What makes shopping in Paris special is its specialty stores. Sure it has wonderful markets, well-stocked supermarkets, and elegant department stores with fabulous food halls, but the best produce is always to be found at the shops that specialise in a particular produce. But we still need to buy the essentials so below is a Paris supermarket shopping list.
It’s also a lot more fun to shop at a boulangerie (bakers), fromagerie (cheese shop), charcuterie (delicatessen), boucherie (butchers), and poissonnerie (fishmongers), than filling a Paris supermarket shopping list. Once you get over the feeling of being like a kid in a candy shop with such a colossal choice of products, you can concentrate on enjoying the quality of goods and simply take in the aromas, colours and textures, and, in some shops, even the flavours of things before you buy them.
It’s even better if you understand and speak a little of the language (or the shopkeeper speaks a little of yours), and you can interact with the people behind the counter. At the very least you can enjoy watching others interact – we always find it such a joy to watch the French, like the Spanish and Italians, have a conversation about the new season’s asparagus or a particular cheese. That passion for food is contagious.
Traditionally, women in Paris would go shopping in the mornings, and in neighbourhoods like Montmartre, our current ‘home’, the streets still bustle early in the day with little old ladies pushing their shopping carts along the footpaths – although we haven’t quite figured out how they get them back up the stairs again! Some shops still only open in the mornings on weekends, and if they do stay open in the afternoon, they’re low on stock by the end of the day, especially good boulangerie and poissonnerie.
Parisian shopping and eating habits have changed here as they have everywhere, so supermarkets abound in Paris as they do in other cities, with shelf after shelf of pre-packaged food and rows of freezers crammed with frozen food. Indeed, there’s even a chain of stores specializing in frozen food called Picard!
For our Price Check shopping list, we’ve still surveyed a supermarket in Paris for prices, rather than the markets or specialty shops, as supermarkets provide a better yardstick for comparing prices between different cities and countries, and sometimes supermarkets may be your only choice for getting started, especially if you arrive in the evening or on a Sunday when the specialty shops may be closed.
Please do let us know if this list is helpful or if there are things you’d like to see included/excluded. We’re finding it a fascinating exercise. What about you?
|1.5 litre water||€0.56||£0.49||US$0.76|
|1 litre milk||€0.95||£0.83||US$1.29|
|Bottle of local wine||€5.00||£4.38||US$6.77|
|250 g Segafredo||€3.10||£2.72||US$4.20|
|Lipton’s tea 50 bags||€2.15||£1.89||US$2.91|
|1 kg sugar||€0.99||£0.87||US$1.34|
|Jar of cherry jam||€1.70||£1.49||US$2.30|
|250g quality butter||€1.85||£1.62||US$2.51|
|200g Brie cheese||€3.50||£3.07||US$4.74|
|500 ml olive oil||€3.90||£3.42||US$5.28|
|1 kilo tomatoes||€2.95||£2.59||US$4.00|
|1 kilo onions||€2.30||£2.02||US$3.12|
|1 kilo apples||€2.80||£2.46||US$3.79|
|250 g pistachios||€5.25||£4.60||US$7.11|
|250g jar Maille mustard||€1.80||£1.58||US$2.44|