“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!
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.
- 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…
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:
- www.dessus-dessous.fr (Lingerie)
- www.chez-mademoiselle.com (Lingerie)
- www.best-mountain.com (Misc. Fashion)
- www.letempsdescerises.com (Jeans+)
-Girl Gone Gallic