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Paris: City of Bargains?

Suzanne Hollands writing for I V Y paris

24shop_slide1 On your next trip to Paris, bring an empty suitcase and hope you get an extra luggage allowance. Paris is a ciry of shopping but a little known fact is that the locals are a thrifty lot, of course it's all done in the best possible taste.

To score the major bargains, schedule your stay to coincide with a members-only private sale in one of the espaces around central Paris.

Access to sales featuring an extensive list of brands at knock-down prices (John Galliano, JP Gaultier, Chloé to name but a few) is available for a small annual fee.

Espace Catherine Max for €30 a year outside France and Espace Voltaire from €15 per year are two of the best.  The more general site for members-only sales (in French) is Shopping Actu which covers less big names but you'll still see the odd Valentino sale popping up - just print the invitation online, it's free entrance.

Still in central Paris, check out "stock" (discount) shops L'Annexe des Créateurs.  In the Marais,  (Metro Hotel de Ville) is King of Cling Azzedine Alaïa's stock shop.  Take a detour south of Montparnasse and you'll find  Cacharel stock in the 14th and Stock Saint-Clair next door. Nearby is Sonia Rykiel's SR Store.

You can pick up items from last season's collections in the dégriffé , or de-labelled, shops, a clutch of which are on the rue Saint-Placide. But whatever the printed guide books say forget Mouton à Cinq Pattes, which translates as "five-legged sheep". You find the goods are 3 season's old, stained and downright bizarre and only racks and racks of Alberta Ferretti. It's really tiring trying to shift the over packed rails and heaven help you if you're caught in the shop on a busy Saturday afternoon. For the thrifty but salacious, dégriffé underwear can be bought at TAB Lingerie 52, rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin.

For a trip outside the city limits La Vallée Outlet ("chic outlet shopping") and shopping village is just outside Paris near Eurodisney and easily accessible by train. 

Espace Catherine Max
Espace Voltaire
Shopping Actu
L'Annexe des Créateurs
Azzedine Alaïa
Cacharel Stock
Stock Saint-Clair
La Vallée Outlet

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