Twice a year in France there comes a time so crazy that it is only ever displayed with exclamation points. This is Les Soldes!!!!! It’s a nationally mandated sales period where nearly every shop, department store, and boutique has nearly store-wide discounts of 30%-50%! Needless to say, the French people go bananas about this and flock to the stores. Even more needless to say, this is the only time us american students can even consider buying things from relatively expensive stores, so we’re there too.

Unknowingly, me and my friend Kelly went to Le Bon Marché. If you speak French, do not let the misnomer throw you off. The words bon marché mean good market and can sometimes be used to say you got a good price for something. But this was the most expensive department store I had ever been in – and that was after LES SOLDES!!!

This opulent department store was the first building in Paris designed specifically for a store and is a result of careful planning. This gorgeous atrium in the center of the store is really impressive. But Le Bon Marché isn’t just a collection of designer names like Chanel and Christian Dior lined up, it’s a full fledged department store. There is a stationery section, a bedding section, suitcases, lamps, children’s toys, furniture, or anything you can dream up. There is also a HUGE épicerie or a grocery store. Yup – a grocery store. Their prepared foods section puts Wegmans to shame (I know… bold statement) and has as many breads, pastries, sandwichs, and ethnic foods as you could ever want. My friend Kelly and I were particularly interested by the aisle designated for jams, with such flavors as Quince, Christmas, and Rose Petal (not to be confused with Wild Rose).

I also finally finished packing and organizing my room, so here are some pictures of my bedroom and my apartment building it’s self.

The apartment that my family lives in is on the top two floors. It’s a long hike up these stairs (no elevator), but hopefully that will keep me in shape.

My room is on the top floor, the fifth. But in France the ground floor is 0 so I’m really on the 6th. So it’s a whole lot of old creaky stairs. And here is my room! As you can see, it’s quaint, but completely serviceable to everything I need. Enough closet and shelving, a desk, and even my own sink and shower.

And again, I’ll leave everyone with a very Parisian image, the Jardin du Luxembourg! A quick 5 minute walk from my school.