On this page;
Sales in France, Belgium and Luxembourg – when to go, what to expect, and where the best deals are. Tips and advice for day trippers and visitors to Calais, France – Day-tripper.net.
The Summer sales start on 28th June 2017 until the 8th August 2017.
However, many departments have different start and finish dates. More information (in French) – www.economie.gouv.fr
Another link to French Government website concerning sale dates. www.service-public.fr
Six departments near the French border are free to set different dates, although often they conform to the National dates (Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.) Additionally, Departments in the South (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region) sometimes hold their sales later than the rest of France.
In Belgium the sales are held in January and July.
Another link to a French Government website concerning sale dates. www.service-public.fr
The Soldes are the only time of the year that shops are legally allowed to sell merchandise at a loss. Retailers can run promotions at other times of the year – but the primary aim of the sales is to get rid of old stock.
In 2009 the sale period was reduced from six to five weeks, and the opening and closing times were fixed nationwide (with one or two exceptions). In 2015 the sale period reverted back to six weeks. It is illegal to discount goods in the period up to the start of the sales, so avoid shopping then. The sale periods are approved locally (hence the opt-out of south eastern departments). From 2009, outside of this period shops were allowed to choose two weeks (together or a one week sale twice) in which they could hold their own sales, following reforms introduced that year, but they could not be held in the 30 days leading up to the main sale periods (referred to as "Soldes flottant"). However in 2015 these sales were prohibited again.
Those departments that sometimes choose to start their sales later than the date set Nationally are (in the South); Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (4) (Region Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur), Hautes-Alpes (5) (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur), Alpes-Maritimes (6) (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur), Bouches-du-Rhône (13) (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur), Var (83) (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur), Vaucluse (84) (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur), Corse-du-Sud (2A) (Corse), and Haute-Corse (2B) (Corse).
Departments bordering other countries that also choose other start dates are; Meurthe-et-Moselle (54) (Lorraine), Meuse (55) (Lorraine), Moselle (57) (Lorraine), Vosges (88) (Lorraine), Landes (40) (Aquitaine), Pyrenees-Atlantiques (64) (Aquitaine).
January is a good time to shop in France as fares and hotels are cheap at this time of the year.
Many centres are open on Sundays during the sales – check the company web sites for up to date information.
If you are shopping in Paris and need to know when the sales in Paris are, details will be listed here as and when available.
Cite Europe in Calais often have "Ventes flash", short notice sales with many shops participating and offering extra discounts outside the normal sales periods. Check the web site for latest information before you go, and make sure you save even more money.
CREDIT CARDS – we suggest you ring your credit card company before shopping in France – increased fraud means they are turning down shoppers cards if their spending deviates from the norm. Take your mobile – you can often sort the problem out over the phone.
Troyes Mac Arthur Glen Factory shopping centre special opening times and offers.
French shops are open much more than they use to be but it is still worth checking if they are in fact open before booking a daytrip.
2015 - More changes. Whilst the Summer and Winter sales always start in January and July and have run for between five and six weeks each time, from 2015 the floating sales will end and each sale period will be six weeks long.
The timing of sales in France is decided by the Government. In France there were only two legal sale periods each lasting a maximum of 6 weeks; winter sales (soldes d'hiver) in January/February and summer sales (Soldes d'été) in June/July. Since 2009 however, there is now a third sale, floating sale period. Shops can have these when they choose and they must run for two consecutive weeks or for one week each twice. Bargains of over 50% can be found in abundance. There is usually a nationwide start and then each department sets it own end date after a local government consultation with retail leaders.
Officially, according to Article D310-15-2 on the Legifrance web site, the winter sales start the second Wednesday of January at 8.00am. However the date is advanced a week if the second Wednesday is after the 12th of January.
French Regulations relating to sales (in French). www.economie.gouv.fr
The thinking behind having regulated and set sale times is that goods in a sale must be genuinely reduced items.
The sales periods are the only time goods can be legally sold at below cost price in France.
Regulations require labels to show the original price, crossed out next to the sale price.
Items sold must have been sold previously, you will not find (as in the U.K.) specially bought in items for the sale period.
Items included in the sale must have been delivered at least one month before the sales start.
Products must be on sale at the stated original full price for at least one month before the sale start date and on the shop floor one week before. Additionally, items must be on the stores premises at least one month before the start of the sale.
Non sale items must be clearly indicated as such.
If the item is marked Solde it means Sale. Dégriffé means marked-down. A discount is remise. If a shop sells items outside of the designated sale times, then it will be called a "promotion".
You can ask for further discounts, this is best done nearer the end of the sale period.
