La Grande Épicerie de Paris (The Best Supermarket in Paris)

La Grande Épicerie de Paris is one of the best places to visit in the entire city. This isn’t just your everyday supermarket. It’s so amazing in fact, that I’d put it up there with the Sacré-Cœur and Sainte-Chapelle (oui, it’s that good). This gourmet grocery store makes me giddy just writing about it.

If you want to visit the best supermarket in Paris, you have to go to La Grande Epicerie for the experience of a lifetime.

exterior of La Grande Epicerie de Paris
La Grande Épicerie

History and Overview of La Grande Epicerie

La Grande Epicerie’s main supermarket is located in the 7th arrondissement, at 38 Rue de Sèvres, between the Eiffel Tower and Saint-Germain-des-Prés (one of the best areas in Paris). They are open seven days a week, making it easy to visit no matter when you are in Paris.

The store is approximately 3,000 square meters (about 32,000 sq. ft.) and includes four levels. Now that’s my kind of grocery store—one so big you could get lost in it for hours!

La Grande Epicerie de Paris originally opened in 1923, and I was fortunate enough to be there in 2023 when they celebrated their 100th anniversary. I discovered this store on my first trip several years ago, and it’s one of the places I always recommend to anyone asking me what they should do in Paris.

display in La Grande Epicerie for 100th anniversary

The Food Departments

As with most any French store, this supermarché is well-organized and divided into specialty sections, so you can find what you need. The store includes 17 food sections:

  1. Gourmet(luxury) – high-end food section, including foods such as caviar and foïe gras
  2. The Pâtisserie – where you can order and eat tarts, pavlova, and other French pastries
  3. Gourmet Bakery – including freshly baked baguettes, artisan breads, chouquettes, and more bread items
  4. La Fromagerie – featuring gourmet French and non-French cheeses and a fromager to help you select the right cheese
  5. Butcher & Rotisserie – Buy gourmet cuts of beef, steak, chicken, saucisson, and more.
  6. Wine Cellar – located in the “The Cave,” you’ll find wines, champagne, and other spirits as well as dedicated cellar masters who can help you select the right bottle
  7. La Poissonerie – this section is dedicated to gourmet seafood. Some are pre-packaged, and some can be selected, cut, and packaged on the spot.
  8. World foods – a variety of foods, condiments, and snacks from around the world
  9. Tea, Coffee, and Infusions – A variety of products from around the world for tea and coffee lovers
  10. Sweets Delicatessen – including chocolate, jam, cookies, biscuits, and more sweets than you can imagine
  11. Savory Delicatessen – featuring cold cuts of meat, charcuterie, and more
  12. Cuisine – where you can order prepared sandwiches, quiche, and other savory foods
  13. Fresh dairy section – including eggs (not refrigerated), butter, pre-packaged cheese, crême fraïche, and more
  14. Italian Food – dedicated to specialty foods from Italy
  15. World Cuisine – a section of the store that sells hot and cold foods ready to order. This is a great way to put a quick meal together without a kitchen.
  16. Drinks & Beers – This section includes a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  17. A fresh produce section that includes fruits and vegetables that look almost too good to eat
showing produce section and dried fruit at La Grande Epicerie

3 Pro Tips for Your Shopping Experience

When you enter La Grande Epicerie de Paris, a security guard will greet you. Once you are past the guard, you’ll step into the magical world of the Epicerie. Here are my best tips to help you navigate your supermarché experience.

Understand the Floor Levels

The numbering of floor levels is different in Paris (and in France). For example, the basement level is usually called éspace -1, the ground floor is called zéro or “0”, the second level is called étage 1, and the third floor is called étage 2.

The main level is considered “0,” so don’t get confused when someone tells you to go up to level 1 to find something.

Speak French

When you enter, say “Bonjour.” When you speak to anyone in the store who may be assisting you, always say Bonjour before anything else.

If you don’t know French, do your best to try even a little. Trying goes a long way when you interact with Parisians. Always say “Merci,” when they finish helping you. You can also say bonne journée, which means, “Have a nice day.” However, stick to Bonjour and Merci if that seems too intimidating.

Basic Words to Know for Shopping:
  • Bonjour = Hello
  • Merci = Thank you
  • La Caisse = Checkout
  • Carte de Crédit = Credit Card
  • Espèces = Cash

Join the Loyalty Program

I was so excited when the woman working at the caisse asked me if I wanted to sign up for their loyalty program, called Carte 24 Sèvres. She asked me if I lived in Paris (which totally made my day, because I was thrilled anyone would think that I fit in there!).

