Shopping in France

Shopping for food is a delight in France. Supermarkets have good fresh produce, but step beyond their walls to enter a world of culinary excellence – from the local boulangerie offering fresh cooked bread + croissants for breakfast to the village boucherie with a choice of meats for the evening barbecue or the charcuterie for cooked meats/pates for your picnic.

Markets: one of the great pleasures of a holiday in France is browsing at the local markets. As you wander, your senses will be aroused with the perfume of herbs and spices….here you will find quality fruit and vegetables at excellent prices, you can find meat, bread and cheese….infact the perfect start to every holiday is to start it at the local Sunday market (remember supermarkets are often closed on a Sunday). Click here for our section on markets in France including information on where to find them and when they are open.

Local Shops: Most villages will have a boulangerie, a tabac and a boucherie. Again, like the supermarkets, lunchtime is observed. The boulangerie is an excellent place to buy your croissants for breakfast each morning (opening around 7am) as well as fresh bread and other delights (pain au chocolat, brioche and pain aux raisins).

Glossary of useful words for shopping in France:

la banque – bank
le boucherie – butchers
la boulangerie – bakers
le bureau de tabac – tobacconists, (also sells stamps, sometimes newspapers and often is part of the local bar)
le bureau de poste – post office
le centre commercial – shopping centre
la charcuterie – traditionally the pork butcher, but is more like our English delicatessen, selling cold meats, quiche, salads, pates– wonderful for buying a picnic.
le coiffeur / la coiffeuse – hairdressers
l’épicerie – grocery store
le marché – market
la patisserie – cakes/pastries (also sold at the bakers)
la pharmacie – chemists
la presse – newspapers/magazines
le supermarché – supermarket
le chariot – trolley
les bonbons – sweets
le beurre – butter
le fromage – cheese
le lait – milk
le sucre – sugar
un œuf – egg
le pain – bread
le poulet – chicken
le poulet fermier – free range chicken
la viande – meat
une tranche – a slice
le vin – wine
le café – coffee
le thé – tea
jus d’orange – orange juice
jus de pomme – apple juice
les allumettes – matches
un sac – bag
un timbre – a stamp
entrée – entrance
sortie – exit
sortie de secours – emergency exit
tirez – pull (on shop doors)
poussez – push (on shop doors)

Our favourite food and wine in France: