My favorite place to shop while abroad is the grocery store or supermarche. From picking up bottled water, to snacks and local foods and drinks, we always find something to buy at the local grocer. When we don't feel like eating a full meal, it's a great place to stop and pick up a picnic lunch all in one stop although sometimes it's more fun to go to the individual cheese, meat, bakery if you have the time.
We popped into several on this trip, Monoprix which has a food hall in addition to other goods. We stopped at a Franprix near our hotel, it was even open on Sunday which most of them aren't. Others to look for include Carrefour and G20. Many of them are closed on Sunday so if you are staying in an apartment, you should check out their hours and make sure what days they are open.
Monoprix is everywhere. It is a local supermarket chain that sells local produce and foodstuff to imported items, clothings, etc.
However, not all Monoprix are the same. Some sells households items and doesn't sell clothing and comestics.
Across the hotel from my hotel stay at Hotel du Lion, there's a Monoprix store that sells foodstuff, fruits, household stuffs, drinks, etc but doesn't have any clothing or comestic stuff.
Prices of items here are cheaper compared to what you would buy from other food and drinks outlets in tourist spots.
I guess this is where the locals do their shopping as I don't see much tourist in the supermart.
What to buy: Nestle's Cuppacino
some good stores in Paris
many stores in the big cities of France
OTHER STORES (i.e. Foire aux vins) Hypemarches:
FOR THE BREAD
What to buy: WINES, CHEES and BREAD , just for a dinner
What to pay: Good wine for 10-20 Euros
Monoprix is all over France and when you simply want to get a list of things quickly and inexpensively, it's a great store. You could compare it to Target stores in the USA.
We often rent a small house or apartment for a week to a month and they are usually Sat. to Sat. rentals. This means we arrive late Saturday afternoon, need supplies and stores are guaranteed to be closed Sunday. Ergo, we head for the nearest Monoprix. It was also useful when my husband absentmindly put toothpaste, shampoo and shaving cream in his carryon and had them all confiscated by airport security. Monoprix (in Nice) took care of him.
Forget your alarm clock? Pick one up at Monoprix.
What to buy: It is a department store that includes nearly everything. Need towels? Need milk? Need a light jacket? Need chocolate . . . well, perhaps not need it! Monoprix is your store. You can get paper to write home, cheese for dinner, extra underwear or socks, slacks, drawing supplies . . . everything.
You will not find designer brands here but things are very French and in good taste . . . and in the case of food, tastes good. It's a fun store and very useful.
Find a Monoprix near you at http://www.monoprix.fr/trouver-mon-magasin.html
What to pay: Depends on what you buy but you can count on very competitive prices.
What to buy: Monoprix also has absolutely wonderful talcum powder. My baby is long since grown up, but I use Cadum talc (also wonderfully labeled in Flemish as "talkpoeder"). This terrific Belgian product seems to be a Monoprix exclusive, but I pick up several shakers every time I'm in Paris. It's silky in texture, and very discreetly perfumed. I like it much better than American baby powders or heavily-scented cosmetic talcs.
I love going to supermarkets when I'm overseas. I find the selection and marketing of food in different countries to be interesting and I'm all about trying new things.
Monoprix stores are a chain and can be found all over the city. They also sell liquor, beauty products and souvenir type candy.
What to buy: I bought chocolate to bring home and some beautiful smelling and packaged soap bars to give away.
I had to snap a photo of one of the bottles of a what sounds like a sickeningly sweet liquer named "Girl". Just thought it was funny...
As mentioned Monoprix is very reasonable
What to buy: My sister sent me to the Bon Marche to buy Le Salinier de Camargue-Fleur de Sel a wonderful salt. I bought 5 packages at nearly 6 Euros each.... at Monoprix and Franprix the same salt was 2.80 Euros.... I noticed that all the spices were much more reasonable... these are great gifts to bring home.
