Sale events are always super exciting in France for two big reasons—clothes aren’t cheap, plus sales and promotion are much less common than in North America. In fact, the French government regulates sales and only allows two six-week-long markdowns a year in June and January.
But this Saturday was the annual “braderie” (street market) in Nantes—an exception to the “nothing on sale!” rule.
Local vendors put up stands outside of their shops and they were joined by hundreds of “outsiders” such as food stalls and market vendors. The streets were so packed you could barely move.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find any good bargains. French fashion may be world-famous but you won’t find affordable Chanel or Dior clothes in local stores. Most vendors offered pricey “made in China” summer dresses, t-shirts and jeans or cheap make-up, much like in any other market.
One thing I noticed in France is that the notion of “personal space” is very different from North America. In Canada, people barely touch each other and if they do, they apologize profusely. In Nantes, people seem to enjoy bumping into each other. “If French drive as they walk,” I told my mum, “I understand why there are so many traffic accidents!”
The fact that pretty much everyone was drinking something (because you really need a beer when you go shopping for clothes, right?) probably wasn’t helping. I still can’t get over how much French people drink!