French Language Blog

Les Soldes D’Été – Summer Sales In France Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Culture, Vocabulary

Summer is in full swing with hot temperatures and la fête de la musique already over, but there is another imoprtant summer event in France: les soldes. Les soldes d’été commencent aujourd’hui (summer sales start today) and if your like to faire du shopping (shop) then it’s the perfect time to enjoy le soleil (the sun) and dévaliser les boutiques (go on a shopping spree)!

Image by Martin Abegglen on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Les soldes are a special time for sales in France. Le gouvernement (the government) sets a date for all stores get rid of their stock. These massive sales happen twice a year one time en été and the other en hiver.

Most people think of les chaussures (shoes) and les vêtements (clothes) when they think of le shopping, but there is much more on sale during les soldes. Everything from les lits (beds) to les jeux vidéo (video games) to almost anything you could imagine.

The hardest part about les soldes is figuring out how to navigate un magasin (a store) in a new language. Knowing a few simple phrases instead of having to montrer (point) at something and hope le vendeur (the sales assistant) understands what you want helps make the whole experience better:

Je voudrais l’essayer, s’il vous plaît. 
I would like to try it on, please. 

Ça coûte combien ?
How much does that cost?

Est-ce que vous avez ça en d’autres couleurs ?
Do you have this in any other colors?

Est-ce que vous avez une taille plus petite/plus grande ?
Do you have a bigger/smaller size?

Ces chaussures me vont bien !
These shoes fit me well!

Je cherche quelque chose comme _____.
I’m looking for something like _____.

J’ai besoin d’un nouveau  _____.
I need a new _____.

It may seem like a lot to remember, but these important phrases will help you a lot when you’re au magasin (at the store).

Ne vous inquiétez pas !
Don’t worry!

While you could fill un dictionnaire (a dictionary) with shopping related words, knowing a handful of basic words is enough to be a good shopper.

Once you know the words you need, as long as you avoid some the common mistakes, you will be fine. Taking the time to faire du shopping during les soldes is a fun way to not only find amazing deals, but also to practice your french.

Even if you don’t know how to ask for what you want, it can be a learning experience trying to describe what you want. Afterall, that’s exactly how I learned many words like le tournevis or la pile.

Cependant (however), if you are not at all un accro du shopping (a shopaholic), you may not like la foule (the crowd) that comes with les soldes. In which case it is even more important to know when les soldes commencent so you can avoid des foules!

Voici un vocabulaire du shopping : 

La solde – Sale
Les soldes – Sales
La remise – Discount
La braderie – Clearance sale
La démarque – Mark-down, sale
Le shopping – Shopping
Faire du shopping – To shop
Magasiner* – To shop
La taille – Size
Aller à quelqu’un – To fit someone
Cher – Expensive
Bon marché – Cheap
Pas cher – Cheap
À bas prix – Cheap
Acheter – To buy
Le vendeur – Shop assistant (male)
La vendeuse – Shop assistant (female)
Les chaussures – Shoes
Les vêtements – Clothes
La foule – Crowd

*Only used in Canada.

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Catfish Everdeen:

    Loved all the articles, John :).
    Keep this up ^^ You’re helping me a lot this way. Send me a message sometime so I get to hear from you again!

    Friendly greets