The usual interpretation:
Contracts must be negotiated, formed and performed in good faith.
This provision is of public order.
(Thus for example this principle, in the context of the health crisis induced by the SARS CoV-2 (or Covid 19) epidemic, has made it possible to revisit the law of commercial leases and the exception of non-performance.
The general conditions invoked by one party only have effect with regard to the other if they have been brought to the attention of the latter and if it has accepted them.
In case of discrepancy between the general conditions invoked by either party, the incompatible clauses are without effect.
In case of discrepancy between general conditions and special conditions, the latter take precedence over the former.
When the quality of the service is not determined or determinable by virtue of the contract, the debtor must offer a service of quality in accordance with the legitimate expectations of the parties in consideration of its nature, the uses and the amount of the consideration.
The contract is interpreted according to the common intention of the parties rather than stopping at the literal meaning of its terms.
When this intention cannot be detected, the contract is interpreted according to the meaning given to it by a reasonable person placed in the same situation.
All the clauses of a contract are interpreted in relation to each other, giving each the meaning that respects the coherence of the act as a whole.
When, with the common intention of the parties, several contracts contribute to the same operation, they are interpreted according to this operation.
In case of doubt, the contract by mutual agreement is interpreted against the creditor and in favor of the debtor, and the adhesion contract against the person who proposed it.
When a clause is capable of two meanings, the one which gives it an effect takes precedence over the one which does not cause it to produce any.
Clear and precise clauses cannot be interpreted on pain of distortion.
Contracts bind not only to what is expressed therein, but also to all the consequences given to them by equity, usage or the law.
If a change in circumstances unforeseeable at the time of the conclusion of the contract makes performance excessively onerous for a party who had not accepted to assume the risk, the latter may request a renegotiation of the contract from his co-contracting party. It continues to perform its obligations during the renegotiation.
In the event of refusal or failure of the renegotiation, the parties may agree to the termination of the contract, on the date and under the conditions that they determine, or request by mutual agreement the judge to proceed with its adaptation. Failing agreement within a reasonable time, the judge may, at the request of a party, revise the contract or terminate it, on the date and under the conditions that he sets.
Perpetual commitments are prohibited.
Each contracting party may terminate it under the conditions provided for the open-ended contract.
When the contract is concluded for an indefinite period, either party may terminate it at any time, subject to respecting the notice period contractually provided for or, failing that, a reasonable period.
When the contract is concluded for a fixed term, each party must perform it until its term.
No one can demand the renewal of the contract.
The contract may be extended if the contracting parties express their wish before its expiry. The extension may not infringe the rights of third parties.
The fixed-term contract may be renewed by operation of law or by agreement of the parties.
The renewal gives rise to a new contract whose content is identical to the previous one but whose duration is indefinite.
When, at the expiry of the term of a contract concluded for a fixed term, the contracting parties continue to perform their obligations, there is tacit renewal. This produces the same effects as the renewal of the contract.
Interpretation of the sales contract
The seller is required to clearly explain what he is obligated to do.
Any obscure or ambiguous pact is interpreted against the seller.
Interpretation in consumer law
The clauses of contracts offered by professionals to consumers must be presented and drafted in a clear and understandable manner.
They are interpreted in case of doubt in the sense most favorable to the consumer. The provisions of this paragraph are not, however, applicable to proceedings initiated on the basis of Article L. 621-8.
A Conseil d'Etat decree shall specify, with a view to ensuring consumer information, the terms and conditions for the presentation of the contracts mentioned in the first paragraph.