Monthly Archives: February 2016

Monoprix: The Parisians’ favorite store

Monoprix: The Parisians’ favorite store

When I fly home every year, friends ask: “What is your favorite Parisian store?” Dur, dur. Tough call. There are so many wonderful boutiques and department stores in Paris, it would be impossible to choose just one. One problem, when shopping in France, is that sales are a biannual event by law. It may be hard to find deals the rest of the year, even if many stores bend the rules by organizing des promotions or des ventes privées (private sales.) There is a chain store famous for offering real finds year round, and at affordable prices, Monoprix. The much beloved chain boasts over 200 locations in France, and is owned by the powerful Casino group. Other Casino stores include giant hypermarkets typically located in the suburbs, or less-than-glamorous but convenient neighborhood supermarkets like Franprix. Most are just stores; and that’s why Monoprix is special, and a success story. As a die-hard urbanite, I can only love a store that I can walk to, especially if it offers an irresistible combination of convenience (one-stop shopping) and fun. As I tell my friends before they visit Paris: “If your hotel or apartment is within walking distance of at least one Metro station and a Monoprix, jackpot!”

MonoprixFacade

What does one find chez Monoprix? Tout. Everything. Food. Wine (great selection, including Champagne.) Clothing (love the lingerie and socks!) Toiletries (le Petit Marseillais shower soap, and any product in the Monoprix line.) Make up. Books. Music. Postcards. Gifts. Housewares, and more. Not all Monoprix stores are created equal. They vary in size, appearance, and selection. Parisians always have a favorite boulangerie, café terrace, and a favorite Monoprix. C’est comme ça.

Storage in my American apartment is limited; and I have to pace myself when shopping in France. So I purchase smaller, easy-to-pack items. Monoprix fits the bill, in more ways than one. I always find something there.

Elle Make up
Fun make-up line by ELLE
LACE WEDDING DRESSES UK
The old-fashioned “filet à provisions.”

My favorite department? Easy. L’Alimentation (Food.) Les Yaourts et desserts. This is the stuff French expats’ dreams are made of.

Things I leave behind

Danette

Mamie Nova 2

La Fermière

That’s not all. Discoveries await in every aisle au Monoprix. The toughest decision: Should I get these for myself, or for friends?

Les Parisiennes Confiture
Très Parisian jams
The Tatin
Tarte Tatin flavored tea? Count me in!
Piment d'Espelette
A taste of the Basque country
Rillettes
A taste of Gascony

You may ask, “Do you do all your shopping au Monoprix, then?” Mais non. There are so many boutiques in Paris, and so little time. Redingote-style coats were popular, for men and women, this winter.

shopping evening gowns
See? 

In a small boutique near la Place des Ternes (17th arr.) I found mine; and I have been wearing it a lot since I returned to Seattle.

Boutique Ternes

Redingote
Le manteau

The French love fine paper and fine pens. I must be French. For Christmas, I treated myself to a brand-new agenda; and I found it in a very elegant boutique in the 17th arrondissement, le Stylo d’Or. This is the kind of place where people return year after year, where the sales person calls regular customers by their last name. Beautiful products, impeccably presented. We are in Paris, ya’all! Love these dresses so much, some of the prom gown from instyledress.co.uk.  Some other come from foxgown.com

Le stylo d'Or

Agenda Mignon

I also went vintage-card hunting while exploring the Left Bank with relatives. Cards, vintage or not, make such wonderful gifts, or decor for my apartment or office at home.

Bucci News
This small shop has “fun” written all over it!
Cards
My nephew and sister-in-law showing off their special finds, Marché Louis Lépine, Ile de la Cité

Is that all? Of course not. There are many things I could not bring home with me. Too expensive, too big, too heavy. Still, le lèche-vitrine (window browsing) is a great Parisian pastime.

Eiffel Tower Lamp
Can’t get enough of la Tour Eiffel
La Grande Vadrouille
Who recognizes these guys, spotted in a puppet shop on Ile St Louis?
fromage
Award-winning Brie de Meaux. That big wheel would never make it across the border.

 

A bientôt.

