In Paris, grocery shopping is anything but a chore.
In my first career as a culinary instructor, cookbook author and nutritionist, most of my clients in the U.S. viewed food shopping as just another item on their dreaded to-do list, something to just “get over with”.
These same clients, several of whom have had me arrange the Paris trip of their dreams, had a completely different experience of gathering their grocery goods when in the City of Light.
Food in Paris, in all of France for that matter, is not just something that provides your body with fuel. Non.
In fact, eating great food for pleasure is one of the guiding doctrines of French culture.
Although there are plenty of pre-prepared foods requiring no cooking available in Paris today, if you’ve ever been elbow-to-elbow with other shoppers at a French food market, you know that shopping for raw ingredients to prepare your own meal is an enjoyable daily ritual among the French.
As an annual summer resident who resides in a Parisian apartment, the seemingly mundane errand of having to replace an empty butter dish in with a fresh block of creamy goodness in Paris is, for me, as exciting as visiting the Louvre.
Even if you’re staying at a hotel, or your trip to Paris is only for a few days, you can still reap the benefits of visiting a Paris food store.
Packaged foods make the best gifts and there is also no rule that says you can’t open a tin of foie gras in your hotel room to enjoy as a midnight snack. So, in keeping with my Paris Made for You travel philosophy of finding and uncovering the best hidden spots for my clients, this article is not about the usual food market suspects others have written about many times over (think Monoprix, La Grand Epicerie, Fauchon, Hediard, Carrefour, Galeries LaFayette).
Instead, I’m going to take you to three very special, less addressed, but completely magical places for you to visit.
I’m now opening my Black Book for you and must say that the emporiums of Causses, G.Detou and Epices Roellinger are shops to add to your own address book. Here’s more about each:
Tucked away in a corner position on rue Notre Dame de Lorette in the non-touristy 9th arrondissement, I ended up discovering this little charmer of a grocery store in a quest to find lavender yogurt.
One day several years ago in Paris, I was having drinks with a friend at our favorite Parisian wine bar, when she mentioned she found the most glorious lavender-centered creamy vanilla yogurt. She showed me the little pot of goodness and it instantly became a need, not a want.
Dashing off to this wonderful atelier, I entered a spot that was at once intimate and cozy but also has beautiful soaring ceilings and big industrial bay windows – and one of the friendliest staffs in town.
Every summer the kitchen shelves of my Paris apartment get fully stocked with wares from this convivial store. Who needs the Monoprix or Carrefour, when Causses sources locally from independent producers.
Everything is here – fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats, nuts, oils, coffee, olives and a well-stocked wine cellar.
And yes, lavender yogurt too.
45 rue Notre Dame de Lorette, 75009
Hours of operation: Mon-Sat 10-9:30
There are many reasons people to want to move to Paris. Mine is for G. Detou.
While I get to enjoy every summer in the city, I’ve added this store to the growing list of why a permanent move might be in my future.
Crammed to the hilt with goods, it may, at first glance, look like a very cramped store. But thankfully everything is so well organized that there is nothing you can’t find (although that fact does tatter the wallet a bit!).
Front and center stage, is everything a serious baker could want.
This store carries a bountiful array of chocolate from every conceivable producer, including Michel Cluizel, Valrhona, Voisin, Weiss and so many more.
And if the sheer numbers of producers doesn’t impress you, then maybe the 3- to 5-kilo sacks of chocolate bars for baking will!
What I love most is the selection of nuts. There is literally a full wall of the crunchy morsels; and the whole gang is here – pistachios, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, pecans and more. A nut-lovers paradise.
Besides the ingredients needed for the baker in you, make sure to stroll past the sugary stuff to discover the wonderful selection of oils, olives, tinned fishes and mustards. It’s enough to make this savory food lover swoon.
Last time I was in the shop, I was also intrigued by the hand peeled, glass-jarred fruit produced in Gascony.
Beautifully displayed like a row of jewels, I wouldn’t be upset if the fresh fruit in Paris had a bad season, as I could easily stick my fork into one of these juicy pots and have the taste of freshness on my tongue in seconds.
Oui, every year the reasons to move to Paris become stronger and G. Detou might occupy the number one spot very soon.
58 rue Tiquetonne, 75002
Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 8:30-6:30
In a city that is charmingly perplexing, Paris truly surprised me one day as I was lunching on rue Saint Anne, a street known for its Asian noodle restaurants.
Little did I know that this interesting rue contained a treasure that I would visit each and every year since.
Epices Roellinger, the family owned spice shop is truly “heaven scent” – in fact, to say it’s just a spice shop is to do a big disservice to its owners.
This is an emporium. A den of exotic aromas not easily found elsewhere.
To begin with, there isn’t just one type of vanilla bean for sale here. No, there are twelve. Even more, the accommodating staff will take the time to explain the differences between each of them.
There are spice blends under the Roellinger that are labeled according to how you might use them, as well as spice mixtures meant solely to sprinkle into hot chocolate and for use over strawberries.
There are also an array of salts, mustards, oils and vinegars to use in conjunction with every spice Roellinger has to sell.
The shop reminds me a bit of a Paris perfumery, and why not?
The aromas are heady and, actually, I never mind smelling like nutmeg flower, lemon zest or cinnamon as I carry out my spice haul for the summer season.
51 bis rue Saint- Anne, 75001
Hours of operation: Tuesday to Saturday, 10-7:30