The Best Shopping Deals & Sales
Updated: January 3, 2023
The French Riviera is not exactly an international destination for bargain hunters — except for a few times per year. Shopping on the French Riviera can be expensive if you don’t know when to shop. But as savvy shoppers know, you can find some great deals here, especially at the big shopping events.
Extra 5% Discount in Monaco: Our favorite way to get a discount while shopping and eating out in Monaco is a local secret — but we’re letting you in on it! Here’s how to save 5% when you spend money in Monaco year-round (it’s free and easy!)
Tip for Americans: If you’re visiting from the USA, check that your credit card has purchase protection insurance on it, in case the merchant won’t take a return, or the item is damaged or lost. Many American credit cards have insurance for these incidents.
Here are the biggest and best sales of the year:
Save an Extra 14% by Getting a Tax Refund
If your primary residence is in a non-EU country, and you are over 16 years old and spending less than 6 months in France, then you are eligible for a 14.5% refund of the VAT (sales tax) on the price of goods you purchased in France. The amount of your purchases in the last 3 months, all taxes included (TTC), must be greater than €100 (per store, per day). Shopkeepers on the French Riviera all know how to help you with this, when requested.
The easiest way to handle this is to download the Sav’In Tax Free or ZappTax mobile app. To get the VAT back, you must create your own digital slip with a mobile app once you’ve finished shopping. Before leaving the European Union, visit a PABLO electronic terminal (available in most departure halls at airports, find locations) and scan your digital slip (QR code) to validate your request. The digital slip must be validated on the day of departure and before the end of the 3rd month following the purchase date.
It is required for you to pass customs with the digital slip, the proof of purchase corresponding to the requested VAT tax refund requests as well as the unused products in their original packaging. You get your refund within 21 days after your passage through customs, directly on your credit card.
Here are more details about getting a tax refund or you can email [email protected].
The Big Annual Sales: 2023
The annual winter and summer sales are a long-standing tradition in this part of the world. They are the only two times a year when French shops are legally allowed to sell items for less than cost. It’s a grand French tradition, a bit like a (much) more civilized version of the ‘Black Friday’ frenzy in the US, but running for weeks instead of one day.
People are known to save up holiday time to be able to partake in the event, trying on or testing out items weeks in advance so that when the clock strikes 9am on the designated day, they will be able to swoop in and get desired items at great prices. The first day can be a real zoo as everyone races to snap up the best stuff, but pace yourself as the markdowns (‘demarques’) get better as the weeks go on…
Keep in mind that once items sell out, shops are not allowed to restock. So if there’s an item you really want, you should not wait to buy it.
Discounts increase the longer the sales go on, but the selection of products will by decrease as items sell out. For example, in the first démarque (mark-down), they are generally reduced by up to 40% maximum, but around a week to 10 days later there is a second reduction, with many items at 50% off, and then later still there is a third, with items at more than 50% off – though usually by this point there is less choice.
French Riviera Annual Sales
Keep in mind that not all shops start their sales at the same time, and some shops start the sales only on certain categories of items, then later put other categories of items on sale. If you’re interested in a certain brand’s sale schedule, call the shop or sign up for their email newsletter online.
The sales periods in e-commerce are the same as the national dates for shops. So, a seller, even situated in another country has to respect the official dates. Outside these periods, sellers can advertise price reductions but without using the word ‘soldes’, as long as they do not sell below their wholesale cost.
2023 Winter Sales
The 2023 winter sales start on January 11 at 8am, and end on February 7, 2023.
2023 Summer Sales
In the vast majority of France, the sales officially begin in late June, but for Corsica and the French Riviera (Alpes-Maritimes), shoppers will need to wait until July 5 to get out the credit cards for deals. The sales period will then run until August 5, 2023.
Monaco’s Annual Sales
If you want to get a jump on the deals, hop over the border. Shops in Monaco have the jump on the French, as they start their sales period several days before France does. Plus, you can get an additional 5% off the sale prices in Monaco with this insider trick.
This year, the Monaco winter sales period is from January 2 to February 15, 2023 for all retail shops.
Monaco’s summer sales are set for July 1 to August 15, 2023, giving shoppers a small head start on their French neighbors.
Italy’s Annual Sales
In Italy, sales are regulated by regions. Summer sales usually start the first week of July and last until mid/end of August. The Liguria region of Italy (go to Ventimiglia or Sanremo, a quick drive across the border), where the winter sales (‘saldi‘) go from January 5 to February 18, 2023 and the summer sales go from July 2 to August 15, 2023.
