A website may not be the first image that comes to mind when we think about shopping in France, but buying via the internet is now big business.
Of course, when it comes to the physical pleasure of shopping, nothing beats wandering around French markets and marvelling at the fresh and usually reasonably priced products on sale.
But for many foreigners living in France, it’s not always practical to buy high value items like electrical or white goods locally. Many of us live in rural communities where consumer choice doesn’t exist.
French sites are as secure as those in the UK. Simply show the same prudence that you would with any online shopping; be careful about the websites you visit and above all which emails you respond to. (If in doubt the golden rule is – leave the site or bin the email.)
Whichever internet browser you use (if you don’t know, you’re probably using Internet Explorer) make sure you use the latest version and check for any security updates. Some anti-virus software now automatically scans the sites that come up in any search engine trawl you make.
Keep a record of all your transactions in a folder and inspect your bank statements thoroughly. Report anything suspicious to your card provider immediately.
Nor of course should you always assume that just because something is online, it’s going to be cheaper than in the shops. You need to consider the cost of delivery and packaging too. You should also check how soon they are likely to despatch it to you before you commit to buy.
Nonetheless, if it’s done with care, shopping online can give you both greater variety and save you money.
A few websites to get you started:
www.amazon.fr – the French version of Amazon.
www.mistergooddeal.com – a whole world of online shopping is here, from electrical goods to DIY.
www.pixmania.com – a very clear comparison site for computers and other electrical goods.
www.acheter-moins-cher.com – another comparison site that is good for white goods.
www.fitnessboutique.fr – all the latest products and top brands from the world of fitness.
www.planfor.fr – excellent for buying trees and shrubs online.
www.welcomeoffice.com – useful for office supplies.
By Michael Streeter