This year the French government has concentrated the winter sales to a period of four weeks in a hope to boost profit for retailers across the country.
In most parts of France, sales start on Wednesday January 8th and last until Tuesday February 4th.
There are however regional exceptions to this rule. In the départements of Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and Vosges the sales have already started, as they run from January 2nd until Wednesday 29th. There are also different dates for France's overseas departments that you can read about here.
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Sales in France are highly regulated with the government allowing just two sales periods a year – one in summer and one after Christmas.
Limiting the winter sales to four weeks instead of six, a law dating back to May, is part of the governments' strategy to revitalise traditional sales shopping. The hope is that a shorter period will increase sales and help 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.
Independent shop owners also struggle to cope with the increasing pressure from international, online shopping platforms, whose surge in the past years have led to a decline in the number of bargain-hunters taking to the streets during sales periods.
In France, 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.
Normal exchange and refund rules also apply to goods bought in the sales.