When to get the best Christmas shopping bargains in France

It's not yet December, but you might want to start thinking about doing your Christmas shopping soon, according to a new price comparison study.

When to get the best Christmas shopping bargains in France
Last-minute Christmas shopping is more expensive. Photo: AFP

Buying presents just before setting up the Christmas tree is likely to cost you, according to a new study by Idealo, company specialising in price comparisons.

The study, revealed in Le Parisien, looked at how prices of typical Christmas presents evolve in the twelve weeks running up to December 24th.

The study only compared prices online, but with Covid-19 making gift shopping a somewhat different affair this year, chances are many will seek to get their gifts sent to their door.

The study divided the types of presents into four categories: toys and games, lifestyle products (perfumes, backpacks), technology (smartphones, speakers, iPads) and household products (coffee machines, food processors and the like).

In most cases, no matter the category, the ideal moment to purchase a gift was found to be between four and six weeks before Christmas, an Idealo spokesperson told Le Parisien.

You can see the best and worst moments for each group detailed in the graphic below.


The absolute best deals occur between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when lots of stores offer flash sales and bargain discounts. This year Black Friday falls on November 27th and Cyber Monday on November 30th.

“After that, it will be more difficult to find the good prices,” the Idealo spokespersons said.

However, there are exceptions to the rule and bargain hunters should watch out for false good deals, as some items – especially those found in tech aisles – can actually be more expensive during the bargaining period than, say, just one or two weeks before Christmas.
Popular items like Playmobil frequently increase in price. Photo: Marcus Spiske on Unsplash 
Popular items and toys such as Lego and Playmobil are however sure to get more expensive the closer  Christmas gets, so these are safe to purchase well in advance.
It's the same for lifestyle products such as perfumes, which are sold all year long, and household items such as mixers and wine shelves.
“The best offers here are around seven weeks before Christmas and on Black Friday. After that, prices surge,” the spokesperson said.

Due to the pandemic, there are some uncertainty to the study’s conclusions. Many products could disappear out of stock before Christmas if shops close or if people avoid them to shop online, the Idealo spokesperson said.

Some items have already seen their prices affected by the virus. Household items have become more expensive since the lockdown, according to an different study published by Le Parisien.

The company also warned those ordering gifts online to beware of delays in receiving their gifts.



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Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source:

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year.