Even if you don’t live in Paris, you can still join the loyalty program. Signing up is free, and you get a card to use when you visit the supermarché or the Le Bon Marché department store next door. You can earn rewards and discounts to use as a frequent shopper.

If you are only going to Paris once, you can skip this. But if you intend to go back several times, get a card! It’s free, and it’s fun to feel like a local.

What to Buy at La Grande Épicerie

This supermarché is massive and sells over 30,000 items, so how do you know what to buy?

I can remember visiting the first time and feeling like there was so much I could buy, but I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, I learned to do research and found some of the best products to buy after my first trip. Here are my top recommendations, many of which are things I have actually bought there.

1. Salted Butter

The French are known for their love of butter, and I can attest to just how good the French brands taste. The butter feels luxurious, from the beautiful packaging to the various flavors. At La Grande Epicerie, look for “demi-sel beurre,” which is lightly salted. If you are feeling more adventurous, buy the “gris” sel (grey sea salt) variety, or the smoked salt (fumé) variety.

Several packages of French butter from La Grande Épicerie de Paris
My Favorite Brands of French Butter

The butter already comes wrapped, so as long as you pack it in your checked bag, it will be okay to take home. TSA says you can pack it in a carry-on, but I don’t like to take chances with something so precious.

2. Charcuterie Spread

When in Paris, a charcuterie spread is a must at least once! The perfect place to enjoy a charcuterie picnic is at the Champ De Mars by the Eiffel Tower or at Luxembourg Gardens. La Grande Epicerie is located between these two famous attractions, making it the perfect grocery store to shop on your way to either park.

Go to the fresh produce section for fruit, the fromagerie for cheese, and the charcuterie section for pre-packaged meats. Pick up some cute napkins, throw-away plates, and sparkling cider, and you have the perfect Paris picnic.

3. Chocolate

The chocolate section at La Grande Epicerie de Paris is the best grocery store chocolate you will find in Paris. If you want to bring chocolate bars home as gifts for friends and family, this is a great place to shop for high-quality chocolate that is much better than any Hershey’s bar you’ll find in the US.

I like buying a French brand like Chocolat Bonnat because it’s inexpensive and of good quality. You can also buy gourmet chocolate brands like Chapon, L’Eclair de Genie, and Angelina. If you want an impressive chocolate piece, buy something like this chocolate high heel!

image of chocolate high heel at La Grande Epicerie

Of course, if you are in search of the best chocolate in the city, you’ll want to visit a specialty shop or two. But for quality chocolate that won’t break the bank, buy chocolate bars at La Grande Epicerie.

4. Chocolate Mousse

At La Grande Epicerie, you can buy cute jars of chocolate mousse ready to eat! These jars of mousse are perfect for a picnic, or you can take a jar back to your hotel to enjoy later. Or better yet, buy a jar and a spoon, and eat it in Luxembourg Gardens (just a few minutes walk). This is luxury in a jar that isn’t too pricey.

5. French Salt

fleur de sel in a pretty white porcelain container from the brande, Les Terres Blanches, bought from La Grande Epicerie

On my second trip to Paris, I bought several containers of fleur de sel to bring home, and it was much cheaper than any fleur de sel I could buy online at the time. Fleur de sel is a special salt skimmed from the surface of the water in Brittany (northern region of France). This salt is perfectly delicate. Buy a jar, even if it’s small. You’ll find wonderful uses for it, like garnishing fish, salads, and chocolate desserts.

The Les Terres Blanches jar featured in the photo above is more expensive than some French brands, but I bought it partly as a decorative piece for my kitchen. You can definitely find less expensive brands of fleur de sel if you don’t want the pretty jar for display.

6. Spices

While the French don’t love spicy foods, they enjoy using aromatic and flavorful spices and herbs. French spices are definitely better quality that anything you’ll buy in the States. At La Grande Epicerie, I highly recommend buying Herbes de Provence, a staple in many French kitchens that is used for seasoning poultry and savory dishes.

7. Mustard

mustard section at La Grande Epicerie

The French also have a strong love and passion for la moutarde. Unlike many boring bottles of mustard you’ll find in the US, French mustard is an art form. Some mustards have more zing, zip, and spice, while others are mellow, so buy at least two different brands for a fun tasting comparison.

The top brands to buy include Maille, Amora, and Fallot. Make sure you wrap and pack it in your checked bag, as mustard is considered a “liquid.”

