Category Archives: Paris

Soldes: The best time to shop in Paris



The French sales period, SOLDES, is the BEST time to shop in Paris. Like many things in France, the timing of the biannual sales are regulated by the state. For 2017, the sales periods in Paris are: winter  11th of January until the 21st of February and in summer the 28th of June to the 8th of August (the dates can vary slightly in different regions of France).

During the sales period, products can be marked down 3 times: 1er démarque, 2eme démarque and 3eme démarque.  Each time, the cost of goods can be reduced to up to 70% in the third mark down.



As a tourist, the best areas to shop would be the Champs Elysées, Rue de Rivoli in the Marais, les grands magasins/ department stores (such as Printemps & Galeries Lafayette) and, my personal favourite, Rue de Saint Honoré in the 1st arrondissement. These areas have a mix of shops with French brands, chain stores, luxury brands and boutiques.

I’ve been lucky enough to be in town during the summer and winter soldes, and the bargains are amazing.  Living in the southern hemisphere is a bonus as I’m able to shop for the upcoming season!  Only con is that the shops are absolutely packed, not just with people, but with shelves and shelves of products.

img_1460edit-copyMy top tips are:

  • Be prepared.
    • Do have a look online to see what to look for.
    • Check for the shop’s opening and closing times.
    • Give yourself enough time (ie don’t be in a rush, there are piles of stuff to search through!).
    • Make sure you have your ID in case of checks in store for your credit card, as well as for the DETAXE (tax refund scheme) paperwork.
  • If you find what you are looking for, take it!
    • If you can’t find it in the store, try looking online to see if another store has it in stock, or if available online, to purchase.
  • Be efficient: lines to the changing rooms are long so make sure you take in whatever you can.
  • Dress comfortably:  flats shoes and an easy outfit to change in and out of are helpful!
  • Make sure you have enough luggage/luggage allowance to fit all your purchases 😃


Soldes By Joy Loves Paris.    Brush lettering by hand, edited with Adobe software.

For more information for dates of Soldes periods around France see: Le portail de l’Économie et des Finances

For more shopping ideas: Paris Info Site officiel de l’Office du Tourisme et des Congrès

Bonne chance! (Good luck!)





Minuit Moins 7

Minuit Moins 7 By JoyLovesParis. Watercolour

If your classic red soles are in need of some love, Minuit Moins 7 is the place to go. Situated in the quaint Galerie Véro-Dodat in Paris’ 1st arrondissement, it is known as the offical cobbler to Christian Louboutin. Their services include the replacement and repair of the famed red soles and shoes, including the installation of the CL signature rubber red soles.

minuitmoins74Galerie Véro-Dodat joins Rue Croix des Petits Champs and Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau and is close to the Louvre and Palais Royale.  Inside it is quiet and picturesque, with architecture that takes you back to the 1800s. There are a few of these galeries (indoor passageways) in Paris, each with their own feel and boutiques.  I had visited this galerie a few times before, as our usual accommodation is situated close by, and each time I’ve been in awe of the ambience of the arcade. The flagship Christian Louboutin store is conveniently found next door to the Cordonnerie.


I have, for some time, been wanting to get rubber soles put onto my pair of Loubi’s to prolong the usage of my beloved shoes, as well as to add grip.  I had purchased my 100mm glitter Pigalles here in Sydney, and was recommended a local cobbler to carry out this service for me.  But alas, I had much preferred to go to the source, so made sure I brought along my glittery pair to be repaired when I left for Paris.

The gentleman who served me spoke English and assisted me with my desired service.  The turnaround time was a month, and as I was unfortunately not staying in Paris for the duration, requested they be sent to me in Sydney.


They arrived a week or two after the date quoted, but when they did, I was delighted to see they were packaged well and the soles just as I had imagined.

I would highly recommend their service, whether you are in Paris or elsewhere (as you can send your shoes to them for repair).  They have also opened a shop in London, which provides the same services.  Do contact them for more information on their services, your Red Soles (and you!) will be grateful you did!



Minuit Moins 7



10 Passage Véro-Dodat
75001 Paris
Tel : +33(0)1 42 21 15 47


163-165 Whitecross Street
Tel : +44(0)207 6082330

La Tour Eiffel: You never forget the first time…

IMGP2109 3

When thinking about going to Paris for the first time, many dream of the beautiful boulevardes, the famous museums, the cafés, and of course, getting your first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  It’s probably the most recognisable landmark in the world and is often seen on screen, in print and is replicated in many forms (it’s an essential Paris-lover / Francophile accessory!).


Once you finally arrive, it’s a surreal feeling. Dreaming about being somewhere for so long then finally getting there is an amazing experience.  You first seek out the Eiffel Tower. Virtually anywhere you are in Paris, you just have to look up to see it. The first time you see her will likely be memorable.  It’s then when you know that you have finally made it.


