The Palais Royal is one of our favorite spots in Paris. It has history, art, and architecture, a beautiful garden to stroll through (best Spring through Fall), plus is just steps away from other attractions like the Louvre and Rue Saint Honoré - aka designer handbag avenue. While visiting this time, we also had the pleasure of encountering a sweet reader and her fiancé, who were there from Australia having their engagement photos taken! Congrats again, Vian & Sylvain : )
A friend first introduced me to Maje years ago while in Europe. The brand's classic, tailored styles remind me a lot of Theory but with more romantic detailing and feminine flair. I saw this skirt on sale in London, but thought for sure it would be priced better in the brand's home country of France! To my surprise, all the stores in Paris had everything still at full price. I asked an SA and learned that the French government regulates sales, so retailers can only mark down items twice a year: during the designated Winter (starting Jan 11th this year) and Summer (starting late June) sales periods, or "les soldes." Perhaps this is common knowledge, but it was interesting news to me!
If comparing full retail prices in local currency, yes the pricing was about 40% lower in France - for example, my skirt retails for $295 in the US vs. 185 EUR and 199 GBP (which converts to $171 and $216 in France and the UK, respectively, after the VAT refund). However the limited markdowns law means that many items could still be a better buy in other countries that allow plentiful sales. This doesn't apply to items like popular designer pieces which never go on sale, but a different story for most clothing. I'm also curious as to how good the bargains get during les soldes, when retailers have just a short period to clear out unsold inventory from the prior half of the year!
A little more about Maje sizing for those who are interested - some items come in their own sizing system with choices of 1, 2, or 3 whereas other pieces come in EUR sizing starting in EUR 34 (like an H&M 4 or US 0). They don't make petites, so for tailored items like jackets and pants, some shortening will be needed. I have one of their skirts in EUR 34 and the waist fit like a glove (see on me), and also tried on numerous other pieces in size 1 which were a tad loose in the waist on me. This skirt in size 1 measures 12.5" across the waist or about 25" around, similar to a US XS or 0. It's heavy and thicker in weight, with pockets, a back zipper, and a more fitted knit lining underneath. Below are a few other pretty pieces that looked well-made in person, and are all currently on sale for 40-50% off in the US with free shipping:
One thing I did love about Maje boutiques in France is that they offer complimentary alterations, which only takes a speedy 3 days. Unfortunately I don't think they offer this in other countries, and Nick only learned about it by chance while chatting with an SA. It makes me wonder how many other stores have similar useful services that shoppers could easily miss out on ... please share in the comments if you know of any internationally!