A Guide to Shopping in France

A Guide to Shopping in France

There are some great shopping places to shop in France whether your are looking for everyday groceries, the latest fashions or items for your home;

  • Food markets – Every village, no matter how small, will keep up a weekly market which is usually well supported by local residents. In larger areas there may already be a market every day. In fact, many French people especially in the rural areas will often by the bulk of their weekly shopping at their local market leaving the supermarkets for household items such as toilet rolls and bottle water.
  • Other markets – in addition as the local food markets most area regularly keep up flowers markets, antique markets and book markets. The equivalent of the British ‘car boot’, the Vide Greniers or Marches aux Puces, are also extremely popular and you can usually find many on every weekends.
  • Supermarkets – Hyper U, Champion, E Leclerc, Auchan, Carrefour, Geant Casino, Super U, Simply, Cora, Intermarche, Ecomarche, Monoprix, Leader Price, Aldi and Lidl
  • Department stores – Galeries Lafayette
  • Sports goods and clothing – Decathlon and Sport 2000
  • Computer equipment – Boulanger
  • Furniture, white goods – Darty, But, Conforama, Ikea, Atlas, Baskia and Fly
  • Clothing – Kiabi, la Halle aux Vetements,
  • DIY – Castorama, Leroy Merlin, Brico Depot, Monsieur Bricolage, Weldom, Point P and Lapeyre
  • Garden centre – Gamm Vert, Botanic
  • Office supplies – Retif, Metro, Top Office

Opening Hours

Traditionally France has had strict limits as to when shops could open and shut with no Sunday trading allowed. However, in the last few years things have started to change and from 2009 shops have been allowed to open on Sundays in certain tourist areas and in the cities of Paris, Marseille and Lille. It is nevertheless extremely scarce to find 24 hour opening which is now becoming standard in the UK.

General shopping hours are Monday to Friday between 9 am to 12pm and open 2pm and shut at 7pm which allows for the traditional French 2 hour lunch break. Some exceptions to this you may find are;

Boulangeries (Bakeries) usually open early at around 7am and edges often open on a Saturday morning.

Supermarkets do not usually close for lunch and some of the larger stores may be open until 8pm or already 10pm. You will sometimes find a supermarket which opens on a Sunday morning.

Pharmacies (chemists) usually have the same opening hours as other stores, however, in larger towns you may also find a ‘pharmacie de garde’ which opens on Sundays and in the evenings. If there are several pharmacies in an area they may take it in turns to open as a ‘pharmacie de garde’, indicated by a lit green cross outside the shop.


Most shops do accept debit and credit cards using the chip and pin security method, however, in more rural areas only cash or cheque will be accepted.

Sales in France

The sales in France are controlled by the French government who set fixed times during the year when shops may keep up sales. The winter sales typically start the first week of January and the summer sales during the last week of June and last for five weeks. Shops also have a further two week sale period during which they can keep up at any point of the year.

Further Information

For details on shopping in France why not check out the Guide2Brittany Guide to Shopping & Markets Section….

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