J'aime Paris souvenirs

51 Responses to Monoprix: The Parisians’ favorite store

  1. Monop is always my first destination in France! I head straight for the skincare aisle and stock up. Love just browsing in there…

    I’ve bookmarked this to make a point to visit le stylo d’or when we’re in Paris this summer. (We’ll be there for les soldes, which should be interesting.

    Thanks for sharing these.

    • You’re welcome, Susan. Life would be drab, indeed, without Monoprix! 🙂 One thing I have always loved getting there is “l’eau micellaire” my favorite make-up remover. They have several brands, including Barbara Gould. They make very affordable alternatives to my favorite brand, Caudalie, which is a lot pricier. I can’t understand, for the life of me, why “l’eau micellaire” has only just popped up on the shelves at my local Target over the last few months, after all these years. Now I see it everywhere. Ah, marketing…

    • I just returned from Paris on Labor Day and I miss the Monoprix!! Wow, definitely my favorite store! I was visiting with my son & daughter in law who are living in Paris and my first day the took me to Monoprix and I was hooked! To say they carry clothing along with food does not give enough credit to the high quality of all items found there! Give me a Monoprix!

  2. We were very lucky to discover the Monoprix 2 blocks from our apartment in the Le Marais. I loved all the new things to try there and while I was trying to speak French, the checker was delighted to try to speak English! We shopped there several times during our stay. We love to explore grocery stores when we travel to new places!

    • I am like you Stephany. I have always enjoyed visiting grocery stores when I travel. I remember my first visit to an American-size supermarket, Kroger’s I believe, over thirty years ago. I could not believe the size of the cereal aisle. This was before cereal became popular for breakfast in France as well. 😉 Are you referring to le Monoprix located on la rue de Rivoli, near St Paul? If that’s the one, I used to go several times a week as a grad school student. My university was right around the corner. Memories…

  3. LOVE the Monoprix in Chartres, where I’ve gone a number of times. I helped facilitate pilgrimage groups. We used to have receptions catered at a high end hotel until we realized that what was in Monoprix was better, and far less expensive. I bought a pair of socks there and I wish I had bought more than several. They were all time favorites and I never found anything even close. I love the clear photigraphs of the dairy shelves… All those yaourts… (Is this a word where the circonflexe would be removed? I always forget, so just as well we don’t need to remember any more).

  4. I love your blogs–always wonderful memories of France. I invite you to check out my website, pronouncingfrench.com; my love for France shows up as helping English speakers overcome their difficulties in sounding French. I would love to have your feedback. Merci

  5. For some reason, I just saw this post. I love it. Monoprix was one of my husband’s favorite stores in France (well, mine also). We would walk there every evening for a bottle of wine. I wanted to buy everything. I also loved the Buci News. They were so kind there. I saw something in the window I wanted to buy for a friend, and the clerk couldn’t find it in the store, so he climbed into the window to get it for me. I love the postcards from Paris. Oh my, I could go on and on. I always love your posts and your facebook posts! Thank you! Jane

  6. Bonjour,
    Felicitations pour votre blog qui fait honneur à la “french way of life”.
    Le concept Monoprix est à mon avis, un des meilleurs endroits pour trouver des produits divers, de qualité et à prix corrects. Tout specialement les produits alimentaires sous label “Monoprix Gourmet”.
    Une valeur sûre.
    Bonne journée !

  7. I have just discovered our local Monoprix, despite having lived in France for years! I have parked outside it many times and always walked straight past, that was until our 15 year old daughter told me I must go in, she had been introduced to the store by a friend. I loved it! What a find, the last time I remember going in a Monoprix was in Paris some 20 years ago!

    • Bonjour Susan. I bet the Monoprix you visited is very different from the one you saw in Paris 20 years ago. This was just about the time the chain changed their image and started becoming “trendy.” Glad you have one nearby. Their stores are not the cheapest, but they are so convenient; and so fun, n’est-ce-pas?

  8. I enjoyed your post on Monoprix. I also used to like the Prisunic (owned by Le Printemps stores,) which were a lot like the Monoprix, then Monoprix bought them out. I have been in so many Monoprix in Paris – I like the one on the Champs-Elysees, and the one near Ternes, about the one near le Square du Temple or Republique? And the one near St Paul when we rented a studio there. I will also go often to the one in the street between Les Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps – they have a good selection. I like to buy “gants de toilette” which I call “mains.” I have never gotten used to American wash cloths and can’t use them to wash – I always carry my gants de toilette.

