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Which French supermarkets offer the best discounts?

As prices rise in a number of sectors, French people tell pollsters that the cost of living is their number one concern ahead of the 2022 presidential elections - so where offers the best discounts on daily essentials?

The cost of many supermarket products is rising in France
The cost of many supermarket products is rising in France Photo: Theo Rouby/AFP

The retail analysis company Tiendeo has put together a report on discounts offered by France’s largest supermarket chains.

French law strictly controls sales and discounts – shops are permitted to offer sales only twice a year between dates decided by the government and supermarkets are only permitted to offer discounts on 25 percent or fewer of their products. This covers both price reductions and special offers like buy-one-get-one-free.

Within these limits, Tiendeo’s research found that Intermarché offers the biggest number of discounts, with 11.9 percent of all goods sold between October 2020 and October 2021 having discounts applied.

Intermarché has a long history of offering eye-catching discounts, including its 70 percent off Nutella sale in 2018 which caused riots in stores as customers battled to get their hands on the bargain hazelnut spread.

Second to Intermarché in the number of discounts was the Casino group, which offered 10.3 percent of its products with discounts over the last year.

The Tiendeo research listed only the number of discounts offered, not how much money customers saved.

After Intermarché and Casino the numbers saw a steep drop-off to Super U at 5.6 percent, Leclerc at 5.4 percent, Casino’s hypermarché brand Géant at 5.1 percent, the DIY store Brico Cash at 4.6 percent and Auchan at 4.4 percent.

The mini-market chains Monoprix and Franprix were not listed and generally use fewer discounts than the bigger supermarkets while the budget chain Lidl uses a business strategy of year-round low prices rather than discounts.

The lack of discounts doesn’t appear to be putting off customers at Leclerc, however, since it was voted the nation’s favourite supermarket earlier this year.

The popular supermarket chain Carrefour also did not make the list, having cut its number of promotions over the last year.

The research covered only discounts offered in-store to all customers, not the special offers or vouchers that come with the loyalty cards that many supermarket chains offer to regular customers.

READ ALSO When and where to find the cheapest fuel in France

Supermarkets also come consistently top when it comes to finding the cheapest petrol or diesel, since they mostly sell at or near cost and use cheap fuel prices to lure customers in.

France, in common with many other countries, has seen an increase in prices of many everyday items from baguettes to petrol as the worldwide economy restarts after a year of Covid lockdowns caused a slump in demand.

READ ALSO Shortages in France: Which items are affected

Member comments

  1. Leclerc in our area wins because it offers more variety and is generally well priced (though for meat, both in variety and price, Intermarche is often better).

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For members


MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

While French cities such as Paris are notoriously expensive, there are many areas outside the cities where it is still possible to buy spacious homes for less than €100,000 - particularly if you don't mind a bit of renovation.

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

We decided to look at where in France you could afford a property on a budget of €100,000, and it turns out there are some bargains to be had.

There are a lot of caveats while searching for property, and many local variables in place, but our search does show some of the areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget.

We used the Notaires de France immobilier website in August 2022, and we specified that the property should have at least five rooms (including kitchen and bathroom) and a floor space of at least 100 square metres.

We also discounted any property that was for sale under the viager system – a complicated purchase method which allows the resident to release equity on their property gradually, as the buyer puts down a lump sum in advance and then pays what is effectively a rent for the rest of the seller’s lifetime, while allowing them to remain in the property.

READ ALSO Viager: The French property system that can lead to a bargain

For a five-room, 100 square metre property at under €100,000, you won’t find anywhere in the Île-de-France region, where the proximity of Paris pushes up property prices. The city itself is famously expensive, but much of the greater Paris region is within commuting distance, which means pricier property. 

Equally the island of Corsica – where prices are pushed up by its popularity as a tourist destination – showed no properties for sale while the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – which includes the French Riviera – showed only 1 property under €100,000.

The very presence of Bordeaux, meanwhile, takes the entire département of Gironde out of this equation – but that doesn’t mean that the southwest is completely out of the running. A total of 25 properties came up in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. One property was on the market for a mere €20,000 – but it was, as the Notaires’ brochure noted, in need of “complete renovation”.

Neighbouring Occitanie, meanwhile, showed 12 further properties in the bracket.

By far the most properties on the day of our search – 67 – were to be found in the Grand Est region of eastern France. The eastern part of France overall comes out best for property bargains, with the north-east region of Hauts-de-France showing 38 properties and and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté displaying 25.

Further south, however, the presence of the Alps – another popular tourist destination – pushed up prices in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region which showed just three results.

The below map shows our search results, with darker colours indicating more cheap properties.

Property buying tips 

In order to make a comparison, we focused our search on properties advertised online, but if you have a specific area in mind it's well worth making friends with a few local real estate agents and perhaps also the mayor, since it's common for properties not to be advertised online.

Most of the truly 'bargain' properties are described as being "in need of renovation" - which is real estate speak for a complete wreck.

If you don't mind doing a bit of work you can often pick up property for low prices, but you need to do a clear-eyed assessment of exactly how much work you are willing and able to do, and what the cost is likely to be - there's no point getting a "cheap" house and then spending three times the purchase price on renovations.

READ ALSO 'Double your budget and make friends with the mayor' - tips for French property renovation

That said, there were plenty of properties at or near the €100,000 mark that were perfectly liveable or needed only relatively minor renovations.

You also need to pay attention to the location, as the sub-€100,000 properties are often in remote areas or very small villages with limited access to amenities. While this lifestyle suits many people, bear in mind that owning a car is a requirement and you may end up paying extra for certain services.

Finally remember that government help, in the form of loans and grants, is available for environmentally friendly improvements, such as insulation or glazing.