Calling all Fashionistas… It’s Sale Season!

“C’est les soldes!”  The Summer and Winter Sales in France.

Every year during the late Summer and Winter, you will hear everyone declaring “C’est les soldes”!  It’s 6 full delicious weeks of “soldes” (sales) dedicated to shopping aficionados everywhere. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Summer and Winter Sales in France

One day, women will dominate the world. But not today, it’s the sales.

 Curiously, sales are regulated by the government in France.  Any store wanting to offer sales at times outside the official “sale season” must make a special governmental request for permission.  Getting any paperwork filed with the French government is a real hassle better to be avoided.  This is one of the main reasons for all the excitement during the sale season – it’s pretty smart actually.

Discounts start at a modest 20%, but as the weeks progress prices are slashed up to 70%, and sometimes even 80%. They say  “C’est plus intéressant le premier jour” (it’s most interesting the first day)…  And indeed the best selection definitely can be found the very first week, but I usually wait until prices are slashed to get really good deals.  I never buy unless the discounts are at least 50%, and I rarely shop at other times of the year.  Just don’t wait too long if you have something specific in mind…

Dates for the Summer and Winter Sales in France

This year I shopped mid July (mostly online) and the selection was already seriously thin compared to a couple weeks prior – so shop early for best selection! If you missed the sales this time – don’t fret!  Be prepared for the next run by checking official dates below.  Note the dates vary just a little bit by region so make sure to double-check your dates.

Dates for Sales Season (some variance by region):

  • Winter Sales > January 10 to February 20, 2018
  • Summer Sales > June 27 to August 7, 2018
  • Winter Sales 2019 > January 9 to February 19, 2019

 Here are some tips to get the most out of the sales:

  • Sign up for store newsletter so that you get in on the pre-sales
  • Scope out your favorite shops a couple of weeks before the sales start for potential purchases
  • Try on items that interest you, so you know exactly what size and color you need
  • Make a list of things you wish to purchase to avoid getting distracted by everything else
  • Don’t forget the basics, the stuff you need to buy anyways like tshirts, jeans, shoes, and lingerie
  • Set a budget and DO NOT waiver (lest you not be able to pay your rent or mortgage this month)
  • Download the “Discount Calculator” application to your phone to avoids miscalculations
  • Go online if you already have tried on the items and avoid all the crowds and craziness
  • Start checking the sales on Day 1, and arrive early in the day for best selection
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes easy to take on and off (better yet know your correct size so you don’t have to)
  • If you are doing a marathon shopping day, make sure to plan for a much-needed lunch break
  • Hit a shopping mall so you can easily visit many stores in a short amount of time (try La Defense in Paris or Les Terrasses du Port in Marseille)

Here’s what mysteriously found its way into my shopping bag the last two winter seasons…

Shopping Online

If you are feeling a little left out because you aren’t physically in France, try some online shopping and join the 25 million French that shop online during the sales.  To get you started, here are a few of my personal online favorites that ship internationally:

Clipboard0112Time is running out…Only a few more days left to go! Strap on your best walking shoes (or stretch out your typing fingers for some online action), and get going!  What are you going to buy???

Happy Travels,
-Girl Gone Gallic

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  13 comments for “Calling all Fashionistas… It’s Sale Season!

  1. March 1, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I’m still amazed that the sales are so regulated in France with specific dates only (actually to be honest I’m not amazed, it’s so very French not to allow freedom of choice in this area) but I’m afraid I’m a bit like Diane and Sara and do most of my shopping out of France. (But unlike them I buy in UK not USA). This is for 2 reasons, firstly and mainly is that although I honestly don’t think I’m the biggest person out there, I can’t fit into French clothes! (God knows how really big women in France manage, I’m 12-14 in UK sizes which is average). The other reason is cost. Non sale clothes in UK are cheaper than sale clothes in France. It’s super frustrating as I’ve lived in France for 19 years! I’d like to shop here, honestly I would! Anyway, thanks for linking this up to #AllAboutFrance, those who do shop here will appreciate your expertise. (I like your haul, that just happened to find its way into your bags!)

  2. Corrine
    February 9, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Like the website info!

  3. February 5, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Nice, you made out well! I honestly did very little shopping clothes-wise in France, even during the soldes. I echo Diane – I did most of my shopping in the US where prices are much lower. But even so, I always enjoyed walking around Paris during the soldes. There’s something about seeing the signs about the markdowns that made me happy – knowing people out there were getting some deals!

    • February 7, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      I was pretty on it this season! But there are some good placed to shop inexpensively if you look around – try Kiabi, Pimkie, and La Redoute online.

  4. Andrea
    February 4, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Clothes are normally so expensive in France; any tips on managing to clothe little ones inexpensively?

    • February 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      When my boys were younger, I shopped online at La Redoute quite a bit – they offer a good value for your money. Check out the sales at your local supermarket – Carrefour or Casino for example – they often have amazing deals. But the best way to get great inexpensive clothing for your kids is to hit the vide greniers in the summer. French kids just don’t get their clothing all that dirty…less they get in trouble! I’ve picked up awesome deals for my kids over the years, next to new for next to nothing.

  5. February 4, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Hahaha! love the practical advice about sticking to your budget and allowed for a lunch break. I’ve bought a few things – specific things that I needed from the one or two shops that I routinely find things that I like and am one of the 25million online shoppers. But boy is it hard not to get carried away! Thanks for the info, I didn’t realise that it was so regulated.

    • February 4, 2016 at 10:09 am

      I happen to shop not only in person, but also online! I was very very bad this year… The advice about sticking to a budget was from personal experience about what not to do!

  6. Diane Oui In France
    February 4, 2016 at 3:07 am

    I had high hopes for the sales this year and picked out a few things I’d get ahead of time but even at the last demarque — now — the price is still higher than i would like and certain colors of things never seen to get marked down. Oh well, this is why even still, I buy 99% of my clothes/shoes in the US or from US sites! #allaboutfrance

    • February 4, 2016 at 10:11 am

      There’s a great high end department store in Valence that is on the verge of going out of business… The plus for me is that all the women clothing is 70% off! So hard to stay on budget in those kind of circumstances, self discipline is not one of my better skilss!

  7. February 4, 2016 at 3:00 am

    I miss the Soldes so much!! I always hit up Rue de Rivoli and just walked the whole thing. I don’t need anything in particular usually, so I try to resist going to the stores until the very end, and just finding the cool cheap stuff that’s left! It’s the only time of year I buy scarves and coats!!! Great post, and good to have the dates for this year – AND to remember we can shop online!

    • February 4, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Rue de Rivoli is awesome for its people watching as well!

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