Food shopping in Paris: where to buy what
Food shopping in Paris is an absolute dream. With boulangeries, epiceries, boucheries and patisseries lining the streets, what would elsewhere just be a dull trip around the supermarket becomes vibrant, cultural and fun.
Because yes, restricting your food shopping in Paris to the supermarket would be nothing short of criminal. It may on occasion be cheaper, but sticking to Monoprix will mean you miss out on quality, culture and a very French experience.
We’ve listed our French foodie essentials, as well as the best places to buy them, below. Perfect for making food shopping in Paris fun!
The staple of the French diet, baguettes are bought daily in Paris, and never from a supermarket. Who dreams of bland sliced bread, when the rich aroma of freshly baked baguettes floats from the boulangerie next door?
You know it already: the French love their bread, and no self-respecting Francophile would buy bread from a supermarket whilst in Paris. No matter where you’re staying, there will be a boulangerie within a five minute radius.
If you’re really looking for quality, Paris by Mouth has an excellent list of Paris’ best bakeries by arrondissement. Or, head to the Délices du Palais in the 14th – the recent winner of Paris’ best baguette, and official supplier to the Elysées Palace.
Another staple of the French diet – and one that you won’t be able to resist whilst in Paris – is the croissant. And once again, it would be a crime to buy your morning croissants from a supermarket. Sold in bulk and usually wrapped in plastic, they have nothing on the fresh, flavoursome croissants you’ll find at boulangeries.
Paul is always a safe choice for consistently good gourmandaise, but my favourite place to buy croissants has to be Du Pain et des Idées, near the Canal St Martin. Selling not only fantastic croissants, this historic bakery has escargots (the pastry kind as opposed to that which you smother in garlic) in every flavour imaginable.
Admittedly, many Parisian supermarkets do have a decent cheese counter, but there’s something about a traditional French fromagerie that we can’t resist.
Learn everything you need to know about creating French cheese plate, and then head to your local cheese shop to pick up everything you need. You won’t find fresher, better cheese anywhere than in Paris, so stock up!
Cheese lasts, meaning that you can take it home either as a gift, or more likely as a gift to yourself: a lasting reminder to enjoy.
French for Foodies has a great list of places to buy cheese in Paris, and like us, strongly discourages cheating and buying from the supermarket! Although you will see Parisians picking up emmental rapé at Carrefour, anything more sophisticated will be reserved for the fromageries.
Many of the larger French supermarkets have an excellent selection of wine, and should you get the opportunity to travel outside the périphérique to an out-of-town supermarket, we probably wouldn’t discourage buying some cheap bottles to take home.
However, if you’re looking for something really spectacular, you should steer clear of the supermarkets, and especially the smaller ones found within the périphérique. They simply don’t have the shelf space to stock any range of quality wines.
Mad about Paris has some great advice for any wine aficionados looking to make some smart purchases, and any marchand de vin will have staff more than willing to help you out.
Paris by Mouth has a great guide to wine shops in Paris, so find the one closest to you, and go explore!
Buying meat in Paris is a treat, with boucheries offering top quality fresh produce, and local markets also offering excellent meat at hugely competitive prices – going to a supermarket isn’t remotely logical.
The Velib Blog has some great suggestions for boucheries to check out, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t add the Boucherie Sylvie et Olivier Donné.
Located at 70 rue du Commerce in the 15th arrondissement, it’s little known among tourists, and alongside a wide range of excellent quality fresh meat, it sells the best potato gratin we’ve ever tasted. Buy it alongside a freshly roasted chicken, and you’ll have a French meal to rival any gourmet restaurant.
Buying macarons may feel like a cliché, but they are dainty, and they are delicious, and they are perfectly Parisian. They’re a great gift to take home, and a favourite among Francophiles.
We have a list of highly recommended Parisian patisseries to start you off – with the added bonus that you’ll find more than just macarons to captivate you there. With some of the most beautiful cakes and pastries we’ve ever seen, these patisseries might as well be heaven. Paris by Mouth have also listed their top five macarons in Paris, or if you’d like to brave it and make your own, David Lebovitz has listed all the best websites for recipes and instruction.
Exotic French delicacies
By this, we mean the escargots, the confit du canard and the foie gras that are cheaper to buy and cook yourself than order in a restaurant. You will find these products in the supermarkets, and this is the best way to buy them if you’re planning on taking them home.
However, if you’re planning on whipping up some fine dining during your stay in Paris, there are many ways to get your hands on these food stuffs without having to visit Monoprix.
Have we missed any Parisian food essentials? Or is there anything that you would like us to add to our list?Image Credits:
1. Marchés parisiens by Claudius Dorenrof, via Flickr.
2. Croissants by Emily Carlin, via Flickr.
3. Cheese shop by Rupert Ganzer, via Flickr.
4. Charcuterie by Rowena, via Flickr.
5. Macaroons by Chris Wilkinson, via Flickr.