Sales in France are highly regulated, so shoppers only get the joy of bargain-hunting twice a year – in the summer and in January for post-Christmas bargains.
And the government sets the days for when shops are allowed to offer discounts on their goods, so anyone hoping to bag some cheap clothes, bargain electricals or low-cost jewellery needs to head down to the shops during the six weeks of summer when sales are allowed.
This year the government says the sales will take place from Wednesday, June 26 until Tuesday, August 6 in the majority of France.
As anyone who has studied French grammar will know, the French like an exception, and there are some areas where the dates are different.
In the départements of Pyrénées-Orientales and Alpes-Maritimes the sales will run from July 3 until August 13, while in Corsica they run from July 10 until August 20. There are also different dates for France's overseas départements.
And this year there is even more reason for shoppers to flock to the shops, as the government has announced that from 2020, the summer sales period will be cut to four weeks.
Online shoppers can also bag a bargain, but internet retailers must also abide by the dates and the strict rules that accompany sales.
Among these are that goods must have been on display for at least a month at normal prices before being discounted, all items must be clearly labelled with the pre-sale price and the sale price, and shops are forbidden from hiking the prices of items before the sales, in order to make discounts seem more attractive.
The normal exchange and refund rules also apply to goods bought in the sales.
France is one of the very few countries that has such highly regulated sales, with shoppers in Great Britain and the USA accustomed to seeing endless discounts, promotions and special offers all year round. In fact one British sofa retailer is rumoured to have never offered an item at full price.
The idea behind the French system is to protect smaller retailers who cannot compete with big chains and multinationals that are able to buy in bulk and sell some items as a loss-leader.