Winter Sales in the Aude – Soldes d'Hiver

Sales in the Aude start on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 – Gird your loins and prepare to shop ’til you drop.

In France the dates that shops and stores can have sales are regulated by the government.  There are 2 sales periods, July and January.  Sales this winter start next week, on Wednesday, January 10/2007 and last for about a month.

Expect a feeding frenzy of shoppers on Wednesday.

There’s a French government site that list the start and end date of sales for each departement.

I’ve been watching it to see the official start date for sales in the Aude but there still isn’t a published date on the site.  Still, sales start in the rest of France on the 10th so we can assume they start then in the Aude as well. 

Dates of Sales in France are regulated because …

There’s some convoluted rational for regulating the dates of sales, something to do with not giving any advantage to large chains.  Also to prevent shops from bringing in merchandise just for a sale.  That must be in a separate section of the ministry because really, it would make it a lot easier for shops to bring in special merchandise if they know the exact date of the sale.

As a result of the regulations these are real sales, just like the olden days clearance sales  The goods on sale are regular stock.  Prices can be as much as 50% less than the regular price. 

Shopping hell, redefined

The French take sales seriously.  You’ll notice that they start on a Wednesday.  They always start on a Wednesday.  No school on Wednesday and a lot of working parents have that days off.  If they don’t they arrange to have it off.  They plan the day, they take the kids, they SHOP.  Not actually a good day to shop unless you really love the cut and thrust of really serious shoppers, the jammed stores, the line-ups at the till, the crying children who want to be having tea with Mamie they way they usually do on Wednesday.  My personal idea of hell. 

Having said that, I was inadvertently in Carcassonne two years ago when  les soldes d’hiver started and bought a pair of shoes for 50% off.    And it was fun to sit in a cafe and watch people showing each other their terrific finds.  The image of a very demure looking woman reverently laying a red lace thong on the table for her much older make companion to admire has stayed with me.

Personally I think Thursday January 11th is a better day to go.  Not nearly as frenzied. Saturday January 13th will be almost as frenzied because that’s the first day that people who had to work on Wednesday have a chance to go.  The sales last for 5 to 6 weeks, depending on the departement.   While some stores start a sale offering 20% off the price and then increase the discount through the sale period others plunge right in with 50% off the regular price. 

If you’re serious about bargains then shop early and shop often.

Tips to help you  make the most of your French sale experience:

  • Get a good night’s rest the night before, you want to be alert to bargains
  • Eat breakfast.  Make sure you include protein.  You’ll need the energy and you don’t want your blood sugar to drop.
  • Dress comfortably.  Make sure you wear clothes that are easy to get in and out of, you don;t want to waste time in the fitting rooms. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes, you’re going to be spending the day on your feet.  Slip-ons are best, laces slow you down in the fitting room.
  • Unless you need to try clothes or shoes on your children, leave them with someone for the day. 
  • Take a coffee break in the morning and in the afternoon.  Stop for lunch.  Include protein.

Optional – a hip flask of Armagnac.

Now you’re ready to shop til you drop.  Enjoy.

About Sam

Sam started Aude France as a companion site to her real estate site Aude France Property so that she could have a place to write about life in the Aude. Now that she's in Canada she writes about things that can affect owners and buyers in the Aude - or anything that strikes her fancy. On Pinterest you can find her by searching for Sam Mooney or clicking this link
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