All sale products have to have the same guarantees as non-sale items which means you can legally return an item up to two years after the purchase date. Usually, the sale of a discounted item is final and no refund is available.
– However if there is a fundamental defect, the shop is obliged to replace it or give a refund, providing you can prove it is defective. Some shops will insist on a replacement product only.
– If you buy the wrong size, it is up to the owner's discretion whether or not you can return it.
– You must keep your receipts.
– If the shop promotes a refund and exchange policy on its marketing materials, such as posters, or on till receipts which accompany the sale of the item, then the shop is obliged to abide by this policy. Look out for signs saying "ni repris, ni échangé" (no returns or exchanges).
Pay by Credit card – we find they generally give the best rates – you can buy just about anything with a credit card in France.
The final Saturday is often a good time to shop. Although much of the best stock will have gone, big discounts are available as shops try and get rid of their remaining stock. Often called the Braderie in French, stock is often piled up outside the shop on tables.
Internet bought items must be returned within 14 days.
If the vendor refuses to exchange the item due a defect, the first step would be to send the vendor a letter specifying the product (with serial and model numbers) and the problem by registered post. If this fails and you need to resort to litigation, contact the following consumer protection agencies; 1) Direction Générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF). www.economie.gouv.fr
Another link to a French Government website concerning sale dates. www.service-public.fr
2) Centre européen de la consommation (CEC). www.europe-consommateurs.eu
The summer sales always start on the last Wednesday of June each year. www.legifrance.gouv.fr
Factory shops operate under different regulations and are legally allowed to discount last years items (pre-existing goods), as well as end of lines. Sales at the factory shops tend to offer very good value. Discounts tend to start low, and build up towards the end of the sale period. Sale prices must include the previous price offered, and goods purchased carry the same guarantee as a normally purchased item. Shops are not allowed to "buy in" goods for sales, so a shopping trip to France guarantees you genuinely discounted items.
Useful link for sales in European countries. www.linternaute.com
Sizes – Clothes and Shoes
Luxembourg sale dates. www.entreprises.public.lu
Belgium. Dates for each province. www.date-soldes.fr
Traditionally these run throughout the month of January and July only.
– Basalix Shopping Centre. Shopping mall near Brussels. Often lists the summer and winter sale dates. www.basilix.be
French site giving details of the sales in the regions of Spain. www.espagne-facile.com
Get there early! As sale dates and opportunities are regulated in France they only occur when the State decides. Sales in France mean a real sale of goods normally sold throughout the year. No goods brought in specially because more people are shopping as in the United Kingdom for example. Although in this day and age it may seem strange that when a sale runs is down the State and not the shopkeeper, this does by and large protect the shopper. You know what to expect.
– Dixons. From a visitor. "If you want to buy computers / camcorders / cameras / hi-fi / DVD, etc., go into your local high street Dixon's, get a brochure, pick an item (with an alternative choice) and ring Dixon's at the Chunnel, quote the catalogue number and ask for a price (Tel: 01303 273 080), they can save you 15%, you get the same guarantee and you can have Dixon's finance! All you do is order it, drive down, collect (from this side of the channel, drive onto train, do your French shopping, come back. My mate saved £300 on a lap top pc". www.dixons.co.uk
Webmaster – they cannot sell at duty free prices to E.U. citizens, their prices (on a reduced range of goods) are roughly 15% cheaper than the high street.
More on our Travelling Tips page
Sundays – during the sale periods many of the shopping centres open on some Sundays.
During the sale period, extra discounts are offered on some days. Sign up to the local newsletter, and get advance warning of them. Look around when you arrive, the banners and posters are there for a reason. It may be worth popping in to the shops participating in the offer.
It may be cheap, but is your car big enough to carry it all? There are stiff penalties waiting at Dover and elsewhere for overloaded vehicles. Kent police are often waiting at the passport booths there, specifically looking for overloaded cars.
Troyes is the main centre for factory shops in France, with centres in Roubaix (near Lille) and also in Metz. Basically, last years ranges can be discounted here, outside of the official sales periods in France. Sales time at factory shops can see superb bargains on offer. More
– Annual festival promoting Cannes (and shopping). See the Spring/Summer collections. Many special offers available. www.cannesshoppingfestival.com
Main shopping Centres in Calais
Main Supermarkets in Calais
Paris is now just 2 hours 15 minutes away with Eurostar.
Galeries Lafayette. www.galerieslafayette.com
Other useful web site for Paris.
– Magasins Paris. www.shop-in-paris.com
The French site (in French) looks a bit more comprehensive though. www.magasins-paris.com
If you are driving this site will tell you where all the car parks are. www.parkingsdeparis.com
Hotels with character. www.leshotelsdeparis.com