Les Soldes? I’m Sold!

I’d just arrived in Paris to oversee the renovation of my apartment and was profoundly jet-lagged. I threw myself on a bed, my limbs heavy, my head fuzzy. “Moins 30%” read the sign over my head—30% off. The bed wasn’t comfortable, so I tried another, then another. Only a few hours into my first day and I was playing Goldilocks in a home furnishings store on Avenue Philippe-Auguste.

I’d budgeted a tight $5,000 to furnish my part-time Paris place, including linens, mattress and bedding. But I didn’t realize I’d scheduled my trip smack in the middle of one of France’s bi-annual sales—or les soldes. What a break! I was about to drop serious cash on some big-ticket items, and the Fates just served up big savings at -25%, -40%, -70%!

I saved 400 euros on a high-end mattress that first day. It would be just the beginning of a glorious, deal-filled, two-day spree with my architect, Daniela, buying everything from curtains to bathroom sinks. Everywhere we went, I saved big. Daniela was a master of finding high style for low prices, and pushed me to make more daring choices—making the most of the discounts and my budget. Instead of the classic, ornate crystal chandelier I’d planned for my living room, she steered me toward something more modern: a chandelier ensconced in a clear lampshade. “It’s very Philippe Starck,” she said. And only 164 euros. When the carpet we’d wanted wasn’t available, she encouraged me to take a chance on a more playful option, one with huge block lettering spelling out in a kind of English, I Love So Much New York and Paris, Barcelone, Tokyo, Dublin. “It’s you,” Daniela coaxed. Yes, and reduced from 279 euros to just 60 euros. So me.

There were other great finds: a high-end tabouret normally 365 euros was had for 85; a sofa bed for a puny 199 euros. In the end, I’d spent just half the $5,000 I’d set aside, thanks to les soldes. My contractor quickly found use for the surplus.

Read more about my deco plan

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