I love French supermarket shopping, and if left unchecked I do tend to go a little mad and fill le chariot with all manner of things which will languish unloved at the back of the cupboard.
My holiday is not complete if I do not whizz round at least 2 hypermarkets (E.Leclerc & Carrefour are my favourites) and another couple of smaller supermarkets. As well as the food I love the stationery – books of clear pockets are especially bargainous, silicon bakeware is amazingly cheap too.
Although we had a car in France we were travelling back to London from Ed’s parents’ house by public transport or I would have stocked up on wine too. I remember one trip many many years ago when we discovered that we could fit two cases of wine under each of the front seats of the then boyfriend’s Fiat Panda.
My top tips for a successful French supermarket stock up.
- Have a Euro coin handy for the trolley.
- Take your own bags – I have a stash of the large reusable ones – and have collected lots of Brittany themed ones – so much more enjoyable to use than ones from the UK supermarkets.
- Buy stuff as you see it, ranges vary hugely from chain to chain.
- Allow at least 90 minutes for a big shop on your last day before getting the ferry.
- Buy cheese on the last day – remember to take a cool bag and ice packs with you on holiday.
- Be aware of British prices, the days of giant packs of washing powder and razor blades being considerably cheaper are long gone.
- The regional produce aisle is well worth checking out and will have great quality items from small producers.
- I find the Reflets de France range from Carrefour is excellent, if you miss out Ocado now carry selected items.
- Make sure you have enough room in the car. It is a long way home if you end up with a case of wine on your lap!
Not pictured is French supermarket “basics” range cheeses, I always stock upon Emmental (€1.70 / 250g), Gruyere (€3.40 / 250g) and Comte (€3 / 200g).
Also worth consideration for inspiration are French food magazines and delightful themed mini cookbook (Ed, of course, buys all the French sailing magazines, which in turn allows me to buy more cookery magazine and books)