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Who doesn't love the dairy section in a French Supermarket?

                                                                                   
Contrary to the belief that French cookery is all about local markets and speciality stores, you will find that supermarket shopping has become a local weekly habit. The average French supermarket offers almost as much variety and quality of produce as the classic open air markets. Pantry items are also highly varied and high in quality.
Dairy products in particular come into their own in French supermarkets. Delicious ice creams, yoghurt’s, cheeses and mouth watering desserts are available at everyday prices. Freshly baked bread, pastries, chacuterie and olives make a great picnic meal for next to nothing. You can even buy ready made sandwiches, salads and good quality wine. High quality skin and hair care products are also available, offering excellent value for money.
                            
French supermarkets do not sell fresh milk. Milk is heat treated and you will find it in the aisles and not the refrigerated section. Normally packed in lots of six, but feel free to break the plastic and purchase a single item. It happens all the time. The same principle applies to bottled water. Just rip the plastic and take what you need.
                                                
Supermarket trolleys are normally chained to one another at the front of the store. To unlock, insert a One Euro coin into the slot on the handle and the trolley will be released. When you have finished shopping, slide the cart back into the stack, insert the key back into the handle and your money will be refunded.
Personal rolling trolleys are popular among all age groups in Paris. Most Parisians still walk to their local store and the trolley enables them to move easily without struggling under the weight of several shopping bags. Remember to store your personal trolley at the front of the store with all the others and use the supermarket cart provided to peruse the aisles. Some apartment services even stock rolling trolleys in their apartments for guests to use.
                  
Yes, fruit and vegetables are actually a great find in French supermarkets. Feel free to fondle the produce. Everybody does it and nobody will look at you askance. If you don't partake in this traditional, the locals will think something is wrong with you! To purchase, take the amount you require and place into the supplied plastic bag. A weighing machine will be located nearby. Place your produce on the scale, locate the appropriate photo of the item, push the button and a label will be released stating weight and price. Fix the sticker to your bag and pay for the item at checkout.  
                                         
If you do not have a personal shopping trolley, bring a foldable tote sized nylon bag and use to pack your items. French supermarkets require you to pack your own bags. Some stores are starting to charge per plastic bag provided.
Self service checkouts are appearing in supermarkets across the city. They operate the same way as self service checkouts everywhere. They will be as annoying and temperamental in Paris as they are in New York, Sydney or Hong Kong.
 
                                                  
You will often find that larger supermarkets in Paris are built on two levels with large escalators/elevators providing easy movement for your carts. Many supermarkets offer eat in dining areas that are normally near the pre-packaged food counters at the front of the store. Good to know if you are in a rush and want to sit and eat something fast before moving onto somewhere better. You will almost always find a designated bread and pastry counter in French supermarkets. They are usually just inside the door to allow easy access. This is handy for a Sunday morning when some supermarkets are open until 13.00 or later
When you are ready to checkout, say a polite “Bonjour” and leave it at that. Stoicism is an art form in Paris. Checkout chicks like most Parisians do not smile easily at strangers and do not make light conversation either. Don't stress about it. It has practical purposes. Your items are whipped through the register with a minimum of fuss. Payment is usually cash but major credit cards are accepted. Always double check before you start shopping. 
                                                     
Finally, a word about queuing because orderly queuing is an alien concept in Paris. For example, at the bread counter, people do not stand in a line but rather spread across the counter in an anarchic fashion. Do not be alarmed. Take your place and keep an eagle eye on the people who saunter up after you. When it comes to your turn, make eye contact with the staff member and say clearly “C'est a moi”. Give your order without fussing, it is best to think of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi when doing this. The same principle applies. Hesitate for a second and somebody will push in , your order will be ignored and the opportunity is lost. If you do manage to get served, your change will not be placed into your hand but rather onto a small tray that will be located on the counter.
Supermarket hours in Paris are generally non stop Monday to Saturday 8.00 – 20.00 but as mentioned some are starting to open on Sundays until 13.00 or later. Hours and links have been provided in the directory to enable you to find exactly what you need.

Specific Supermarkets


Paris Store
You will find that prices tend to be lower than the major food stores in the city and the selection extensive in this Asian Hypermarket. Apart from stocking all types of noodles, tofu, pastes and rice, there is a large selection of asian fresh fruits as well.

Tang Freres
Tang Freres provide produce for some Paris's most popular asian restaurants. Apart from selling asian food and fresh produce, it also offers a new fast food joint in the 13th.
Monoprix
Monoprix is a value priced chain of stores that sell everything from food and homewares to clothing. Monop' is more like a superette (smaller supermarket). It functions as a smaller version of the larger store. Daily Monop stocks items for locals to make their own lunches during their work breaks.                                  
Picard
 
This store stocks high quality frozen food and meals. An excellent choice for visitors who can't be bothered to cook while on holiday but who wish to save money and eat in their holiday apartments from time to time.

Superettes
 
The best way of describing a Superette is smaller than a supermarket and larger than a corner shop (alimentation).Although as with all things, some superettes and alimentations are enormous. Many superettes are owned by larger companies such as Marks & Spencer Simply Food, 'Monop' , Franprix Nano and Coccimarket, while others are  independently operated.                                        
Hours vary but the superettes aligned wth larger commercial businesses open Mon-Sat:  8.00-21.00/22.00 Closing on Sunday. Independant operators normally have extended hours,which can vary according to the season and whether or not tourists are vacationing in the area
 

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