Paris shopping

French Shopping Vocabulary: All The Essentials for Shopping in France

Dear fellow shopaholics,

Please be aware that Paris is the fashionista’s dream city.

Twice a year, France becomes the ultimate destination for lovers of la mode (fashion).

Armed with your authentic French slang words, summertime vocabulary, and nightlife phrases, you’re already prepared to go out and enjoy all of the great times that France has to offer. There’s just one thing missing: what clothing are you planning to wear out on all those French adventures?

In January and in June, the soldes (sales) arrive!  Each one of these bi-annual sales lasts for just over a month, and they are perfect opportunities to upgrade your wardrobe. Every grands magasins (department stores), small boutiques, and centres commerciaux (shopping malls) transforms into paradise of bargains and a horrific hell where masses of people voraciously grab things off the rack and straight out of your hands.

Shopping for a little black dress, shoes for walking on cobblestone streets, or the perfect high-waist jeans for lounging by the Seine? It is important to make yourself easily understood while making purchases.

To prepare yourself for a whirlwind, Parisian shopping adventure, commit these essential phrases to memory.


French Shopping Vocabulary: All The Essentials for Shopping in France

First of all, it is very important when entering any store to always greet the clerk or salesperson with a friendly “Bonjour !”  (Hello!) It is considered rude to not do this, as if you were entering someone’s home without greeting them.  Likewise, when you leave a store always say “Merci, au revoir !” (Thank you, good bye!) It never hurts to add “Bonne journée / fin de journée / soirée.” (Have a nice day / end of your day / evening.)

Phrases to Plan Your French Shopping Trip

I’m going shopping on Saturday, want to come?
        Je vais faire du shopping samedi, tu viens avec moi ? 

I’m going to see the sales this weekend, interested?
        Je fais les soldes ce weekend, ça te dit ? 

We’re going to see what’s at Galeries Lafayette (one of the biggest department stores in Paris).
        On va faire un tour aux Galeries Lafayette.

French Phrases to Talk About Deals

A good deal, inexpensive, cheap.
        Bon marché.

I got a good deal on these shoes this week.
        J’ai acheté ces chaussures à bon marché cette semaine.

Marché can also be used a comparative or superlative.

I’m jealous, your dress was a better deal!
        Je suis jalouse, ta robe était meilleur marché !

Other terms to describe a good deal are:
        Une bonne affaire (A good deal) 
        Un bon rapport qualité-prix  (Good bang for your buck)
        Un prix avantageux  (A better price)
        Pas cher (Not expensive)

On the other side, you can say something is “c’est de la camelote” or “une pacotille,” meaning it is cheap junk.

Finding Sales

To ask if there are any sales in the store:
        Est-ce qu’il y a des soldes ?  (Are there sales?)
        Est-ce que vous avez des soldes ? (Do you have any sales?)

To ask if an item is on sale:
       C’est soldé ?
       C’est en solde ? 

Paying and Asking for Prices

How much is it?
      C’est combien ?
      Combien ça coûte ?

Can I pay by card?
      Est-ce que je peux payer par carte bancaire ?
      Je peux régler par carte ? 

I’m going to pay in cash.
      Je vais payer en liquide. 

I’m going to check out, I’m going to the cash register.
      Je vais à la caisse. 

Can I have a bag?
       Est-ce que je peux avoir un sac ? 

Browsing and Looking for Specific Items 

A sales clerk, or vendeur, vendeuse, might ask you if you need help.
       Est-ce que je peux vous aider? 

Or if you’re looking for something in particular.
       Vous cherchez quelque chose en particulier ? 

You can say that you’re just looking.
       Non merci, je ne fais que regarder. (No thank you, I’m only looking.)
       Non merci, je regarde tout simplement.  (No thank you, I’m simply looking.)

Or that you’re looking for a green sweater.
       Oui, je cherche un pull vert. 

I need to buy a present for a friend.
       Je dois trouver un cadeau pour un ami.

Sizes and Colors

Do you have this in a small?
      Est-ce que vous l’avez en S ?

I’m looking for these jeans in a 37.
      Je cherche ce jean en taille 37.

Do you have other sizes?
      Est-ce que vous avez d’autres tailles ? 

I would like to see this dress but in black.
      Je voudrais voir cette robe mais en noir.

Do you have this in other colors?
      Est-ce que vous l’avez en d’autres couleurs ?              

Trying Things On

Where are the dressing rooms?
      Où sont les cabines ?  

Is there a mirror?
     Est-ce qu’il y a un miroir ? 

I’m going to try on these pants.
     Je vais essayer ce pantalon. 

It’s too tight!
     C’est trop serré ! 

It’s a bit short, don’t you think?
    C’est un peu court, n’est-ce pas ? 

That’s way too big on you.
     C’est beaucoup trop large pour vous. 

Making Crucial Shopping Decisions

I like this one the best.
     J’aime celui-ci le plus. 

I like this shirt a lot.
    Cette chemise me plaît beaucoup.

This color doesn’t look good on me.
     Cette couleur ne me va pas très bien. 

It’s very elegant, very chic.
     C’est très élégant, très chic.

It’s interesting, it’s unique. (This can be used as a compliment or a subtle criticism.  People often say it when they don’t like something but don’t want to be rude. Listen carefully for sarcasm).
     C’est original. 

I love these shoes, I’m going to get them.
     J’adore ces chaussures, je vais les prendre. 

I want to buy this jacket but it’s too expensive.
     J’ai envie d’acheter ce manteau mais je ne peux pas me permettre. 

I’m going to buy this purse even if it’s too expensive.
     Je vais acheter ce sac à main meme si c’est trop cher. 

You should get that skirt, it looks really good on you.
     Tu devrais acheter cette jupe, elle te va super bien. 

French Phrases for Returns and Refunds

What’s your return policy?
     Quelle est votre politique pour les remboursements ? 

I would like to exchange this for another size, please.
     Je voudrais échanger ceci pour une autre taille, s’il vous plaît. 

I would like to return this watch.
     Je voudrais retourner cette montre. 

Can I be reimbursed in cash?
     Je pourrais être remboursé(e) en liquide ? 

Remember to check the hours of the store you’re going to and see if they’re open during the weekend. While some stores are open on Sundays, especially in certain neighborhoods of Paris, the majority aren’t open. Opening hours are often extended during the sales and during the Christmas holidays.

What time do you close?
     Vous fermez à quelle heure ? 

Are you open on Sundays?
     Vous êtes ouvert les dimanches ? 

Now just set your budget, bring your porte-monnaie or portefeuille (wallet) and brave the stores, whether it be BHV, Galeries Lafayette, Chanel or Sandro!

With these French shopping phrases, you’ll have the magic French touch in no time, able to track down all the chic clothing you want at just the right price.

You’re officially ready for shopping in France, during the sales and all times of the year!  

Bon shopping ! 


And One More Thing…

Now that you’ve got some key vocab down, it’s time to prepare your senses for the sights and sounds of Paris (or the stylish French city of your choice).

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2014 10 09 20.42.25 9 Great Channels to Learn French on YouTube

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2014 10 09 20.44.00 9 Great Channels to Learn French on YouTube

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2014 10 09 20.44.51 9 Great Channels to Learn French on YouTube

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2014 10 09 20.45.27 9 Great Channels to Learn French on YouTube

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