Today is the last day of the winter sales in France. Over the last 6 weeks, boutiques, department stores, shoe and bag shops, and even hardware stores have been clearing out items from the previous season, gradually slashing prices as the weeks tick by. Paris has been plastered with colorful soldes signs and we have been in the thick of deep markdowns for the last two weeks. This is the stage of the sales called the dernière démarque, or the final markdown (as opposed to the nouvelle démarque or the deuxième démarque) of the biannual government-sanctioned sale.
The dernière démarque is usually as much as 75 percent off the original price, but one year I bought a coat on the last day for ten percent of the original cost. Sometimes good things truly do come to those who wait.
However, this year, I haven’t really had the heart, money or patience to hit the sales. I did come across some deeply discounted sweaters and a few basics on my way to the cinema the other day. I couldn’t resist them. Picking them up for a mere 33€ in total.
Coming from a culture of “Sales! Sales! Sales!”—where you can find some sort of massive discount on something nearly 24/7—moving to a country with sales only twice a year was a bit of a shockeroo to the system. But I have to say, I have really come to appreciate and love this aspect of France. I find that biannual sales force you to buy less and buy better. I used to wonder how so many Parisians succeed in looking so flawless every day. Now I know. They wait, they scheme, and they work the soldes to their advantage. Their closets are less full, but full of great pieces.
It’s certainly something to aim for, and something to consciously save for, and of course, something to find the will to cultivate the patience for: la dernière démarque.
dernière démarque: final markdown
deuxième démarque: second markdown
nouvelle démarque: the new, and first markdown of a sale