French savoir vivre and gourmandise.
Paris is known for many types of food speciality stores: fromagerie, boulangerie, patisserie (see pics on earlier post), boucherie, charcuterie, poisonnerie, chocolaterie, fruits et legumes, fleurs.
All of them are fascinating, giving a real insight into French life and cooking culture, and we spent many hours exploring. Yes, there are also bigger supermarkets, but they seem to co-exist quite happily with the small speciality stores: generally, for those special items, most French people wouldn’t buy from the supermarket so those sections in the supermarket are not so well stocked (with the exception of the huge Grand Epicerie of Bon Marché and of the other grand grocers). The focus in French cooking is fresh, and the best ingredients you can find, and who better to advise than the specialist, especially if planning a dinner event?
Many French people still shop almost daily—small kitchens and fridges, plus it’s a social event (find out how the baker’s new baby is doing, for example).
Often these special stores are grouped together on the same street, making a kind of market street, such as Rue Cler, near Eiffel Tower; or Rue Montorgueil, near Les Halles; many in the Marais area.
I’m going to try and give a short description of each, plus pics, starting with CHEESE.