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Half term and Bank Holiday shopping tips for day trippers and visitors to Calais, France – Day-tripper.net, the web magazine for channel shoppers.
Popping across the channel to stock up on items not normally available in the United Kingdom, or just plain cheaper than at home, is a popular activity for most of us near to the channel ports. Even where items are not cheaper, the range and quality is certainly better. If you can, travel during the week – Saturday are very busy.
We get a lot of e-mails on many different aspects of shopping in France and Belgium during half terms, school holidays, Bank Holiday weekends and of course before Christmas. This page will try and keep up to date with opening times and advice for channel shoppers.
In general shops tend to open on all but the most important Public holidays. It seems that Auchan take it in turns with Carrefour Cite Europe when deciding whether to open or not. Either way, there tends to be somewhere to shop.
When shops and supermarkets open on a Public holiday, they tend to close earlier than normal though. Check the local store website for the latest information.
The Summer sales start on 28th June 2017 until the 8th August 2017.
However, many departments have different start and finish dates. More information (in French) – www.economie.gouv.fr
Another link to French Government website concerning sale dates. www.service-public.fr
Six departments near the French border are free to set different dates, although often they conform to the National dates (Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.) Additionally, Departments in the South (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region) sometimes hold their sales later than the rest of France.
In Belgium the sales are held in January and July.
CREDIT CARDS – we suggest you ring your credit card company before shopping in France – increased fraud means they are turning down shoppers cards if their spending deviates from the norm. Take your mobile – you can often sort the problem out over the phone.
We know from our logs that people refer to this site before going on a shopping trip – the number of people visiting Day-tripper.net increases quite dramatically before half terms for example, and the number of pages looked at by each visitor increases.
Key; Fr – Public Holiday or Religious day in France (some shops may be closed). There are 10 Public Holidays in France.
United Kingdom Public holidays are listed as it may be busy on the ferries and Eurotunnel.
|Country||Cite Europe||Centre Auchan in Calais||Mi-voix|
|January 1st. Sunday / Dimanche – New Years Day
Fr (1) – Jour de l'an
|January 2nd. Monday / Lundi – New Year's Day Public Holiday||U.K.||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|Special Sunday opening – January 15th||Fra||Open||-||-||-|
|February 21st. Tuesday / Mardi||Lux||-||-||-||-|
|April 6th. Friday / Vendredi – Good Friday||All||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|April 9th. Monday / Lundi – Easter Monday
Fr (2) – Lundi de Pâques
|April 23rd. Monday / Lundi – Saint George's Day||U.K.||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|May 1st. Tuesday / Mardi – May Day
Fr (3) – Fête du premier mai
|May 7th. Monday / Lundi
Public holiday in the United Kingdom.
|May 8th. Tuesday / Mardi – WWII Victory Day
Fr (4) – Fête de la Victoire 1945
|May 17th. Thursday / Jeudi – Ascension
Fr (5) – l'Ascencion
|May 27th. Sunday / Dimanche – Whit Sunday
|May 28th. Monday / Lundi – Whit Monday
Fr (6) – Lundi de Pentecôte
Restored as a Public holiday in France in 2008
|June 4th. Monday / Lundi – Spring Bank Holiday Monday||U.K.||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|June 5th. Tuesday / Mardi – Diamond Jubilee Holiday||U.K.||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|June 23rd. Saturday / Samedi||Lux||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|July 11th. Wednesday / Mercredi
(Flemmish Community Holiday)
|July 14th. Saturday / Samedi – Bastille Day
Fr (7) – Fête national
|July 21st. Saturday / Samedi
|August 15th. Wednesday / Mercredi – Assumption
Fr (8) – Assomption
|August 27th. Monday / Lundi – Summer Bank Holiday||U.K.||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|September 3rd. Monday / Lundi||Lux||-||-||-||-|
|27th September – Thursday / Jeudi
(French Community Holiday)
|November 1st. Thursday / Jeudi – All Saints Day
Fr (9) – La Toussain
|November 11th. Sunday / Dimanche – Armistice Day
Fr (10) – Jour d'armistice
15th November – Thursday / Jeudi
(King's Birthday. www.monarchie.be
German Community Holiday
|Special Sunday / Dimanche opening – November 25th||Fra||Open||Open||-||-|
|Special Sunday / Dimanche opening – December 2nd||Fra||Open||Open||-||-|
|Special Sunday / Dimanche opening – December 9th||Fra||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|Special Sunday / Dimanche opening – December 16th||Fra||Open||Open||Open||Open|
|Special Sunday / Dimanche opening – December 23rd||Fra||Open||Open||Open||Open|
Fr (11) – Noël
|December 26th Boxing Day Holiday (St Etienne). Wednesday / Mercredi
Fr – Alsace and Lorraine only
January 1st 2013. Tuesday / Mardi
At Cite Europe, Carrefour Hypermarket is open on Sundays from late November. The shops in Cite Europe open as well.
