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The holiday season is upon us, and if you are spending this Christmas in France, then you find all sorts of new and exciting holiday dishes in the french supermarkets around you. This article will serve as a guide to the most popular and common dishes and foods served during the Christmas season in France, as well as where to buy them at different price points, in order to help you navigate, experience, and find all these food items. If you are looking to bring some of these treats home, this article can also serve as a guide for souvenir shopping for loved ones, or yourself, for the holiday season.
For more expert tips on enjoying a gastronomic experience in Paris, check out these free guides!
What to buy at French Supermarkets
1. foie gras
The famous popular delicacy of French cuisine, which means “fatty liver,” can be described as rich, buttery, and delicate. Foie gras is often sold whole or prepared into a mousse, parfait, or pâté and is generally served with steak or bread. While foie gras can be expensive, you can enjoy this delicacy on a budget by purchasing liver pâté or terrine.
France is known for its amazing cheeses and outstanding selection but this holiday season, expect to see certain cheeses that are popular in winter. Raclette and fondue Savoyarde are two very popular comfort foods in winter in France. You can easily find these at any French supermarket.
3. chocolate truffles
Chocolate truffles will also be making an appearance in French supermarkets this time of the year because of their amazing taste and their relation to the holiday season. While they share their name with the original truffle mushrooms, these chocolates do not typically contain real truffles, and instead are chocolate ganache coated in termpered chocolate. Generally dark chocolate, you can also find all sorts of flavors to try! If you are not a fan of chocolate, French supermarkets will also have family packs of Madeleines and even ready-made crème brulée which can make the perfect dessert.
4. marrons glacés
Chestnuts may be roasting on an open fire but in french supermarkets, they are candied and glazed! Marrons Glacés or candied chestnuts are a fantastic seasonal treat to either add as an ingredient to your favorite desserts or eat them on their own. If you really like chestnuts, creme de marrons is another popular French delicacy that can be served with toast, crepes, or with your morning croissant! While Marrons Glacés are generally sold in boxes or tin cans, you can find creme de marron in tubes.
Larger French supermarkets or high-end department stores will certainly have the well-known delicacy for celebrations this holiday season. Generally served on top of blinis, caviar is paired well with champagne. The price of caviar will depend on the type of fish it is from and if you are in search of a less expensive alternative, look for salmon roe instead.
6. alcohol and juice syrups
The apertif is a pre-dinner drink that is meant to stimulate your appetite and enhance your mood and is usually lighter, less sweet, and lower in alcohol than digestifs. French supermarkets will offer the necessary ingredients to make typical french aperitifs, such as Lillet, Suze, Ricard, Kir, and, of course, champagne. Juice syrups for cordials or mixed drinks can also easily be found at almost every french supermaket, including grenadine which is perfect for both non-drinkers and kids!
A popular dish to serve on Christmas Day, escargot, which means snail in French, is another delicacy that will be easy to find this holiday season. Escargot can often be found in the frozen section of French supermarkets in packs! While easy to prepare, check out the INSIDR guide on “Where to Find the Best Escargot in Paris,” if you want to have them prepared for you!
Where to go shopping
Top French Supermarkets
The best place to go shopping for the holiday treats listed above would be at the most popular and best french supermarkets! They’re all very easy to find. Monoprix, Carrefour City, and Picard have many locations all over Paris making it convenient and easy for you to find all the holiday treats you want and need. Monoprix and Carrefour City especially have large selections of fresh produce, drinks, and sweet treats while Picard is best for frozen goods, like escargot!
High-end department stores
If you are looking for a larger selection of wines, foie gras and caviar, a high-end department store like Lafayette Gourmet and La Grande Epicerie will have what you need. These department stores carry several brands from international, regional, and local producers. Lafayette Gourmet also has food stalls where you can enjoy lots of gourmet treats. Hitting up these department stores is definitely a treat for the senses.
35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009
La Grande Epicerie de Paris
38 Rue de Sèvres, 75007
80 Rue de Passy, 75016
Specialty food stores
If you are unable to find what you are looking for in the more popular French supermarkets, there are also specialty food stores across Paris that may be able to complete your grocery (or gift) list. G. Detou is a wholesale market where Parisian mothers and grandmothers frequently shop. They have all sorts of ingredients and canned goods! You’ll find sardines, foie gras, and terrines. All perfect for your recipes but also for bringing back home!
While there is only G. Detou, Comtesse du Barry is also another speciality french supermarket that has quite a few locations across Paris. Foie gras, caviar, and apertifs are only some of the decadent food items they offer. Hours of operation for Comtesse du Barry locations vary but their location inside the Carrousel du Louvre is open daily!
INSIDR Tip: Doing your souvenir shopping at Comtesse du Barry would be a great idea! Did you know that spending at least 50€ there gets you free specialty canned terrines? Just get your INSIDR voucher!
58 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday: 8:30am to 7pm
Comtesse du Barry (Carrousel du Louvre location)
99 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Hours of Operation:
Monday, Wednesday to Sunday: 10am to 8pm
Tuesday: 11am to 7pm
Christmas Shopping Practical Info
When will shops be open?
Monoprix Hours of Operation
Monday to Saturday: 9am to 10pm
Carrefour Hours of Operation
Monday to Saturday: 8:30am to 10pm
Sunday: 8:30am to 12:45pm
Lafayette Gourmet Hours of Operation
Monday to Saturday: 9:30am to 8:30pm
Sunday: 11am to 8pm
La Grande Epicerie Hours of Operation
Monday to Saturday: 8:30am to 9pm
Sunday: 9am to 8pm
Individual locations do vary so check your local french supermarket’s hours. These establishments will have normal business hours on Christmas Eve (December 24), but will be closed on Christmas Day (December 25), so make sure to finish your shopping before the big day!
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