Sales Season in France – French Sales Vocabulary

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

“Les soldes” – sale season in France is highly regulated. French shops can have special promotions, but it’s not the same. During “les soldes”, shops are allowed to sell at a loss, in order to sell their stock, and that is why you get such incredible values.

1 – French Sales Vocabulary

  1. Acheter = to buy
  2. Un achat (final t silent) = something you bought
  3. Faire les magasins = to shop. In Canada, they say “magasiner”, but not in France.
  4. Un magasin = a shop // un magazine = a magazine
  5. Une boutique = a smaller shop
  6. Être en solde, soldé = to be on sale
  7. Une promotion = a sale for a special event (like Black Friday)
  8. Une remise = a discount
  9. Un rabais = a discount
  10. Ni repris, ni échangé = no return, no exchange (= all sales are final)
  11. Faire une bonne affaire = to get a bargain
  12. Faire les soldes = to shop the season’s sales
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2 – Sales Seasons in France

“Les Soldes”, the French Season’s Sales, only take place twice a year in France.

  1. Les soldes d’hiver (winter sales) start in January,
  2. Les soldes d’été (summer sales) start in June,

They both last for five weeks, and discounts keep increasing during that time. There are huge bargains to be made. If you are looking into buying a bulky and expensive item in a small store (une boutique), don’t hesitate to ask for an even larger discount, or free delivery… Shops are trying to get rid of their inventories, and since they are by law allowed to sell at a loss… Well the sky’s the limit to the discount you could get!

Watch out that in France, in most stores but this is especially true during the sales period, the merchandise is sold “ni repris, ni échangé” : “no return, no exchange”: meaning of course no refund!

3 – What Gender are “les Soldes” – Feminine or Masculine?

  1. Les soldes = sales – masculine plural – (as discounted items) – but it’s a common mistake to think it’s feminine. It’s important to know for your French adjective agreement.
    Say : des soldes exceptionnels (not des soldes exceptionnelles).
  2. Watch out! “Un solde” also means a financial balance
  3. “La solde” (feminine) is the payment for soldier.
Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 25+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Come to Paimpol and enjoy an exclusive French immersion homestay with me in Brittany.

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