Parisians are out and about sporting their designer sunglasses looking oh-so chic. Everyone (including the cleaning ladies) have stylish sunnies from Dior, Chanel, YSL, Marc Jacobs, and Tom Ford. Did I mention the most important detail? They get their sunglasses for FREE. La Mom got the lowdown at playgroup from her French amie, Provence Mom, who’s obviously milked the system beaucoup. (I’m not endorsing this of course. Just showing you how the French think (the word “magouille” comes to mind) while at the same time sharing a very important fashion tip).
Here’s your step by step guide to acting French so you can get your FREE sunglasses:
Step 1: Visit your opthamologist and pretend that your eyes are hurting (squint when reading the letter chart on the wall, complain that you have very dry eyes).
Step 2: The opthamologist gives you a prescription for corrective eyeglasses.
Step 3: You visit a *recommended* optician (“recommended” is the key word here) off the Champs-Elysées (the exact address was given to me but I won’t pass it on.)
Step 4: Speak the optician’s language (not French in this case). Give him deux winks and a smile. Tell him you “need new glasses” (but don’t specify if you need corrective eyeglasses or regular sunglasses).
Step 5: The optician understands exactly what you mean and guides you to the designer sunglasses display. (The opticien doesn’t care that you’re not shortsighted. He just cares about collecting his reimbursement from your mutuelle (private health insurance provider) and French Social Security).
Step 6: Have fun trying on designer sunglasses!
Step 7: Choose four or five (one for the Parc Monceau, one for the car, one for walking around Paris, one for your mom, one for your nanny) according to how much is covered in your mutuelle.
Step 8: Write a check to the optician and send your reimbursement claim to your mutuelle and Social Security who pick up the big fat tab (upside: the optician won’t cash the check until you tell him you’ve been reimbursed).