Food is an important part of the French culture and eating is an important part of a trip to France. But if you want to have a different experience when traveling in France, you can have a tour of the French grocery stores where the local food habits are laid bare.
Generally, French people visit the grocery stores more frequently than people of any other country. The main reasons for this are the preference for fresh products, social aspects, use of smaller refrigerators, etc. Besides, busy life also takes over. Therefore, people often choose to buy French groceries online.
In France, there are many grocery stores available of different sizes. The inner cities include mini-supermarkets that are ideal for picking some emergency items or a quick lunch. Apart from that, there are hypermarches, which carry a complete range of food items. So, when it comes to shopping in a French grocery store, here are some things you must keep in consideration:
1. Avoid visiting the grocery stores on Saturday afternoons: Unless you prefer highly trafficked parking lots and lines at the register, then don’t head out to the grocery store on Saturday afternoons. So, if you need to visit a grocery store on Saturday, then visit the smaller stores.
2. Learn the operation hours of the local grocery stores: The majority of the French grocery stores open at 8.30 or 9 am and close by 7.30 or 8 pm. And most stores are
closed on Sundays. So, plan the grocery shopping accordingly.
3. Bring the bags: Apart from the big cities like Paris, grocery bags in France are not free. The majority of the shoppers visit these stores with plastic or canvas reusable bags to haul their groceries home. You must do the same when visiting a store to get the French food delivered. Using less plastic bags is also good for the environment. And if you want to go a bit French style, then opt for a little granny cart.
4. Carry a token or one-euro coin for the shopping cart: When you decide to use a shopping cart, always bring a token or one-euro coin to release your cart from the locked cart chain. You would get the coin back after returning and locking back the cart.
5. Get the loyalty card: Sign up for the loyalty cards of the grocery stores like The French Grocer to get the best deal on products. Although in some cases you can have some on- the-spot discounts, the majority of these cards work by accumulating discounts or points as the credit to use later.
6. Eggs and milk are available in general counters: Although in other countries, eggs and milk are generally found in the refrigerated sections of the grocery stores, in France, you will find them in the general aisle. The reason behind it is that eggs in France are differently processed than in any other country. So, it is very safe to leave them at room temperature. For milk, the unopened UHT (ultra-high temperature) milk is stored at room temperature because of the way the milk is processed and packaged. In some cases, some variants of milk are also available in the refrigerated section.
7. Carry your cash or chip card: This is an obvious and important step. Carry enough cash or your card with you to pay for the items you want to buy.
8. Weigh the bought items properly before registering: In some French grocery stores, you need to weigh all the products and then have to print the price sticker on the bag before registering. Remember that the cashier will not do it for you.