My French neighbor Evelyne (my "greeter" while I'm staying at Haven in Paris) knew I would be in this neighborhood for a while and offered to take me to the market to teach me how to shop. It seems a little silly that she would need to teach an adult how to grocery shop but its done so differently here. I gratefully accepted the offer. Evelyne has lived here for decades so she knows all the shop keepers and was the perfect guide. I went out the next day with Paul and gave him the same tour and he took a few photos.
Some of the highlights were:
-The spice store. I've never seen anything like it. The entire store was big baskets and vats of hundreds of different kinds of raw spices. Most I didn't even recognize because I've only seen them crushed and packaged. I asked the shoplady if I could take photos and she said "yes but only one." Unforunately I'm not sure this photo captured the essence of the place. Imagine all these spices times six, it really is incredible and makes me want to experiment with all of them.
-The Produce Market. The produce is really fantastic. We got the Sicilian oranges that are in season and so flavorful. I've never tasted anything so orange-y. Evelyne was clear to point out what was in season and turned her nose up at anything out of season. I love that.
-The Cheese Store. It is where you buy your cheese, eggs, and cream. Those bowls in the picture are different kinds of fresh creme and they fill up the container for you right there.
-The Butcher. I don't have any pictures of the Butcher but they have every kind of meat you can imagine and its all beautifully laid out.
-The Flower Shop. There is a floral shop on every street. And they seem to be much cheaper than in the States. It's so easy to have fresh flowers all the time because they are so accessible.
All of these places are within 2-3 blocks of each other. (And 2 blocks from our apartment.) People in France grocery shop every day. It is so easy I can see why. You just pop in, get your food and get out. We've been shopping like this the last week and sort of feel like we've discovered the secret to happiness. It is a luxury to have such fresh food every day. We eat a warm baguette every night with our dinner that we bought five minutes before. We are just cooking simple recipes but the ingredients are such good quality that every night feels like a special meal. The other thing is that our children are eating so much better here. Moses is usually my picky kid but he has been so into choosing the vegetables (since we go everyday) that he has been eating them in large amounts.