Sales are an exciting topic in France for two main reasons: first, clothes aren’t cheap, second, sales and discounted prices are rare. In fact, the French government regulates sales and only allows two six-week-long markdowns a year, one in June and the other in January.
But this Saturday was the annual “braderie” (street market) in Nantes—an exception to the rule.
In the downtown core, 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 like 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 drink!