Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
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Daily LifeGrocery Shopping

French supermarkets are very much like those in the States. The layout is much the same: sections for fruit and vegetables, meat, diary products and so on. But there are some differences that might make you look like, well, a tourist.

Supermarkets are very rarely open on Sundays and major holidays and close between six and seven at night.

Shopping carts tend to be found in the parking lot of French supermarkets; to use one, you will need a one Euro coin. You will need the coin to unlatch the shopping cart; you get your coin back when you re-latch your cart. Click here to see photos of this process.

In France, fruit and vegetables purchased by the kilo (par kilo) are not weighed and priced at the cash register, you have to do it yourself. The scales in France are simple to read and use. You don't need to read French. Each button will have a drawing on it; all you need to do is push the one that corresponds to what is in your bag and it will print a ticket that you will stick on your bag. If you buy fruit or vegetables individually (à la piece), all you need to do is bag them and they will be priced when you get to the cash register.

You will need to bag your groceries yourself when you get to the cash register. You will not be given plastic bags, you need to have your own. If you don't have a bag you can buy your own for about €1.50. For payment, American credit cards will work or, of course, Euros. Remember, if you used a shopping cart to re-latch it where you got it from, so as the get back your one Euro coin.

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