What to expect from Black Friday in France this year

The Local France
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What to expect from Black Friday in France this year
In 2018 pedestrians walk past a store window with a sign announcing the so-called "Black Friday" sales, in Paris. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP)

The French environment ministry is urging people to avoid 'over-consumption' on Black Friday - but if you're looking for a bargain, here's how the sales day unfolds in France.


The day itself is relatively new to France - it did not cross over the Atlantic until after 2013 - and is definitely less of a big deal in France than it is in the US.

And not everybody likes it - this year the Environment ministry's Ademe agency put out a video urging people not to buy things they don't need on Black Friday.



And yes, in tribute to its American roots, the day is generally known as 'le black Friday' although you will sometimes hear vendredi noir as well.

This year it falls on Friday, November 24th and although it isn't a big event as it is the US, most large retailers and chains do offer discounts, both in store and online.


The discounts themselves

Although its been steadily growing in recent years, Black Friday is not the primary sale of the French calendar. 

In France, there are two soldes (sales) periods per year. One in the winter, usually starting January, and another in the summer, usually starting in June.

Technically, these two sale periods are the only time that stores are allowed to have sales, but the definition of ‘sale’ is important. Basically, the French government qualifies a 'solde' as the store selling an item for less than they purchased it for.

During the rest of the year discounting is allowed in certain circumstances, which is what you are likely to see on Black Friday in France. This means that stores might sell items for less than their original price, but not below what they bought the item for - which means that the discounts are usually less than they would be in the winter or summer sales.

A big advantage to Black Friday in France, however, is that consumer protection rules still apply, even when items are marked down. This means that consumers are still entitled to a refund if the item has not been expressly indicated as faulty. 

Store participation

In terms of store participation, you can definitely expect large retailers like Amazon, Cdiscount, Groupon and Sephora to offer sales, and some small stores and shops also participate.

More recently, French national rail operator SNCF has begun offering Black Friday sales, with discounts on both rail cards and tickets - so if you have a trip planned this can be a good day to get your tickets.

READ MORE: How to find cheap train tickets in France

The three sectors that particularly mark Black Friday are tech, fashion, and beauty. The French newspaper Le Figaro found that among tech items, the best deals tended to be on televisions, which saw a price reduction of 16 percent on average in 2021. 

Le Figaro also noted that Black Friday in France has become particularly popular online, with many shoppers preferring to make purchases online rather than in person.


The French government has put out a warning about several scams related to Black Friday that are circulating online.

Consumers were told to "beware of fake sites that imitate existing brands! You'll never receive the product you ordered. You should also be on the lookout for scam messages (e-mails, text messages, adverts on social networks) designed to steal your personal or banking details. Giving your personal details to crooks can be very costly, leading to identity theft or fraudulent bank transactions".

In order to avoid scams, you should compare the price of the product being advertised with similar offers on well-known, trusted sites. Also, be sure to check that things are correctly spelled, especially in the URL. 

If you think you have been scammed, you can report them to THIS website. You can also visit the government site, which is the national assistance platform for victims of cybercrime. 


More than 6 out of 10 French people reportedly make purchases on Black Friday with many seeing it as the prime time to shop for Christmas presents.

According to a 2020 Poulpeo study on the French and Black Friday, the average shopper had a budget of approximately €330. The study also showed that one in three French people see the event as a "good way to save money and do their Christmas shopping early."

Additionally, the study found that almost half (46 percent) of shoppers in France planned to buy from small retailers.

Nevertheless, there remains some resistance to the American tradition, as seen in the Environment Ministry's video.


In 2019, more than 200 brands joined a collective called “Make Friday green again” with the aim of boycotting the sales day. The brands argued that Black Friday encourages “artificial over-consumption” - which harms the environment by encouraging overproduction and also damages workers' rights.

Several well-known brands joined the "Make Friday green again" movement - such as Nature & Découvertes, Jimmy Fairly, Emoi Emoi, Jamini, Bergamotte, Tediber and Manfield.


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