The French government dictates that twice a year, all French shops are required to go on sale. That’s right, if you’re a shopkeeper in France, the government will tell you that you’ve got a maximum of 6 weeks where you will heavily discount most of your merchandise. There is usually a nationwide start to the soldes, and then each department sets it own end date after a local government consultation with retail leaders.
In Lyon, this year’s winter sales (soldes d’hiver) started January 12 and will continue through February 15. Actually, why am I singling out Lyon? Most of the country has these same dates for sales. There are only 6 departments (near the French borders) that have the right to start their sales earlier. Their claim is that they have to compete with the other countries’ sales! You know that these sales are serious when the mall (see image) advertises that they’ll be open exceptionally on a Sunday. In France, it is incredibly rare for anything to be open on Sundays. No malls, few if any shops, and only certain restaurants. The French mean business when it comes to their biannual sales.
So what’s an American girl in France to do during the sales? You guessed it, this girl went shopping! For the past two weeks ever since I got back from my whirlwind USA trip, I’ve been going to the mall and to the centre of Lyon to shop. To the sadness of my porte monnaie (pocketbook), I’ve found some cute sweater dresses, scarves, and bath products. For 50% off or more. Unfortunately since the € is still beating my precious $ by quite a bit, I find that the prices are still kind of hefty especially for the type of clothes I prefer to wear. But I’m quite satisfied with my purchases- I’ll keep looking until February 15th though to see if anything else catches my fancy!
The summer sales (soldes d’été) will take place sometime in July. If you’re like me and will be stateside again by that time, now is your chance to do some serious French shopping…for half the original price. Enjoy!