Thursday, January 13, 2011

Games night, football and les soldes (just another example of French socialism)

Since I last blogged a week back, I've had a really nice week in Reims. On Friday, we had a games night at 2 of the English assistants' appartment. We played articulate, had a few glasses of wine and laughed over the most random things. The game got very competitive but I was pretty pleased with my performance at the end of the night - winning the first game & coming second in the second game. We all enjoyed it so much that we have decided to have another one on Friday.

On Saturday, we decided to make our way to the Reims football stadium to see my first French football match (and second ever). Reims were playing Montpellier for la coupe de France (the French cup). Montpellier were the favourites to win as they are in the division above Reims but we went to cheer our local team on! The tickets were really cheap (only 5€) and we had pretty good seats. It was a really good match and Reims scored a goal at the 77th minute winning 1-0!! We all really enjoyed the match and were so ecstatic that Reims won! I would definitely be up for going back to the stadium and seeing another match soon.

Another event that began yesterday was "les soldes d'hiver". This is the French winter sale. The sales are very different here than to the UK/US as they only officially by law take place twice a year for 3 weeks - the winter one being in January and the summer one being in July. The soldes are regulated by the French government who decided that the winter sale will begin on the second Wednesday of January.  They command that all shops do the sale at the same time. French shops can do promotions and things at other points in the year but they can't officially call them sales. In the soldes, there is a markdown on the first day then next week, there will be another markdown and there is usually another one during the last week of the sale. In addition, French law also forces shops to have the items out in the shop for at least before the start of the soldes.

So like almost every other French person in the land, I headed over to the soldes yesterday. The shops were a lot busier and there seemed to be lots more enthusiasm. There were lots of good discounts but I didn't want to spend too much on the first day so I picked myself one shirt for 20€ which I liked the look off! I do however plan to return to the soldes.

However whilst I enjoy shopping for bargains and see this as a French tradition, for me the soldes are just another example of how socialist this country really is. The nanny state is once again meddling in people's lives again as shop owners do not  have the freedom to put sales on at any point of the year. If a French store breaks the law then they are fined by the French government - a bit harsh if you ask me!


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