03 July 2005

My Monoprix - grocery shopping in Paris

Monoprix is the primary grocery store in Montmartre. There is a smaller chain store called "ED." I don't know why a store is named ED, but I assume there is a good reason, and that's good enough for me. I had other issues to deal with at ED. I was thrown by the fact that I needed to insert a coin into the grocery cart's handle to free it from its lodging in the store's foyer. When I returned the cart to it's place and slammed it into the rest of the interlocked carts, my coin was dislodged. If I really wanted to steal a cart wouldn't I just take it and forfeit my 20-centime coin?

Monoprix is a bit like SuperTarget, but only one-twentieth the size. One can buy an iron and laundry soap upstairs, then go to the street level for a bathing suit and some toothpaste (la pate dentifrice) and then down to the basement for groceries. They cashiers are inefficient and nothing can be done about it.

They have everything you could possibly need. Dairy products are plentiful. The meat selection is marginal, though the case is clean and seemingly free of contaminates. The meat is presented with two small pieces per package, not a seven-pound ValuPak. I appreciate this.

You can buy a round loaf of bread downstairs, but if you want a baguette you have to go upstairs where the prepared foods are sold – closer to the street. Should you need frozen escargot, there are eight varieties. For the most part, I recognize all of the food groups, and most of the foods. I read the labels carefully...just in case.

The combination of foods is often surprising. I love butter. I love salami. But, I wouldn’t have dreamt they could join between two slices of bread and be called a sandwich. Salads (other than green salads) are problematic. I tend to buy the salad if I like at least two of the ingredients. There is always a superfluous ingredient that I don’t care for, or would not have thought to include. I had a nice carrot and broccoli salad with a light dressing, but I had to eat the corn that was mixed in. Things are always a bit off-the-mark. Eggs are often to blame.

Having the Monoprix close to my house was a blessing. It’s the only market nearby that sells milk. The Arab-on-the-corner, who operates a super-small shop near my house, doesn't sell milk. I suspect the government has divvied up grocery items and told certain merchants what they can and cannot sell. The fact that the baguettes cannot be sold downstairs with the other breads is highly suspicious. I don’t have the language skills to ask why things are the way they are...and I’m not sure I need to know.

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