5 fun facts about French supermarkets

Okay, so they’re not all “fun” and they may not exactly be “facts,” but my desire for a title with arguably excessive alliteration won out in the end.

One of my favorite things to do in France is go grocery shopping. That may sound odd, but there’s just something about the food stores here that draws me in. Even if I don’t really have anything to buy, I end up wandering through the aisles, passing the bread station with a smell so heavenly that it makes me go weak in the knees, and normally leaving with a square of really dark chocolate. From Monoprix to Carrefour to E. Leclerc to Saveurs de la Terre to Leader Price, grocery shopping never gets old.

Here’s what you can expect at a French supermarket:

You have to pay to use a grocery cart.

My first reaction: WHAT THE HEC, FRANCE. THIS IS A RIP-OFF. I’M GOING TO BUY MY OWN BASKET. But then I took a second look and realized it only costs 50 cents, and you get your money back again when you return the grocery cart.

My second reaction: THIS IS GENIUS. America, take note. A system like this could prevent all the stranded grocery carts from slowly rolling through the parking lot (usually at an angle because of that one wheel that won’t stay straight but rather swings stubbornly to one side).

You have to weigh your own fruits and vegetables. 

Often, I end up waiting in line until its finally my turn and then I remember –  the cashiers do not weigh and price out the produce, you do.

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Black beans don’t exist in France so don’t waste your time. 

It was a sad day when I realized this staple was no where to be found. Trust me, I scoured through all the aisles, even the “ethnic foods” section. Maybe it’s a sign I should fully embrace the French cuisine while I’m here. Doesn’t make me miss it any less, though.

Separation anxiety with foods is a real thing, friends.

A yogurt aisle that goes on FOREVER.

I can easily spend 10 minutes perusing the numerous dairy options.

You have to bring your own re-usable bags.

You know how, in the United States, you get a small discount for being eco-friendly and bringing your own re-usable grocery bags? Well, in France, it is not a choice. And if you happen to forget them, there are no plastic shopping bags to come to your rescue.

Check out one taste at a time’s instagram for a visual diary of my food adventures here in France.


3 thoughts on “5 fun facts about French supermarkets

  1. I learned many of these exciting facts when moving to Germany, too. I wish America would get rid of free plastic bags, but the people who need a plastic bag for their singular pack of batteries would probably start rioting.


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