometimes even 70% off everything from groceries to high-end fashion. The government tends to regulate not only how often stores can be open (we must give those shopkeepers enough time off!), but also the number of sales they can have. In total, there are two HUGE sales that occur throughout the year that continue on for 4-5 weeks, one in January after the holidays and one in June before the entire city ditches town on holiday. Supposedly, too, stores are allowed to hold 'promotions' (lesser reductions) only two other times a year, but I've heard that rules have loosened a bit to help stir the economy. In any case, 'Les Soldes' (the sales) started yesterday and continue through Feb. 14th. I read that people go all out, take off work the first few days it happens, and even dress in clothes and shoes that are easiest to take on and off quickly so they can be speedy quick in the dressing rooms. Not sure if I spotted anyone looking the part of the quick changer..... who can tell when everyone looks so euro and well-put-together all the time. In any case, I headed out to the ever so famous department stores, Printemps and Galleries Lafayette and had no idea what madness I was in for. I was actually on a mission to find a new winter coat and had to use all my might to stay focused on the task. There's just soooo many fun things to look at...oh all the clothes! But apparently that's how the Frenchie fashionistas do it. They WAIT for these stellar sales to go out to buy those ridiculously sweet pair of boots or that way-to-expensive little black dress or that over-the-top Gucci purse. Slowly, I'm learning their secrets....and yes, I ended up following suit.