This post is such a big throw-back. I studied abroad in Paris a little more than half a year ago, and this draft has been sitting around for the longest time. It’s time to reminiscent.
This is going to sound weird and random, but I love groceries shopping and Paris’ supermarkets are one of my favorite places to do so.
You may ask, what’s so different about the supermarkets in Paris?
The answer is they actually really aren’t that much different from supermarkets elsewhere. But for some reason, I just really like the supermarkets here, something about their down-to-earth-ness, comfort and easiness to navigate around, that make me so fond of them. The big supermarkets in Paris are Monoprix, Franprix and Carrefour, and then there are the small ones like Simply, Inter-marche and G20.
Since day one, these supermarkets have held a special place in the hearts of exchange students. During our early days transitioning into Paris, supermarkets are our default place when we needed a quick and affordable to-go sandwich because we were too big of a noob to find local bakeries or cafes. I think I survived my first week of Paris with mostly food from supermarkets.
I love the selection of everything these supermarkets have. Savory snacks that come in the perfect, portable size (not American family-sizes that always deter me from buying because I can never finish them before they expire or go stale) , very fresh and affordable cheese, freshly baked bread, a huge selection of cheap wine. Even the food and products from their own brand is very decent, if not amazing. My go-to products are carottes rapees (shredded carrot salad), Belin and Benenuts snacks, and any of the breakfast toast crackers.
What baffles me about these supermarkets is how large of a sweet-tooth section they have. Rows and rows of chocolate, sweets and cookies dominate more than two-thirds of the snacks aisles, and it usually take me a while to locate where the chips and crackers are.
Another slightly odd but noteworthy place is Picard, a French frozen food chain. I know what you are thinking – seriously, frozen food? Frozen food have a default bad rep – last minute cooking, very mediocre, very unhealthy. Very American. But here in Paris, Picard’s frozen food are good, affordable and actually fresh (in frozen food standards). Thanks to my host mom, who is pretty picky and surprised me with her obsession with Picard, I was introduced to this frozen-food chain that has almost everything you need without the hassle of cooking – frozen vegetables, bread, desserts, meals – that’s actually tasty. They even have an entire prepared selection of Christmas feast when the season rolls around. If only I were a college student in Paris.
Low-key fact about me, sometimes when I had a little down time on the streets, I would walk into a Monoprix or Franprix and just wander around the aisles, and would often end up buying something even when I didn’t need to.
Most supermarkets close at around 8-9PM and you’ll be lucky to find one near you that closes at 10PM. You have no idea how many times my friends and I have walked around after the sun has set, hunting for wine at somewhere that’s still opened. Because we love drinking wine by the Seine after dinner, enjoying the cool evening breeze and talking about how much we love and hate being foreigners in Paris.
I miss Paris. </3