mardi 21 février 2006
I have classified grocery shopping here in France into five categories:
specialty shops (bakeries, butchers, pastries, etc)
epiceries: small, locally owned stores in the city usually selling fruits, vegetables, and a small selection of other food- expensive, good in a pinch, open when others are not.
open air markets: good for local specialties, cheaper prices, have to know when and where to go.
discount stores: larger selection than the epiceries, usually lower priced. Food is placed in the cartons on the shelves, have unusual hours.
grand surface: avoid if possible. These are the large Walmart-like stores, usually on the outskirts of town. Selection, quality of merchandise, and price similar to Walmart, but not very well organized, crowded, and sometimes less than clean. Well hey, I guess kind of like Walmart too.

When I first arrived here, Alain and I had not gotten in the swing of things of how to go about grocery shopping. As a result, we would go Saturday afternoons (when he was off work, the only time I had access to the car too) and spend several hours searching desperately for what we needed.
Eventually, I discovered Intermarché about two blocks from our apartment. This is like a smaller grand surface store, slightly higher priced and smaller selection, but definetely worth the reduction in hassle. If you get a shopping cart, you have to have a one euro coin with you to place in the lock that connects all the carts- this assures that carts will be returned as the coin pops out once you reconnect the cart.
Once you choose your fruits and vegetables, you have to weigh them and place the price sticker that is spit out on the bag. They will not be weighed for you at the checkout. When checking out, expect to bag them yourself. I have not yet seen a store with baggers. Also, more and more stores are making the customers buy the sturdy reusable canvas bags, or else will charge you for plastic bags.
Also, there is ED, which is a low priced place about four blocks in the other direction. This is a store that is closed for lunch from 1 to 2:30. All grocery stores (other than epiceries, markets, and specialty stores) are closed on Sundays.
My regular routine is to go once a week to each store, to buy certain things at each. Then I load everything into my two canvas bags and lug it back to the apartment and up the three flights of stairs. What I usually buy: fromage blanc (a fat free yogurty thing), cheese (kept in the hermetically sealed box in our fridge, which is quite large by French standards), tea (we are quite the tea drinkers), apples, bananas, tangerines, tomatoes, carrots (just for me as Alain does not like carrots), meat patties, ham, eggs, olive oil (which we use A LOT), yogurt (plain for him, flavored for me), olives, pasta (yeah, he's half Italian), sometimes a chocolate bar with hazelnuts -so good, oatmeal and cinnamon (again, just for me), biscottes- flat toasted squares. Like many French, Alain does not eat a big breakfast. We usually split an apple, my half goes in my oatmeal, his half he peels and eats with some biscottes with honey. Sometimes on Sundays, but not every Sunday, we go out and buy croissants- hot, fresh, and flaky.
Food that I miss- cottage cheese, cream cheese, bagels, hot soft pretzels, Moose Tracks Ice Cream, tofu, McIntosh apples, and that is about it. What helps to make up for it- baguettes, french cheese, and the chocolate.

1 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

Ah, yes---I gained 20 pounds on the baguettes, fromages, et chocolats!


Blog Archive


Favorite Posts