A French Seaside Market (Cheese and Crêpes included)

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In Saint-Michel, the holy trinity of food is the Super U—the medium-size supermarket is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. during the high season—the bakery and the weekly market. I spent my days going from one to another to feed up to ten people. I’m no martyr, though: I often volunteer for the shopping chore because going through the grocery list is entertaining. It gives me a chance to explore the aisles and stalls and rediscover products I haven’t seen in a while.

So I grab a giant grocery bag, a multiple lists and my bag and promise to come back with coffee (the stronger, the better), a loaf of bread (white and sliced), four zucchinis, ham, pâté, four yogurts (unsweetened), four crèmes (coffee or chocolate), rice, bananas, cheese, tomatoes… and do we need salted butter? Oh well, that will be for the next trip. There is only so much I can carry and the two-kilometer walk uphill is brutal.

I’d need a MBA in family management to improve our grocery shopping logistic. I’m not used to shop for that many people—let alone cook for a full table, but that’s not my job, ouf. At home, our shopping routine is pretty efficient. Feng, who is driving, brings back the heavy stuff and staple foods. I buy fresh ingredients almost every day. I usually know what we have left and what we need—keeping track of the fridge and pantry contents is a no brainer with “only” three mouths at home. If I buy four yogurts in the morning, it’s unlikely there will be none left by the evening unless Feng or Mark develops a sudden craving for vanilla yogurts.

But here, I find packs of cookies mysteriously empty when I feel like having one and I can never guestimate how much bread we actually need. It drives me crazy. I should have bought more, I shouldn’t have bought so much… It’s like filling the Danaides’ barrel.

I’m also pretty useless at the market because I’m not up to date with fruits and vegetables prices. In Canada, I know the average price of most common items, but in France I don’t have a clue. Bananas are expensive, but that’s the going rate. Green beans are cheap, especially considering they are sold by kilos and not pounds. Cheese is cheaper than in Canada but it’s not that cheap. And I’m amazed at how much charcuterie French eat—pork products are super popular, from ham and salami through pig ear to dozens of kinds of sausages!

Saint-Michel from the Unico supermarket

Saint-Michel from the Unico supermarket

Tharon's Market

Tharon’s Market

Beach towels at the market

Beach towels at the market

Cheese at Tharon's market

Cheese at Tharon’s market

Garlic at Tharon's market

Garlic at Tharon’s market

Cantaloupe at Tharon's market

Cantaloupes at Tharon’s market

Tomatoes at Tharon's Market

Tomatoes at Tharon’s Market

Eggs and pig products at Tharon's market

Eggs and pig products at Tharon’s market

Pig products at Tharon's market

Pig products at Tharon’s market

Pig products at Tharon's market

Pig products at Tharon’s market

Pig products at Tharon's market

Pig products at Tharon’s market

Sellers and buyers at Tharon's Market

Sellers and buyers at Tharon’s Market

Sellers and buyers at Tharon's Market

Sellers and buyers at Tharon’s Market

Wine at Tharon's Market

Wine at Tharon’s Market

Cheese at Tharon's Market

Cheese at Tharon’s Market

Mirabelle plums at Tharon's Market

Mirabelle plums at Tharon’s Market

Plums and figs at Tharon's Market

Plums and figs at Tharon’s Market

Crêpes to go at Tharon's Market

Crêpes to go at Tharon’s Market

Sweet crêpes at Tharon's Market

Sweet crêpes at Tharon’s Market

Kouign amann (Breton cake) at Tharon's Market

Kouign amann (Breton cake) at Tharon’s Market

Bread at Tharon's Market

Bread at Tharon’s Market

Croissants at Tharon's Market

Croissants at Tharon’s Market

Pies at Tharon's Market

Pies at Tharon’s Market

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

1 Comment

  1. OK, I can’t stop drooling now! I love going shopping (even here) since I enjoy browsing through the aisles of the supermarket. Like you though, I would have now idea what a “good price” is in France

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