Yes it's a chain, but don't turn up your nose at this discount department/grocery store with locations all over Paris. Especially not if you want to know how Parisians really live and/or you are traveling on a budget. The first thing to know is that they sell just about anything you might need, from foie gras to makeup to lightbulbs to handbags, and it's priced along the lines of a Wallmart or Target store in the U.S. But with wine, cheese and foie gras. This is where a lot of real Parisians do most of their grocery shopping and you should locate the one nearest you if you need some little grocery or drug store item. The pharmacies that you see all over Paris, marked by a green neon cross, provide excellent one-on-one service and are the place to turn if you have a minor medical problem or need a prescription, but Monoprix is the place for shampoo and feminine products. It is also one of the few places where you will find a broad selection of practical household products in one place (cleaning products, tableware and cooking utensils for example). The grocery store (usually in the basement) is useful if you want to shop for dinner a l'Americain. That is, in one place instead of by trekking from one (charming and very worthwhile) specialty store to another. And if you spot an adorable and inexpensive pair of ballet flats on the way out, all the better.
What to buy: Groceries, personal care items, "emergency" clothing (sweater, scarf, hat, rain gear), household items. If you want to bring back a cool souvenir for a neat freak at home, pick up a bottle of Maison Verte Thym-Basilic dish washing liquid. It's a "green" product and will fill the kitchen with the scent of fresh cut herbs every time you do the dishes. Maybe not your traditional souvenir of Paris, but it's not something you find in the U.S. and I'm addicted to the stuff. Just remember to pack it in your check-through luggage.
What to pay: This is one of the less expensive stores in Paris
We found a Monoprix on the Champs -Elysees of all placesl! We didn't have long to shop but found some great children's clothing at very reasonable prices. You can also find just about anything else you might need, including wine. A great place to go if you forgot your toothbrush or you luggage got lost. We had read that the Monoprix has surprisingly good quality for the price. They were right.
Monoprix is an inexpensive department store that has many locations throughout Paris (see website below). You'll find anything you'd need to stock up on grocery supplies during your stay in Paris: water, yogurt, cheese, wine, soda. If you're on a budget, then this is definitely THE place to shop!
What to buy: I shopped at the Monoprix Sebastopol at 95, bd Sebastopol in the 2nd arrondissement. Picked up some really cute baby clothes for my niece: a top for 12euro, matching bottoms for 12.90euro as well as the matching cardigan at 14.90euro. Also picked up some:
Fleur de Sel (2.90€ a piece)
tapenade (3.62euro for 100 gr)
3 mustards by Edmond Fallot (Verte a l'Estragon, Cassis de Dijon, & Dijon au Vin Blanc - 3.35€)
Terrine de Canard à l'Armagnac (2.39euro for 200 gr)
These I purchased as inexpensive gifts for friends back home or for cool French items for the home. Another gift item was some funky striped leggings (7.90euro a piece).
I also noticed cute inexpensive journals & calendar books that would be perfect for teenage girls. If it's raining this is a great place to pick up a fabulous Frenchy umbrella!
A friend also pointed out to me Bourjois cosmetics, an inexpensive line by Chanel. Another friend, who performs on stage, says the face powder is the best he's used; it doesn't run when he sweats under stage lights - good news for all of us, right ladies?!
When my bags didn't show up for the first couple of days this past trip, a friend ran out and bought me some almond-scented shampoo & ylang ylang shower gel (this last I have GOT to some more of!).
What to pay: Typical French food items that you'd love to take back home for friends and family and normally MUCH less than what you'd expect to pay for the same items in the US, including wine, eau de vie for 1/2 the price of what I'd pay in the states (10-15€), fleur de sel, tapenade, and pâté.
Photos: February 2006 & November 2007
LIDL is a German discount supermarket chain with about 20 stores in Paris. LIDL's are often crowded and have limited selections compared to a larger Monoprix. On the other hand....great $$$ SAVINGS. Ex. LIDL's Freeway brand diet cola was so good it won our blind test against diet Coke. And LIDL sold FIVE 2 liter Freeways for the price of ONE 1.5 Liter DIET COKE. Similar quality imported smoked salmon sold for about $20 per pound at Monoprix and just $7 per pound at LIDL. Fresh eggs for 50% less and 50% to 70% less on fresh fruit and many other items.
