I have a mild obsession with street markets. I’ve found the most wonderful bargain clothing and the most delicious, affordable food at street markets in London, throughout the Netherlands and throughout Belgium. You can imagine my disappointment when Paris’ street markets didn’t stack up. The clothing isn’t great. The food isn’t a bargain. The street markets are still worth a visit in Paris for an addict like me, but I have been more impressed by the fromageries, boulangeries and charcuteries lining the city’s side streets.
Today, I heard about La Grande Epicere de Paris inside Le Bon Marche–a gourmet grocery inside a department store. It was time for Paris’ all-in-one-place food-buying scene to redeem itself. I took a 15-minute walk to the store and spent more than an hour inside. The store carries gourmet items, typically French foods and also foods from around the world–no doubt the expats’ uber-expensive go-to store when they need their Skippy peanut butter fix. I mostly gawked at the food items but also giggled at the prices.
For your entertainment, here are some of the prices I took note of:
€5.49 jar of pesto (I purchased the same-size jar at the grocery store around the corner from the house for €1.99.)
€6.50 box of Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix (the cheap kind at home)
€22.60/kilo pork roast (€10.27/pound–not labeled organic or otherwise)
€30 38-ounce bag of peanut butter M&M’s
€12.90 box of decorated sugar cubes
€2.30 wine in a can (the redneck’s way to drink wine?)
€3 spring roll (I saw spring rolls on my way home for €1.60 each in an Asian grocery store.)
€15 250 grams of truffle ravioli
€31.03 750-mL Swarovski-crystal-encrusted bottle of bling H2O mineral water
€12.72 six-pack of Corona
€42.20 700-mL bottle Woodford Reserve (my first Woodford sighting!)
I managed to escape the high-priced foodie heaven with just a bottle of coconut water and some chocolate-and-vanilla-infused crepes for €3.97, and that’s still a steep price for a backpacker’s snack.
If you’d like to waste a few more minutes of your day, it’s worth it to watch the store’s short video on its website. You can check out other items and prices there, too.