McArthur Glen Factory Shopping Centres.
Public Holidays see many shops closed. However as in Britain, many shops are now opening.
Half Terms – always busy – if you can go another time we suggest you do.
Remember that French time is one hour ahead of British time. Summer time starts on the last Sunday in March at 2.00am, and ends on the last Sunday in October at 3.00am. More
Avoid busy times on the autoroute, it's not just public holidays that affect the amount of traffic on the roads. Check out Bison Fute for traffic information.
Bank holidays – Peak times start on the Friday and fares are very expensive for the return on Monday.
Half term holidays – The Friday and Saturday at the start of a half term break are expensive, as are the Saturday and Sunday at the end of the break.
Cross channel fares rise or attract supplement from mid July until the end of the school holidays (beginning of September).
Valentines Day – 14th February.
Mother's Day – Sunday 14th March – never forget Mummy.
Halloween – 31st October.
January – it is traditional in France for shops to close for the winter break. Even shop keepers need to get away!
September – after the busy summer holiday period many shops, hotels and restaurants close in September.
We strongly advice you to telephone and check if your favoured shop, hotel or restaurant is open if travelling or shopping in January or September (in areas where people traditionally holiday). August will be a bad month in areas such as Calais, as smaller shops will take their holidays then.
Monday to Friday – shops are open all day. Many shops close on Monday morning.
Saturday – shops close at 1.00pm. Cite Europe is open until 8.00pm.
Sunday – Quiet – check before going that the shop you wish to visit is open. Small supermarkets are often open on Sunday but only in the morning.
All shops are closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day. Most of the shops are open on Sunday in the run up to Xmas. Here are the times for the main shops frequented by United Kingdom shoppers, which we have phoned around for ourselves (they differ from the advice others are giving).
From November we update a page devoted to Xmas shopping. More
On the first weekend of December, a traditional Christmas market takes place in the main shopping streets of Calais. They are; Bd. Lafayette, Bd. Jacquard and in the Town centre by the Theatre. Usually more than 100 exhibitors display their crafts as well as local products.
During the rest of the month there is a Christmas Market by the Theatre. More
Follow our advice – Don't lose your car!
A case of beer weights 17kg, a case (12) of wine weighs 15kg, and a case of champagne 22 kg. In France on the spot fines of £100 are levied for overloaded vehicles, in England the penalty is £40 plus 3 penalty points. In addition the Police will issue a PG9 notice which prohibits you from moving the vehicle until the excess weight is removed. You also must have a new MOT done before the PG9 is lifted.
Pay by credit card – Although all the shops and supermarkets are keen to get you to pay with sterling the rates are rarely to your advantage.
Fill up with diesel in the afternoon – you will save about 8% on United Kingdom prices.
Check our prices page before you go – print the page or make a note of the things you want which are cheaper.
Prepare your shopping list – if you know what you want to buy (nuts etc.) make a note of the United Kingdom price before you go.
Don't buy boxes of chocolates in the United Kingdom You get better quality and value in France. Even better go to Belgium (Adinkerke) and stock up on good value cheap chocolates. If you are buying tobacco in Adinkerke, Belgium we suggest you try Confiserie Dalipan in De Panne itself or D and O Alexander Chocolates for chocolate treats.
Markets are often good places to find unusual gifts.
Household – soap powder softeners, baby wipes, CD's, cat litter, DIY products, toothpaste, shampoo, cordless kettles, kitchenware, mens and womens shaving products, aluminium foil, car stereo's, camcorder film, coffins, printing paper. SAVE up to 50%
Children – push chairs, car seats, travel cots, bike seats, baby clothes, toys, mountain bikes.
We hear that "Doliprane paracetamol Suppositoires" are much cheaper in France. SAVE up to 30%
Clothes – Levi 501's, branded shoes, clothes. Scuba gear (Go Sport, Cité Europe). SAVE up to 30%
Food – Anchovies, baby food, biscuits, cheese, chicory (Endives – 85% less in France), chocolate, Coca Cola, cous cous, dry dog food, dry packet soups, fromage frais, ground coffee, jams, mashed potato, mayonnaise, mineral water, mustard, olive oil, orange juice, nesquick, nutella spread, pasta, pasta sauces, rice, salad dressings, tinned sweetcorn, salt, smoked salmon, UHT milk, yoghurt.
The town of Licques is famous for its turkey's – SAVE up to 60%. www.licques-volailles.fr
Perfumes and Cosmetics – Biggest savings on Skin Care particularly CLARINS. Ferry good value for perfumes. SAVE up to 30%
Eyewear. SAVE up to 20%
Diesel – price survey results – worthwhile savings, if you visit France regularly worth buying a diesel car. SAVE up to 16%
Petrol – price survey results – no savings to be had due to tax rises in France.