We leased an owner occupied (except for Summer months) apartment and sure enough the couple had many LIDL bags in the kitchen. Later, in Barcelona we started seeing more and more LIDL bags bearing the colorful LIDL logo.
This is the LIDL store locator page for Paris: http://www.lidl.fr/fr/home.nsf/pages/i.home
We go to Monoprix as our local grocery store, but its actually more than a grocery store. To me, it reminds me of a nicer, smaller Wal-mart... maybe more in line with a small Target. They sell personal items like shampoo, deoderant, etc. and they also sell clothes for the whole family, kitchen items, toys, jewelry, outdoor furniture, etc. The one nearest us is actually a smaller version, but if I walk about 15 minutes I can get to a larger one that has A LOT more selection.
What to buy: Anything and everything
What to pay: I spend at least 40 euros every time I go
What's Monoprix, you ask?
Well, it's something like a very small SuperTarget, and there's at least one in every neighborhood.
Usually, upstairs will be clothing, cosmetics and household goods.
Downstairs is the grocery.
Why is it so fun to shop in supermarkets in another country?
I don't know, but I suggest you try it.
Bring home supermarket gifts for your friends – jams, chocolates, tapenades, body wash, dijon mustard and
even grilled red peppers – I promise they'll love them! Prices here are cheap compared to the USA.
Other supermarkets to try:
Franprix/Leader Price (the cheapest by far)and this chain stocks hard to find oatmeal, spices, American peanut butter
and a good assortment of ethnic foods, Shopi, ATAC and Champion.
Some store locations in each chain are better or larger than others, so don't be shy and take a peak in several.
What to buy: If I am going to the USA, I will take food stuffs that are excellent and cheap in France.
1.Dijion mustard here is dirt cheap and expensive in the USA.
2.I love to purchase prune, walnut, and hazelnut vinegars which I cannot find in Manhattan.
3. The cheeses here are very inexpensive compared to prices in the USA.
I loved the Monoprix on the Champs d'Elysse. I stayed at an apartment by the Arc d'Triumph and found it very convenient to do my shopping there before I went home. The packaged foods in Paris were very very good quality and not only tasted great, but were conveniently sized for a single serving. I got some deli choucoutte items (sausage, saurkraut) (because I really like that Alsace taste), fresh bread and so forth. Because I had a 6 floor climb to my apartment, I didn't really have the energy to go out and go shopping at the fresh food stalls (maybe next time if I get a lower floor or elevator in my apartment building). Monoprix also had a nice selection of cheeses for a little grocery store. Very affordable for me on my Oh, the media giant just laid me off on the way to the airport budget. Vive le Monoprix!
A visit to Monoprix can solve many of life's problems at a reasonable price.
What to buy: Monoprix has a diverse selection of goods. It is a bit like the U.S. store called SuperTarget, but only a fraction of the size. At Monoprix, one can buy an iron and laundry soap upstairs, then go to the street level for a bathing suit and some toothpaste (la pate dentifrice) or diapers. Then it's down to the basement for groceries.
If you're a tourist, Monoprix is great! You can buy prepared foods from their refrigerated case. Here you'll find sandwiches, salads, juice, soda, salads, yogurt, etc. At the Place Blanche location the prepared foods are kept near the boulangerie. This means you can step inside and quickly buy what you need. Pack your backpack with snacks and enjoy them later at a park or monument....or hotel room. (Alcohol is sold downstairs.)
Dairy products are plentiful. The meat selection is marginal, but the meat case is clean and seemingly free of contaminates. I like that! The meat is packaged in small quantities, often with two small pieces in each film-wrapped package. This is better than making the investment in a seven-pound "Value Pack" that would never fit in a tiny fridge.
What to pay: Very economical. Buy food here, skip restaurants and save tons of money.