In France, there are two official state-regulated sales periods each year. The sales last for five to six weeks and typically start in early January and late June. Here are some tips for getting the best deals and avoiding the crowds when navigating sales season in Paris.
Sales shopping can quickly become overwhelming when you don’t have an action plan. If possible, stake out the stores you want to visit beforehand to see what they have in stock. Try on your favorite items now so you won’t be stuck in the long dressing room lines come sales time. Be sure to note your European clothing and shoe sizes if you don’t know them already.
Timing is everything.
If you can, shop during the mornings and weekdays when most people are at work to avoid the crowds. Shopping early in the sales period means you’ll have a greater selection of options to choose from. Know that stores make further reductions throughout the sales period. So, depending on the item, it may be worth it to wait before buying to get the best deal possible.
Because all shops hold their sales at the same time, it’s worth comparing your options. Head to areas with lots of shopping choices to save time. Chains like Zara or H&M often have several shops in the same area. If one doesn’t have your size in an item, you may be able to find it in a shop nearby.
Dont forget your tax refund.
In France, the price you see on the ticket is the same as the price you pay at the register because tax is already included. If you are a non-European visitor staying in Paris for less than six months, you can qualify for a refund of the 12% tax paid on purchases if you spend more than €175 in the same store on the same day.
Don’t limit yourself to clothes.
While Paris is one of the world’s major fashion capitals, the annual sales periods are not limited to clothing items. You can also use the occasion to buy unique souvenirs for friends and family back home or non-clothing items for yourself. Just be sure to avoid electronics, which tend to be expensive in France.
Think quality over quantity.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the sales and to want to buy as much as possible, but avoid the urge. For the biggest bang for your buck, look for discounts on classic and quality items instead of shopping for trendy items at less expensive stores. If you’re just visiting Paris, focus on unique pieces that you won’t be able to find back home.
Where to Shop
Here are a few of the popular shopping areas in Paris:
Haussman-Saint-Lazare-Opéra: This is where you’ll find the major department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as well as well-known brands like Uniqlo and Zara.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Sèvres Babylone and rue de Rennes: Head to the chic Le Bon Marché département store or check out the shops ranging from haute couture to ready-to-wear that are sprinkled throughout the area.
Le Marais: Wander this trendy neighborhood for great finds from unique designer boutiques.
Rue de Commerce: If you’re looking for a break from the crowds of the major shopping hubs, go to this street for a mix of popular French chains like Etam and Promod and small local boutiques.