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Shopping for Expats in France

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: December 2013

France is one of the top destinations for shoppers. It provides various types of shops to suit everyone’s needs. You can buy high end fashion clothes, perfumes, antiques, crystals and red wines. Apart from these, you also can buy traditional French crafts. There are still many villages in France where people use traditional techniques to produce handmade pottery, fine glass products, lace and paper. These crafts are good choices for gifts or souvenirs.

Paris, the capital city of France, is a world of luxury international brands. Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris is well known as one of the top five high streets in the world which also includes Pitt Street Mall in Australia, Oxford Street in London, Fifth Avenue in New York and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.

If you want to buy something for your everyday needs, you can go to the supermarkets or small shops. Supermarkets can offer you a large variety of goods and services, including certain foods all over the world. Very large stores are normally situated outside of the town or city centre. There are a few supermarkets that dominate in France. Some of them are listed below:

  • Carrefour,
  • Auchan,
  • E.Leclerc, and
  • Géant Casino.

Among them, Carrefour is the largest.

There may be a market in the city or town centre near you where you can buy fresh but cheap vegetables, meat and seafood.

Clothing, household goods and electrical equipment can be found in most towns and city centres. Here you will often find large shopping centres or department stores with shops providing a variety of goods and services.

Another choice is to go to retail parks situated outside of cities or towns. They usually occupy large amounts of space and accommodate many stores such as fashion stores, large furniture stores and electrical goods stores. Often there is a mega supermarket attached to the retail parks.  

There are also many shopping villages and outlets all over France, where you can find many designer brands at a bargain price. You can find a list of outlets here https://www.outlet2go.com/outlet-france. Among all the outlets, the most famous one is La Valle Village (https://www.lavalleevillage.com/).

 

Online shopping

Online shopping has become popular in France. Most of the High Street shops and supermarkets have their own online shopping websites. There are also some solely internet based websites selling merchandise. Some sites may provide free delivery if your purchase reaches a certain amount. You can have peace of mind when you shop online as in France you have the right to return the products within seven days of purchase without providing any justification. However, you are normally responsible for the delivery cost.

You can buy anything you like online from all over the world, from sites such as Amazon and ebay. You will need to be aware that this is a form of importation. Therefore, this may trigger custom duties and VAT; some items are not even allowed to enter France. Please check here https://www.douane.gouv.fr/menu.asp?id=68  to see what is and is not allowed.   

 

Shopping Hours  

Shops normally open six days a week. Most of the shops close on Sunday, except some larger stores. Typical opening hours are listed as below:

Mondays to Saturdays            9am to 8pm

Many shops and department stores open from 10am to 10pm.  Some shops may open on Sunday with shorter business hours.

 

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