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Paris area large supermarkets that worth visiting ?

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  • oferl Nov 16, 2011 12:22 AM

I know this question may seem weird with all the great street markets possibilities in the central Paris areas, but maybe there are truly good large supermarkets at more distant suburb areas worth exploring, that will give me opportunity to see the widest selection of produce and nation food condiments etc., and still will have wide varieties of artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, chocolate tablets, speciallity preserves etc. ? Maybe it is also possible to find there those "speciallity" produces in better prices?
Thanks !

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  1. While large hypermarches as Carrefours and Auchan have a Walmart appearance and gobs of good stuff, they do not offer the really artisanal items that a Gallery Lafayette and Bon Marche does with a large selection as well. The former are just outside the peripherique and available by metro but not easily. You should probably do both styles to see the differences. Today l am doing Auchan as well as Gal Lafayette.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Excellent, thanks. I assume that those places will not have the really "highend" artisanal offerings available at Lafayette and Bon Marche, but as long as it has an interesting wide range of products from all around France, i'm really curious to visit those places also.

    2. While I hate going to supermarkets here in France, as a cultural experience I love going to them when abroad.

      I know of two huge Auchan hypermarkets easily accesible by metro: One in the 4 Temps mall at La Défense, and another right near the Gallieni metro station in Bagnolet on the other side of Paris. Your choice will probably depend on where you're staying in Paris, but I prefer Bagnolet as it's nearer the métro and I find La Défense harrowing. Also the Bagnolet Auchan is near to the Porte de Montreuil flea market which is open on the weekends and mondays.

      4 Replies
      1. re: vielleanglaise

        "While I hate going to supermarkets here in France, as a cultural experience I love going to them when abroad."
        I hate to admit I also share this perversion.
        And La Défense itself is a violation of human rights.

        1. re: vielleanglaise

          Apart from of course the "culinary cultural" aspect, I have to admit my very very weak spot for supermarkets and especially "unknown" ones abroad - when i used to be younger, working months and long crazy hours abroad,wondering the isles of those places after a very long day, was like therapy before heading back "home" :-) I'm still pretty much addicted to this stuff. Thanks all for the info..

          1. re: oferl

            I'm with you, oferl -- my evening entertainment when traveling abroad was wandering a supermarket.

            1. re: sunshine842

              same here! actually...that's true even when I am at "home"

        2. You can also go to the Carrefour in the Place d'Italie.. I went for the first time a few weeks ago and nearly fainted at the aisle selling chocolate bars- my favorite 4pm snack at home. there were so many choices! Then I walked to the rue Monge which is not too far away - you can experience the mass and the class in the same trip..

          1. If you're headed out to the eastern suburbs (for Disney or the La Vallee Village "outlet" shopping) there's a massive Auchan hypermarket at the Val d'Europe stop on the RER-A, or a Carrefour Planete (the largest and newest Carrefour store format) about 5 minutes' walk from the Torcy station on the same RER-A line. (the Carrefour has been there for years; it was just converted to the Planete format as of November)

            1. Supermarkets are a treasure trove of inexpensive gifts to bring those who have never seen the inside of Dubois or tasted Bordier. They carry artisanal butters and cheeses, decent chocolate and confitures. Look for things that are ordinary in France but pricy here, like canned chestnuts or Lentils de Puy or tarbais beans. Most supermarkets have a fancy food section or local product aisle. I would think that close to Paris one might find a good selection of brie and coulommiers cheeses. Bring shopping bags because supermarkets do not (necessarily) give out bags, a fact learned humiliatingly in the country after we bought a dozen small packages and jars of stuff for a picnic.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mangeur

                In September in Beaune, we hit the local E. LeClec for goods to stock our gite. We knew about the no bags policy, but not about the shopping cart deposit. A couple of our group spread out to find carts and took empty ones near the front of the store. Whoa, they were besieged by the ladies who paid a 1 euro deposit for the carts. It took awhile to sort out, we didn't speak French. Kind of exciting at the time, now its part of our adventure.

              2. For an American, a giant hypermarche in the suburbs is a genuine tourist attraction. (For moi, anyway.) They do provide a good deal of cultural insights.

                Some seemingly have more aisles than their American counterparts. Yogurt takes up 2 aisles just by itself. Some of the service sections are magnificent, I've seen choucroute over in Alsace, and Cassoulet served in the Southwest! (Put in a container and weighed, of course).

                Then, the rollerblades the employees use to get around are a sight to see. Quite necessary and useful considering the vastness of the place.

                And then the whole sections of non foods, clothing, electronics and the like.

                A don't miss, as far as I'm concerned. My favorites are the Hyper Carrefours and the Hyper-U.

                2 Replies
                1. re: menton1

                  As I write earlier, I too visit super markets abroad. But in France and other European countires they wield huge power, often abusively.

                  Visiting a foreign supermarket is a bit like walking thorugh a red light district.in a town you don't know. It's exotic, instructive, but bad.

                  1. re: vielleanglaise

                    Dis donc.

                2. I am not a big fan of supermarkets in France. However, if you want something a bit different in Paris, try visiting the Jewish shopping street in the 19th. There is a pretty large supermarket,
                  Cash Cacher Réunis Naouri, 8 Avenue Corentin Cariou

                  The street is filled with other kosher and ethnic stores. Really fun to visit, whether you need anything or not. It is not overloaded with tourists like the rue des Rosiers in the Marais.

                  I have to throw in a story about Cash Cacher. There was a truly bizarre tourism poster there when I visited last year. In French it said: "Your dream of Passover in America." Pictured was one of the super garish hotels of Las Vegas.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: RandyB

                    In a similar vein, Occupy Wall Street became "Occupy La Défense" in Paris. La Défense? A depression-inducing office district where a large number of offices fail to be rented out? It's like Occupy Some New Jersey Warehouses.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      That is a wonderfully awful comparison, Parigi. You really had me laughing this morning, amidst 20cm of new snow surrounding my still under construction new house. (At least the roof, walls, and windows are in.) I look forward to spending a couple of weeks in Paris next month, whatever the weather.

                    2. re: RandyB

                      <I have to throw in a story about Cash Cacher. There was a truly bizarre tourism poster there when I visited last year. In French it said: "Your dream of Passover in America." Pictured was one of the super garish hotels of Las Vegas.>

                      ...and here I always thought it was "Next year in Jerusalem!

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        It was, before the travel agencies got involved.

                        Just to bring this back to food, I discovered Manischewitz matzoh ball mix at Cash Cacher. It actually makes decent matzoh balls. Better than I had several years ago at an expensive deli in the rue des Rosiers. Plus, you avoid the endless debates over the "proper" way to make "authentic" matzoh balls. Oi, gewalt.

                    3. A simple reply: the Okabé supermarket in Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, one métro/bus stop South of Porte d'Italie. A remarkably well-stocked branch of Auchan.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ptipois

                        haha, ptipois beat me to it

                      2. The Auchan at Kremlin Bicetre is really good, only one station outside of Paris on line 7, but make sure you take the Line 7 to Villejuif, not Mairie d'Ivry.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kerosundae

                          Thank you all for the advices, will check those places..