Les soldes d’hiver commencent demain!


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Sales are a huge deal in France. That’s why, unlike the U.S., where we have sales almost every other weekend, in France, they only take place two times a year, and they are worth it.

The two period of Soldes, as they are called, are in the winter, and then again in the summer. This is the time when most people try to take advantage of the cheaper prices to buy clothes.

I found out just yesterday that the Soldes d’Hiver will begin tomorrow, Wednesday, January 11, at 8 a.m. and end on February 14. (Check out one of the calendars that they make available online for the specific Soldes d’Hiver 2012). I decided to go check out the stores to see how they were preparing for them.

As it turns out, most of the winter stuff — coats, scarfs, boots, everything that the stores need to get rid off in order to make space for the spring merchandise, was already marked down, up to 70% off in some cases!

But even though it’s marked down, don’t think that you can be smart (as I did) and buy it ahead of time. Oh noooo, mesdames et messieurs! In the U.S., I would have tried to say “Well, it’s already marked down, so why can’t I have it at that price?” No, ma’am, that doesn’t work here. There are actually signs all over the store that specifically say that even though the merchandise is marked down, you cannot buy it at that price until tomorrow, Wednesday, Januarry 11. Damn.

I guess I have to wait just a few hours then. Looking forward to scoring some great deals! I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow…

"In accordance to the law, the merchandise that is already marked down cannot be sold at the discounted price until Wednesday, January 11.! Boo.

"In accordance to the law, the merchandise that is already marked down cannot be sold at the discounted price until Wednesday, January 11.! Boo.

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Caniches (French Poodles) aren’t really French



For the first time, I saw a french poodle in the street today and I was like, “Wow, an authentic french poodle from France!” (Yeah, ’cause I got excited about silly things like that lol). I have seen many white poodles before, but this one caught my attention because it was black and that, for me, was a rare sight.

Unlike the French poodles you see in America, which are perfectly coiffed, this one had messy hair (I mean, fur) but it was kinda cool because it was more of a modern look, and the pooch carried it well, what with its neon green hair band, frizzy hair and all.

What I found out though, is that actually, what we call “French poodles” are not even French to begin with. In reality, poodles came originally from Germany.

Not only that, but in France, they are called Caniches, not “French Poodles.” Go figure.

coiffed- hairstyled
caniche- dog breed that we refer to as “French poodle” in America

Reading kitty graffiti


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I came across this funny-looking doodle of a cat reading a book as I was walking down rue Bonaparte today.

Initially, I thought it was random street graffiti, but then I realized it was painted on the outside of a librairie. Very clever, indeed.

Unfortunately, the bookstore, called Librairie De Nobele, was closed so I will have to come back another day. The reading cat definitely makes me curious to see what it’s like inside…

*la librairie– the bookstore

Le petit marché brocante


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Small tables with used clothes, wooden toys, old tools and children’s books were set up right outside my building this morning. Vendors invited passers-by to check out their merchandise while bargain-shoppers searched through piles of clothes and boxes of random things. It was a small marché brocante, the Parisian version of a garage sale.

At some point, it started raining but that didn’t alarm anybody. Vendors were prepared and immediately covered their merchandise with plastic. Shoppers took umbrellas and rain jackets out of nowhere. Seems like everyone here knows that it can rain at any time.

I didn’t buy anything but it was interesting to see some of the items that people were selling and how even people with fur coats and Louis Vuitton bags shopped as if they were at a department store…

Parisian women shopping at the marché brocante

A cute find among the piles of clothes that were on sale

Shopping under the rain.

This I had never seen before-- people undressing in the middle of the street! lol

Funky Trio


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Today, we went to an Ikea that is part of a shopping center with restaurants and other shops, just outside of Paris. At around noon, we took a break from shopping to eat lunch at the center’s food court and all of a sudden, these three men came out of nowhere and started singing funky songs. The kids loved it. I did too.

Funky Trio

HEAVEN by Miroslaw Balka (Nuit Blanche Paris Part 2)


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Breath-taking. That is the only way I can describe “Heaven,” by artist Miroslaw Balka. It was a beautiful art installation (one of my favorites at the Nuit Blanche) that gave the  Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme courtyard a magical effect, as if rainbow-like stars were falling from the night sky, only to go back up again. (Here’s more about his other work)

You can tell that it's me by the green neon light, can't you? lol

In fact, the installation consisted of 68 tubes of twisted plexiglass that seemed to be floating, suspended in the air. Somehow, the light reflected on the glass and created a sight I will never forget.

They look like falling stars, don't they?