Friday, 1 July 2011

Time for a supermarket update

(Pssst! If you don't want to read through all this,
just click here for a map of the nearest supermarkets,
then click on any symbol to get the opening hours)
Time for a supermarket update? Time for an update full stop, I would say.

The blog's been very quiet for the last three months, partly because Spring is our busiest time and partly - to be frank - because were weren't feeling very inspired. But enough about about us. We'll be fine. A few recent guests at the Great Apartment have asked me where the nearest supermarket is. I did an article about them all a couple of years back, but a lot has changed since then. For some reason a whole host of new supermarkets have sprung up recently.

Can people really be buying more food than they used to? I doubt it. However, one company, Casino, has been trying to take control by opening up stores wherever possible. They own four different supermarket chains, have a 60% share of the market, and out of the eight supermarkets near us, five belong to them.

One other belongs to the Carrefour group, who has a 20% share in Paris. That means that 75% of our local supermarkets belong to just two companies, which is probably why prices are so high.

The other recent evolution is in opening hours. It is now possible to shop from 7am until midnight at the various supermarkets in the area. I pity the poor people who have to work there, but if you need something late (or early) you'll always find somewhere open.
The worst place to work would be Carrefour City (formerly Shopi) at Arts et Métiers, open from 7am until 11pm every day except Sunday (9am - 1pm). I've never bought anything there, but it looks pretty modern. I though it was hilarious that the manager has won a "people's choice" award, hanging at the entrance, because one of the employees told me that it's awarded by Carrefour themselves. Talk about giving yourself a slap on the back.
If you want a Franprix supermarket, there are three to choose from, one of which only opened a few months ago (in place of an old bonneterie). Two of them are within 80 metres of each other, which is just ridiculous. They're not particularly hip, but they do have a decent range. For basic shopping, they'd probably be my choice.

While taking the photo of the one above, the manager came out and aggressively told me I didn't have the right to take photos of his shop, and asked me what it was for. You get this argument from time to time in Paris, as if you were a terrorist or some sort of industrial spy, and it really annoys me, especially when the person immediately starts shouting at you. So I told him that from the pavement I can take photos of whatever I like, and that it was none of his business why I was taking photos. Idiot.
Looking for somewhere slightly more select? The Monop' (mini Monoprix) opposite the Pompidou Centre has products you won't find in the other supermarkets, but the prices will be slightly higher. They're open until midnight, which can come in handy.

There's a much bigger branch of Monoprix at Réamur Sébastopol, spread over two floors, but it can get very, very busy at the checkout on the food floor upstairs. Their prices don't seem to deter people at all! Although nothing particularly special inside, it is housed in an amazing building that we've mentioned before...
You can read the article about the building here. Finally, I can recommend our local organic supermarket Lemo. It's part of a chain of organic stores, has a decent range and the prices aren't excessive. We buy quite a lot of stuff there for the apartment. They have reasonable opening hours (every day except Sunday from 10am - 8pm) and it's really close. Plus, they are super nice, which in this day and age is something to be encouraged :-)
So here's the map of the supermarkets nearest to the Great Apartment (or click here to see it bigger). Shop wisely, OK?