I’ve never been a recreational shopper. I’d call myself more of a kamikaze shopper. I go in with a purpose, strike, then get out. When I was in France earlier this year conducting master’s thesis research, I arrived just in time for seasonal sales. So I was willing to relax my usual mercenary technique to engage in a little bit of what the French call “faire du leche-vitrines,” or window shopping. The French term translates literally as “window licking,” which I think is kind of cute in all its Gallic weirdness.

So imagine that you are licking windows and tempted to buy something you see, but your budget is limited. If a shop window says “soldes,” then walk in and poke around. But say “Bonjour” to the shopkeeper before you get down to business. Otherwise, you’re just being rude and, well, American.

“Soldes” means “sales”  and they are a girl’s best friend, especially in a gorgeous boutique like Sandro (pictured above).

But here are three other variations on “soldes” that are worth noting. There are…supersoldes1. Super Soldes and Soldes Massifs — This is the one-two punch of soldesmanship. It says the sale you are about to witness is above and beyond the scope of sales you’ve seen today. It is superheroic. It is epic. You should walk through the door, say “Bonjour” and partake. You won’t be sorry.

destockage2. Destockage Massif — The “everything must go” of France, with prices so low, you can afford that extra bottle of Sancerre! ‘Tis a pity that Jacques Genin didn’t offer a “destockage massif” of its renowned caramels…

festivaldelachemise3. Festival de la Chemise — Not a mere sale, this is a destockage massif that celebrates the humble shirt. We need more shirt festivals. We really do. They’re an underappreciated piece of clothing.