top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

Five things they don’t tell you about supermarkets in France

A lighthearted look at grocery shopping at the supermarché

Expect some differences in a French supermarket compared to your home country Pic: Alexandre Rotenberg / Shutterstock

1. La saison

Seasonal items include pillows, duvets and bed linen, which appear without fail every spring. The reason for this is unclear. 

Sauerkraut is also seasonal, being considered more sweet and tender at the end of August than at other times of the year. 

Yes, la choucroute nouvelle exists.

Naturellement.

Read more: ‘My videos help people find the best deals in French discount shops’

2. La caissière 

The cashier is there to scan your shopping and take your payment. 

They might smile, they might even exchange a few light-hearted remarks, but unless they are operating a blabla caisse (slower check-out where chit-chat is encouraged) do not expect social interaction as a matter of course. 

Et alors?

Read more: French supermarket tills where chit-chat is welcome grow in popularity

3. Les responsables

Each counter has specialised staff. Asking someone behind the butchery counter to slice your bread will not work. 

You need to go to the customer service desk and ask them to call the responsable of the boulangerie who has undergone training to operate the slicer. 

Je vous en prie! 

4. Le choix

Exotic foreign foods, such as baked beans and ginger nuts, have become widely available in French supermarkets but are segregated from ‘proper’ French foods. 

Do not look for marmalade on the shelf beside normal orange jam – you will find it on the international shelf alongside the Mexican taco kits. 

C’est logique!

Read more: Suggestions for French alternatives to popular British food

5. Les commandes

Either in person or by phone, you can order items in advance, such as six sliced loaves, a birthday cake, or a deboned and rolled leg of lamb for Easter. 

You can even reserve a large baker’s sack of leftover dry bread (only €5) to feed to your sheep. 

A bientôt!

Related articles

Five things they do not tell you about the bourgeoisie in France

Five things they don’t tell you about ‘les rosbifs’ (Brits) in France

Five tips for drinking better wine in France without spending more

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France