Over the weekend, I packed my kids off to camp for a week and my husband is away on business for a few days so it's just me kicking around the house. I love them all but let me tell you. I'm kind of loving it. At least for the moment. I've got 72 hours on my own to do or not as I please, and I'm trying to find the right balance between getting things done and just enjoying myself.
So yesterday, with the company of a wonderful friend whose busy schedule has kept us from spending time together lately, I hit the road for a two hour drive to Gien, the town in the Loire Valley known primarily for its beautiful porcelain. These dishes are gorgeous but they're not cheap, and I've been wanting to check out the deals on seconds at the factory outlet for quite awhile.
Gien produces over 40 patterns so there was a lot to look at, although I quickly ruled out anything that wouldn't marry well with my blue and white Dansk. (A completely new set of china? Out of the question!) And then I just couldn't bring myself to pay 17 euros a piece for the dessert plates I'd been dreaming about. Still I didn't come away empty handed and there were definitely some bargains to be had. All seconds were priced at 35 percent below the regular retail price (and for the most part, the defects were not obvious to my eye) and there were additional markdowns of up to 50 percent on certain lines.
With lunch and a lot of time for girl talk coming and going, it was well worth the trip. If you're in Paris without a car, Point a la Ligne just off Place Victor Hugo in the 16th arrondissement is also offering second choice Gien at 30 percent off throughout this month (albeit with a much smaller selection). Gien also has boutiques at 18 rue de l'Arcade in the 8th and 13 rue Jacob in the 6th but I haven't been by to see whether they're offering any discounts right now.
Gien Earthenware Factory
Open Monday through Saturday (with the exception of holidays)
About 150 kilometers southeast of Paris