It is “les soldes”!

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It is “les soldes” in France, the much-awaited event for shoppers. Indeed, in France, there are only two legal sale periods: winter sales (Soldes d’hiver) that start in January and summer sales (Soldes d’été). The nationwide event brings hordes of people looking for bargains… but ain’t no bargains for us, North Americans. France is expensive, no doubt about that.

Les soldes, like any other big event in France, are a social barometer for media and analysts. Do people buy more or less than before? Is the economy getting better or worse? French are usually pessimistic and everybody complain about something: businesses claim they don’t make enough money and shoppers claim they are being taken advantage of.

I don’t really need anything but I still had a quick look… oui but non, I am not buying anything!

I came with a big bag of gifts for my family, including discounted brand name clothes like Levis and Calvin Klein that I had bought at Winners for 20 dollars. And I am glad I did so considering how expensive clothes are in France. I am not even talking about “haute couture”, just regular brands like Zara, H&M and Naf-Naf are very pricey.

I am not loyal to any particular brand, including French brands, so I don’t care much for shopping. I will buy French creams and other beauty products though, because they are cheaper than in Canada. But I certainly won’t splurge on 150 euro Levis jeans since I can easily find them on sale in Canada.

I did notice sizes were much smaller in France, and I feel sorry for anyone wearing a fairly standard US size 10 or 12 because finding pants that fit in France is probably a challenge. Yet, French women aren’t that thin: why don’t stores have bigger sizes? That’s a mystery to me. I mean, a size is only a number on a tag that no one else but you sees, who cares about it as long as clothes fit! Wearing a so-called “perfect” size 38 doesn’t mean anything, especially considering each brand has its own sizing system.

You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.

Browsing Shoes on Sale

Browsing Shoes on Sale

Baby Sandals

Baby Sandals

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes

50 Percent Off!

50 Percent Off!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I don’t agree completely: if american brands are way less expensive in Canada and the US, european brands are waaaay less expensive here in France. Zara, and even H&M for example. Shoes, too, are way more affordable, especially the “italian leather” ones which are crazy expensive in Canada. In general, I find the quality of leather shoes terrible, over there… So it really depends on what you need to buy!
    I’m not crazy about shopping neither but was pretty happy to find 3 pretty tee-shirts at 15e! That’s my seasonnal shopping!

    • I think I’m pretty good at bargain-hunting in Canada, which is probably why I find stuff expensive in France… but I am sure there are bargains too.

  2. I could really relate to this post. I am a US size 10 and I don’t even try to find pants in France. I have never actually tried that’s how hopeless I feel about the situation. And I’ve even given up in Canada too. I just buy pants with drawstring waists. I just don’t have hours (or months, really) to waste going around store to store trying on pants. I have one pair of jeans that I have been wearing for the past 5 years and when those fall apart (they are still going, thanks Walmart!) I have the same jeans, but a new pair, waiting to be worn. Of course those jeans were found in Canada. Same story for bras.

    I do almost all my shopping in Canada too. I go with French food gifts and very few clothes. I wear the clothes that I still have at my parents’ house and I come back to Europe with a suitcase full of new clothes (and Canadian goodies as well!). I’ve even brought back pots and pans from Canada.

    • I actually thought of you because you mention it, and I did find sizes pretty small here! Funny though, because most women probably can’t fit the so-called “perfect” 38.

  3. People in the States would go nuts if the sales were regulated like that. Of course if everything is on sale all the time then it is not really on sale, is it.

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