I still remember the very first time I saw her. I was 24 and travelled to Europe for the very first time, solo. I chose a special fare that landed in Paris then a Eurostar trip to London a few hours later.  I took a taxi from Charles de Gaulle to Gare Du Nord and remember seeing her.  She was peeking out through buildings as we entered the outskirts of the city. My heart almost leapt out of my chest, and I felt the biggest smile form on my face. I fell in love that day.

My first trip to Paris in 2005

If you have a memorable story to tell of your “first time”,  please share in the comments below.

À la prochaine!


Je suis Paris. Nous sommes Paris.

I was heartbroken, along with the rest of the world, when I heard the sad news that the city I love, the city that has inspired this blog, has had to suffer through another painful experience. In these unfortunate times however, the power of the human spirit is evident.  Grief has brought about kindness in many. The outpouring of love and support for Parisians and the French has been incredible. Last night, I had an event in the CBD and was able to witness Sydney’s show of solidarity at the Town hall and Opera House.

My heart and prayers are with those affected in Paris, as well as with all others around the world who have to deal with similar unfortunate occurrences.

Je suis Paris. Nous sommes Paris.

Sydney Opera House Image Source:
Sydney Opera House Image Source:

The scent of Paris

Memories brought back by Chance. ©JoyLovesParis
Memories brought back by Chance. ©JoyLovesParis

On an impromptu two week trip to Paris in May 2012, I gave myself the challenge of packing minimally. It was a difficult task but one that I proudly conquered.  I’m usually one for options (for every mood, weather condition & occasion!) but this time I decided to choose wisely.

Chanel Chance ©JoyLovesParis

Now it may seem like quite a simple thing, and I do tend to overthink things, but the choice of scent is important to me. I have always had a sensitive sense of smell so I try to surround myself with pleasant fragrances.  Scents can help create a certain mood, can tell you a lot about a personality, but more importantly can evoke memories.  I ended up taking Chanel Chance as my chosen perfume for the trip. It was a perfume given to me as a gift, and one that took me time to enjoy.  It was discovering the notes and layers of the scent that gained my appreciation for it.

Months after my trip, I recall wearing Chance again.  The fragrance brought back memories of those two weeks. The two warm humid days in Singapore. The smell of food at Borough markets on the weekend in London. The sunny spring morning walks along the Seine. The tulips in Giverny and the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. The Chanel sunglasses I had excitedly acquired at the boutique in Printemps. The gorgeous coq au vin I had at a nearby café.  A cool and windy trip on the Bateau Mouche. The time lost inside amongst books and history of Shakespeare and Co. And oh so many more memories.

I have since associated that perfume with Paris. To me, it is the scent of Paris.

People watching in Paris


People watching is a favourite Parisian past time. When you pass by cafés, you will notice the chairs turned out towards the street.  When inside a cafe, tables can be quite close to one another.  Sometimes you can’t help but eavesdrop on other conversations and watch people interacting. Using your imagination to add in the extra details can be quite entertaining.  Common etiquette dictates that it is rude to stare and to listen in on others’ conversations, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in Parisian culture.  I did not seem to notice being ‘observed’ the last time I was there, maybe Parisians practice subtlety in this aspect.

Angelina cafe Paris 4368
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Around the industrial revolution, flâneurs wandered aimlessly along the newly completed boulevards and arcades whilst observing life around them. Many writers and poets of the 19th century were known flâneurs, and were likely inspired by their observations. Defined by Oxford dictionary as “a man who saunters around observing society“, this is probably how the art of people watching began. (There is quite a bit more to the concept of the flâneur in the literary and philosophical sense, it is worth  looking into it further if it interests you.)

Café de Flore
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
I have to admit that I don’t mind a bit of people watching myself. Once observing strangers’ body language, I then make up a story to go with them (occasionally I confirm my story when I overhear some of the conversation…). It is quite amusing, I can see why Parisians enjoy it so much.


Le dîner en blanc

I was fortunate enough to be able to access highly sought-after tickets to this year’s event in Sydney, in late November. It has inspired this article on the event, which started in Paris, bien sûr.

Image source : Dîner en Blanc Paris

Every June, thousands of people, fashionably dressed in white, crowd the streets of Paris armed with trolleys and baskets. They are headed to a secret location, to celebrate food, friendship and fun. Invitations to this event is limited to those who have previously attended and their guests.

There are some simple rules to follow at the event which stay true to the original concepts and keeps the event unique.  They include taking along one guest, a table, two chairs and picnic basket, to dress elegantly in white, and to leave nothing behind at the venue.  There are also a few traditions that occur at every Dîner en Blanc; the waving of white napkins to mark the start of le dîner and the lighting of the sparklers to open up the dance floor.