  9. Oh Man! I can taste the yogurts! I was in a Monoprix 2 years ago. Nice pictures. It’s time for me to go back to S. France. I’m so over do!! I have (kind of) a French post up. You should check it out V. =)

  10. You know, this wonderful article begs the question, how do I get big stuff home, to the U.S. ?
    I’ve done research, asked French friends, read online and looked at the FedEx website, but no real answer.
    La Poste used to have a fixed price box to pack and mail home, but no longer I think.
    What about the rug, the beautiful piece of furniture, and so forth, I can’t live without, but will not go on the plane ? Help please…..do I just need to find a Fed Ex in France ? Most of my “finds” are in rural France anyway, and the seller doesn’t ship.

    • I feel your pain, Gary. The good news: La Poste still sells the fixed priced box to pack and mail home. My family uses this to send me care packages on a regular basis. The bad news: Only small items fit inside it. I have no idea how to ship rugs and bigger things to France. I am guessing antique sellers do, however, since most of their clients ship back to the US. I would approach an antique seller specializing in French items here in the US and ask them how they bring the goodies over here. Sorry, not much help, but I have learned to live without “big” French items because of shipping costs over the last 20 years. Merci de votre visite !

  11. Ah oui! Monoprix is always the first outing when arriving in France. A great selection of cheeses, wines and familiar delicacies to get us through the first two days of jet-lag. Ne pas oublier La Carte!

  12. When I was going to school in Paris, many years ago, I became homesick as Thanksgiving approached. I was determined to find all the items I needed to make an authentic T-day meal. In my local Monoprix (which featured a loudspeaker with the sound of car brakes squealing and an excited voice saying, “Freins–sur les prix!!!”) I found cranberries which, wonder of wonders, had been imported from the USA. Not only that, they were from my hometown–Wilmington, MA. I was in heaven and have shopped at Monoprix during every subsequent visit to Paris. I make a pilgrimage to the one in St. Germain des Prés. Two days ago I wore a lovely shirt I bought there during my last visit. You can only imagine how delighted I am to have read your article. In your honor, tomorrow I am going to wear a pair of sox I also bought there, so I can walk around all day feeling very Parisian. Mille fois merci!

    • Bienvenue Michaël. What a wonderful message! So glad you once found a small piece of “home” at Monoprix. It truly is a special place. Thank you for wearing your French socks in my honor. I am flattered 🙂 Bon weekend!

  13. I leave for Paris, again, in the next couple of weeks and cannot wait to go to Monoprix again. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. By chance do you remember where you took the picture with the mason jar and Eiffel tower? My niece is obsessed with Paris and I would love to find that to bring back for her.

    • Bonjour Rachel. The photo was taken in a side street near la Place des Ternes, in the 17th arrondissement. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the street. I am certain you can find similar items all over Paris, especially as we get closer to the Holiday season. Bon voyage!

  14. I will be going to Paris in 2 weeks and I will be sure to drop in and take a look around. Sounds like my kind of store.

  15. Which is the best/biggest Monoprix to visit in Paris that has clothing and homewares? All the Monoprix we have been to have only had food.

    • Thank you for your visit Rachel. If the Monoprix you visited only had food, they must have been “Monop” stores (There are more of them, and they are typically smaller, catering to the needs of travelers in train stations for example, or working professionals.) There is a large Monoprix store on the Champs-Elysées you can visit, and most neighborhoods have similar versions, even if not all are created equal. Rue St Antoine near le Marais is also a good one. Bonne chance!

  16. Is it possible to ship things from Paris home if I want to buy souvenirs but don’t have the luggage space? Any advice helps!

    Also, on another topic, if my hotel in Paris offers laundry services, is this a good way to save on packing space? (Wear the outfits twice on a two week trip?)

    • Hello Melanie. You can purchase a pre-paid Colissimo box from the French post office. The largest size can fit up to 7kg and will cost under $50. As for doing laundry in a hotel, sure, why not? It’s expensive, but so is flying to Europe, right? 😉

Leave a reply