8. Tarts & Pastries

I am not referring to prepackaged tarts and pastries (forget about Swiss rolls and Twinkies when you’re in Paris). At La Grande Epicerie, order a fabulous tarte aux pommes, pavlova, raspberry tart, or St. Honoré pastry from their in-house pâtisserie.

tarte aux pommes at the patisserie at La Grande Epicerie de Paris

The last time I was there, I ordered two desserts, and it was a wonderful experience! You first order, and then you find a table and chairs where you can sit and eat your pastries while soaking in the atmosphere of the supermarché.

9. Jam

Oh, the jam! If you’ve ever had French jam or confiture, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s like an explosion of ripe summer fruit in your mouth. If you haven’t eaten French jam, then grab a jar at La Grande Epicerie. And if you have tasted their jam, there’s a good chance you’ll buy several jars.

jam section at La Grande Epicerie Paris

I like buying spreads such as jam in Paris because stores usually have original flavor combinations you can’t find at home. And French jam somehow tastes better. The French government regulates the use of harmful pesticides, which directly impact the quality of fruits and vegetables (but that’s a topic for another day).

10. Sandwiches à Emporter (To-Go)

I can speak from experience and tell you that it’s worth buying a sandwich to go at La Grande Epicerie if you have an early train ride or long flight the following day. The last thing you need to worry about is finding food at 5:30 a.m.

If your hotel room has a refrigerator, you can store a cold sandwich and take it with you the following day as you travel. The Epicerie has several good sandwiches to choose from, many of which are made with fresh baguettes.

Their to-go sandwiches are great for picnics, and they are a less expensive lunch option that doesn’t involve eating at a restaurant.

11. Foie Gras

Foie gras is an iconic French food, and it’s one you can find at most big grocery stores. If you have never tried foie gras, buy it and try it. While it might sound a bit unusual to some, this is a classic food in Parisian culture. Buy some as part of a picnic spread, or buy some to eat with crackers. Once you try it, you may never look back!

12. Advent Calendars

If you happen to go to Paris near Christmas (November-December), buy one of the fabulous advent calendars they sell at La Grande Epicerie to bring home! The art of the French advent calendar is unrivaled by anything in the States.

advent calendars in Paris

The most difficult part is narrowing your selection down to just one because they are all beautiful and filled with gourmet chocolates and candies. You can also find some advents with jams and other confections.

A Note About the Food Departments

My food recommendations above cater to people visiting Paris. If you live in Paris or will be there for an extended time, you can buy quality cuts of meat from the butcher or fresh fish from the poissonerie to cook at home.

So even though I’m not making recommendations from every department (because it’s not practical for visitors), walk through these other sections anyway! It’s fun to see the artisanship and craftsmanship of each department, even if you won’t buy food from them.

My Favorite Non-Food Item to Buy

If you have read my article about the best souvenirs in Paris, you’ll know that I love reusable shopping bags from Paris! I have two shopping bags from La Grande Epicerie, and I use them often. The bags are made using their iconic brown and black brand colors, and they hold up well for groceries and transporting other items.

two reusable shopping bags from la Grande Epicerie that are brown and black

The Epicerie updates their reusable bag designs periodically, so you may find something different from what is pictured here. The bags are affordable, pack flat, and can be reused over and over again. For me, a reusable shopping bag is the perfect item to buy in Paris because it’s a reminder of my time there.

Other Departments and Popups at La Grande Epicerie

In addition to the food departments, this gourmet supermarket has expanded its offerings over the years to include beautiful dishes, napkins, tablecloths, silverware, and other dinnerware items. You’ll find these items on the 2nd étage (3rd floor).

For short periods of time, pop-up exhibits and food artisans, like Edwart Chocolatier, are featured in the supermarché as well.

Restaurants and Dining

La Grande Epicerie also features eight restaurants or sit-down eating areas. You can order foods such as hot sandwiches at Le Petit Sandwicherie, pizza at UNO, and Japanese cuisine at TAFA. These restaurants are specific to the Rue de Sèvres location. There is also a second Epicerie in the 16th arrondissement, but it has different restaurants and offerings.

If you enjoy food in any way (so basically everyone), La Grande Epicerie has to be on your list of can’t-miss places in Paris. What keeps La Grande Epicerie on my list of “must-visit” places is that it gives you the feel of real Parisian life.

For just a moment, you feel like you’re blending into the Parisian culture as you shop for some of the best supermarket foods among the locals. And that is what Paris is about. Really experiencing the city and the places that make Paris, well, Paris.

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