The national holiday, that's precisely our conversation topic this week in my French conversation group. You can practice your French up to 7 times a week with other motivated learners to gain confidence in your oral expression and express yourself more naturally in French. 


You know, those moments when everyone goes crazy in stores, where the word "discount" turns heads and empties wallets? Well, that's what these famous sales provoke in France.

What are the sales, exactly? In short, sales are defined periods when merchants can sell their products at reduced prices. That's the official definition, but for many people, it's rather the opportunity to get good deals, to grab that pair of expensive sneakers at half price, or to redo their wardrobe without making a hole in their budget.

In France, the sales were introduced for the first time in 1906. It's been over a century that people have been rushing to buy cheaper stuff. The idea back then was to clear out unsold stocks and make room for the new collection.

How does it practically work, the sales in France? You should know that sales don't happen at any time. No no, it's not like Black Friday that falls every year after Thanksgiving. In France, there are two sales periods each year: the winter sales and the summer sales.

The winter sales generally start on the second Wednesday of January. The summer sales, on the other hand, start on the last Wednesday of June. So, once the sales have started, how long do they last? Well, since 2015, each sales period lasts six weeks. Before, it was twice as long, but frankly, who needs three months to buy jeans at half price?

And then, there are rules to respect, right! For example, discounted items must be on sale at least a month before the start of the sales. And the merchant must clearly display the discounts, showing the original price next to the discounted price. Ah, and another thing: during the sales, you always have the right to have a product refunded or exchanged if you change your mind, unless the merchant specified the opposite before the sale. That's pretty cool, isn't it?

But in fact, why are the sales so popular in France? Well, there are several reasons. First, it's a real cultural event. People look forward to the sales, it's an opportunity to get good deals, to afford things that one could not afford otherwise. Second, it's a real tradition. The sales have been part of the French landscape for over a century, as I told you earlier.

And finally, there is a psychological aspect. The sales create a kind of urgency, a race against the clock to find the best deals before stocks are exhausted. And then, there's this satisfaction of paying less, of feeling that you've got a good deal.

So, that's it, that's the sales in France. It's a period of frenzy, of hunting for good deals, of pleasure, but above all, of high consumption.


Vocabulary exercise on "les soldes" :