But aside from a couple of designer outlet malls (note that you can get similar, or better, discounts online on sites/apps like Yoox and The Outnet) there aren’t any good retail shopping areas in the nearby part of Italy, so unless you scout out specific stores in advance, you’re better off sticking to shopping-centric cities like Monaco and Cannes for the big sales.
Watch Out for Scams!
According to consumer group UFC-Choisir, the most common scams include:
- Shops inflating the original price of the item, to make shoppers believe they are getting a better deal or a discount than they really are.
- The sale of inferior, poor quality products during the sale.
- Shops changing their returns policy (this must be very clearly stated at the time of purchase.) However, if there is a fault with the product, or some other issue, the shop must exchange or refund the item.
Legal: Shopping Guarantees
Legal Guarantees During the Annual Shopping “Sales”
Limiting the legal guarantee of conformity on items sold during “sales” is subject to very strict conditions. Shopkeepers still have to respect specific legal rules during the sales.
The customer has the same rights as usual concerning manufacturing defects and after-sales service. This implies that the shopkeeper is obliged to exchange or to reimburse an item that has a hidden defect (a defect you could not see when you bought the product) or which does not conform to the order (see this article on guarantees in France).
A statement that “Goods can neither be returned nor exchanged” can only refer to items which have been specifically indicated as faulty, or to those which are normally exchanged only as a goodwill gesture. If you buy faulty goods without being alerted, your rights to after-sales service still apply. In any case, always be careful when buying goods in sales and inspect them thoroughly!
The rules for sales on the internet are exactly the same as in the shops, except for one major difference: customers of goods purchased online have a right of return of 14 days from the day they receive the item. The customer has the right to exchange the item or ask for a refund without giving a reason. The customer may have to pay for the return shipping costs.
Year-Round Legal Shopping Guarantees
All products sold in France are guaranteed by a protection called the garantie légale de conformité. This guarantee is two years for all new products and one year for all second-hand products. It means that if, for example, you buy an item but discover on delivery that it has a fault, is the wrong color, or does not match the general description provided by the seller, you can return it to the shop and you are fully covered.
There is another similar type of guarantee called the garantie des vices cachés. This is for if you buy a product and it contains a hidden fault that renders the product defective. For the garantie des vices cachés you have to prove that the product was defective before you bought it to legally rescind a sale.
Cannes: Sales and Luxury Shopping Events
Cannes is to shopping what the steps are to the Palais des Festivals — a must! The flagship address for Cannes shopping remains the Croisette. With its palaces, the boulevard is the signature of Cannes, it is also the address of haute-couture houses and luxury ready-to-wear boutiques. In fact, Cannes has the largest concentration of luxury shops per m² in France! Check out our guide to shopping in Cannes, which explains the city’s shopping street-by-street.
To take advantage of the sales, make sure to mark your calendar not only for the annual summer and winter shopping sales, but also for these two big shopping events:
Cannes Shopping Festival
Also known as ‘Palais des Festival’, the shopping festival is a 4-day-long shopping event held in the months of March to April and September to October. The fall dates have not yet been announced.
It’s four days of nearly non-stop fashion shows, entertainment, and a slew of shopping events. Many of the fashion shows are held in the Palais des Festivals , but there are also outdoor fashion shows.
Sales and the City
‘Sales and the City’ is a large shopping and street sale held each January. Most of the stores and shops in Cannes, especially ones in the main shopping district, offer deep discounts and extras (like free champagne while you shop) during this time. Expect entertainment, enticing promotions, and activities offered by shops in the city center. Here are the details:
- It is held from January 12 to 16, 2022
- Saturday from 2pm to 7pm: Rue d’Antibes will be pedestrianized and will have mobile shows with jugglers and acrobats.
- Wednesday to Sunday from 2pm to 6pm: Sound system on rue d’Antibes and rue Francis Tonner.
- Fixed price of €5.50 per day at most car parks.
- Visit the official website for more details.
La Grande Braderie – Sale Event
Every year, each major city in France holds a massive 3-day sale called ‘La Grande Braderie’. Clothes and accessories from the town’s boutiques fill the streets. Racks and tables will help to sell fashion apparel, accessories, decoration, etc. at deep discounts.
The most famous Grand Braderie on the French Riviera is in Saint Tropez, where (at the end of October) the designer shops gather for the most exclusive shopping event on the French Riviera. Check out Iconic Riviera’s guide to this year’s La Grande Braderie in Saint Tropez.
Nice’s Grand Braderie is in September, the Cannes Grand Braderie is in early October and Antibes holds theirs in August. We put all the sales in our events calendar.
Check our events calendar for more shopping and sales events.