The very first event took place in Paris at the Bois de Bologne in 1988, when François Pasquier organised a gathering for friends and asked them to wear white to make locating each other easier. Since then, the Paris chapter has seen events held at spectacular venues such as the pyramid at the Louvre, Pont Alexandre III, Trocadéro and Palais Royale, to name a few!

Le dîner en blanc events currently take place in many cities around the world, showcasing their landmarks and public spaces.  The first event in Sydney occurred in 2012 with the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Art as its inaugural venue.

I’m looking forward to attending this all-white event and sharing my experiences.

For more information, visit Dîner en Blanc, Paris and click the links to find an event near you.

Les bouquinistes de la Seine


One of my favourite things to do in Paris, is to wander through the couple of hundred bouquiniste stalls along the Seine. Described by many as an “open-air bookshop”, they combine my love of books, antiques, bookshops and market stalls in such a picturesque way.


At these stalls, you will find a huge selection of French second-hand and vintage books, magazines, posters and souvenirs. You get a sense of nostalgia whilst looking through the vintage posters and the aged book spines from bygone eras.

Bain News Service, Book stalls, Paris
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Les bouquinistes on the Seine have been around for centuries and form a part of Paris’ literary history, tradition and landscape. What started out as a way of life for wandering merchants in the 17th century to sell used (salvaged) books along the Seine, the practice has evolved over time, through the revolution and the world wars. With such a history, it is no wonder that they gained UNESCO world heritage status in 1991.


Each stall consists of four boxes that are attached to the walls along the Seine. As local rules dictate, the exterior of each box has to be dark green in colour, and at least three of the boxes must contain books. These stalls are well regulated by the Paris city council, and are subject to regular inspections.  The bouquinistes are frequented by the locals (as the majority of material is in French), but the stall holders have had to adapt to the numerous amount of tourists by selling souvenirs – much to the dismay of the Parisians.  An interesting article I came across from The Guardian in 2008 describes the booksellers’ plight of needing to make a profit while trying to keep to the city council’s rules (and local opinion).

Bouquinistes boîtes fermées
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
You can find these booksellers on the Right Bank from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the Left Bank, from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire. They are open every day, with the exception of poor weather.

Stars indicate bouquiniste location areas. Map made using Google Maps.
Stars indicate bouquiniste location boundaries. Map made using Google Maps.

On past visits, I’ve bought a few children’s books at these stalls (a copy of Le Petit Prince and a few French Mister Men and Women stories). Each of them were carefully wrapped in cellophane and in pristine condition. On my next visit, I hope to find the perfect vintage print from the Babar series for my daughter’s room (I couldn’t decide on one the last time I was there).

Les bouquinistes are lovely to walk through, make sure you stop to admire (or even buy) the beautiful books!

Me wandering through the bouquiniste stalls ©JoyLovesParis

Useful links:


Paris Fashion week SS16 has quickly come and gone, but not without my Instagram feed being regularly updated with a number of beautiful photos.  Not only do I enjoy eyeing the up to date looks of fashion’s elite, but I love observing the beautiful Parisian settings.  From recognisable architecture and street signs, to the unmistakeable gravel of the Jardin des Tuileries, here are some of my favourite blogger’s PFW Instagram photos that take me back to Paris.

All images sourced from Instagram

I couldn’t not mention the genius that is Karl Lagerfeld’s creation of an airport inside the Grand Palais for the Chanel show.  I am amazed every year at the themes he comes up with.

Image source: Reuters via
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Feature Image source: 

Paris, Joy t’aime

Arc de Triomphe ©JoyLovesParis
Arc de Triomphe ©JoyLovesParis

The city of light, the city of love. There are so many clichés to describe Paris, and only once one has visited the famed city, does one know why. I have been lucky enough to visit four times, and my love for the city has developed from that of a naïve infatuation to a deep and meaningful respect.

Your first trip is like meeting someone for the first time. With excitement and anticipation you look forward to discovering everything about them. You explore the city with an innocence and your head in the clouds. After recognising the landmarks your head spins with the reality that you have finally made it there.

Some may never return, happy to have had the opportunity to have visited. But for many who do travel back, the experience may be different from the first.  You find new places to explore and return to your favourites. On your rediscovery, you may start to notice things that you might have ignored the initial time.  The dog poo on the sidewalk, the smell of the metro, and the numerous suspicious looking characters trying to sell you souvenirs or sign a petition. Reality kicks in that Paris is really just like any other city.

The last time I arrived at Charles de Gaulle in 2013, I recall seeing the Bienvenue à Paris (Welcome to Paris) sign and smiling to myself (probably looking completely mad!). Despite the numerous hours of travelling to get there, I happen to find a grin on my face on every trip.  Each trip has been such a different experience, with each one revealing something new. I have accepted all of the so-called “negative” aspects as part and parcel of the whole Parisian experience. Like with anything you love, you have to know and take both the good and bad.