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Household shopping in France: paint, plants, and more

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

Are you now residing in France but are unsure of where you may get the many necessities of French culture? Find out with the assistance of our informative guide on shopping for home items in France.

If you've ever lived abroad, you'll know how difficult it can be to navigate the unfamiliar retail landscape of a new nation and find the stores that sell the items you need. However, although our guide to supermarkets in France may assist you in purchasing food, what about all of those other necessities for your new life in France?

It's possible that if you don't see the familiar brand names, you won't be able to figure out where the ideal spot is to buy sports apparel, wallpaper, or even the newest must-have toy for children. But there is no need to be concerned. This guide will give information on the following topics to assist you to understand shopping for home items in France:

Getting to know the French shopping culture

When people think of shopping in France, many of them picture themselves taking a basket and making their way to the daily market in their neighborhood. This is still something that happens daily in several French towns. In some places, on the other hand, you will want a little more local knowledge to find the necessary items. To your good fortune, all of the most important stores, bars, and cafes in French cities, towns, and villages are congregated in the central business district. Although this varies from town to town, especially in more remote locations, you should be able to pick up most of the essentials here.

In France, like in many other European nations, there is a growing number of shops that are located outside of the city itself and have bigger floor plans. These include supermarkets, as well as hardware shops, furniture merchants, and several other types of businesses. Although most of the inhabitants get there by car, there are often linkages to public transportation nearby. A surprising number of outlet malls modeled after those in the United States can also be found in northern France. In this area, you may choose from a variety of high-end and high-street brands, as well as food establishments.

When it comes to the hours during which stores are open for business, the French continue to be fairly traditional. During the week, stores will normally open at around 08:00 and remain open until 20:00. There is a possibility that certain businesses in big towns and cities may open later, although this is not the norm. Shops in cities, towns, and villages often shut for lunch, which typically lasts for two hours between the hours of 12:00 and 14:00. On Sundays, most businesses, including supermarkets, choose not to be open to the public. In more remote locations, many businesses continue to be closed on Monday as well. If you are unclear about the hours during which your neighborhood shop is open, it is in your best interest to check the business's website in advance.

Department stores

The French department shops, known as grands magasins, are the epitome of a memorable shopping trip. They have a huge selection of items, including the most recent high-end trends as well as a never-ending array of cosmetics and other beauty aids. After getting their fill of shopping, customers may unwind at one of the establishment's restaurants or cafes, which the majority of stores are required to offer. Some of these stores also sell kitchenware and other products for the house. In keeping with custom, these establishments are always placed in highly visible central city areas. However, several of these shops also have locations located in shopping towns located outside of the city.

Many international residents consider the opulent Parisian department shops to be the most illustrious examples of French department stores. The extravagant flagship locations of internationally renowned retailers such as Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché draw customers from all corners of the globe. Nevertheless, the capital city of France is also home to a considerable number of Printemps and Le BHV Marais outlets. La Grande Épicerie de Paris is another attraction that foodies won't want to miss when in the city.

Both Printemps and Galeries Lafayette have locations around the nation that are accessible from outside of Paris. These are often found in the capitals of several regions or departments, so do an internet search to identify the shop that is most convenient for you. Other department shops in France include Primark, which is known for its affordable clothing and other household goods. Keep your eyes out for some exciting new local shopping opportunities, since the United States is home to several independently owned department shops.

Clothes and accessories

A variety of clothing boutiques catering to men, women, and children's fashion may be found in the commercial districts of France's larger towns and cities. These districts are known as "centers commercials." Larger centers often have a greater concentration of well-known international fashion shops, such as H&M, Zara, Gap, and Mango, amongst many others. However, given that France is the birthplace of fashion, you can also discover a great number of local French chains and boutique fashion boutiques across the country's major cities as well as its smaller and more rural communities.

There is a large amount of variation in the selection of apparel and shoe shops in the various towns in France. You should go to the shopping village or regional center that is closest to you to have the most options available. You'll discover a wide variety of clothing and shoe stores here that are priced to cater to customers with varying budgets. Large cities, notably Paris and the elegant coastal communities along the French Riviera, are excellent places to shop for high-end apparel because of the sheer number of stores that are located there. Large stores located outside of towns and cities in France generally provide a surprisingly good assortment of clothing and accessories for sale at more reasonable prices.

Sports and leisure

Are you someone who enjoys spending time in nature? If you're thinking about making France your new home, then you're in luck. Expats who have more of an adventurous spirit will find that France as a whole offers a wide variety of exciting opportunities to spend time outdoors. You'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to activities in France, whether you want to go mountain climbing in the Alps or the Pyrenees or ride a bicycle across the nation like the pros in the Tour de France. However, before you get started, it is highly recommended that you visit the sports and leisure shop in your area to stock up on the finest equipment.

There are a large number of sports and athletic shops in France, which is a fortunate development considering the active lifestyles led by the local population. Decathlon and Go Sport are two of the most successful and well-known sports goods retailers in the nation. A variety of footwear, apparel for leisure activities, and sporting goods may be found at this location. There are shopping centers located both in the heart of the city as well as on the outskirts. In addition to that, there are local individual stores to be found offering a variety of things.

If you're a biker, it probably won't come as much of a surprise to learn that the city that hosts Le Tour has a healthy selection of bike stores to choose from. You may purchase bicycles and related equipment at the vast majority of Decathlon and Go Sports locations. On the other hand, if you want a more individualized buying experience, you may choose to visit one of the numerous independent bike stores that are located throughout France. Not only will you be able to get all you want for your next excursion, but you will also have the opportunity to inquire about local routes, clubs, and other relevant information.

DIY, home, and garden

Have you given any thought to sprucing up that run-down gite in Provence or that dingy flat in the heart of Toulouse that nobody ever uses? There is a vast selection of DIY shops (magasins de bricolage) to pick from in France; however, the majority of these businesses are situated in big outlets outside of the cities. Mr. Bricolage, Bricomarché, and Weldom are the three largest hardware retail chains operating throughout the country. On the other hand, you will most likely come across a large number of different names, such as local independent businesses and regional chains.

After giving your new house a facelift, the next logical step is to outfit it with furniture. IKEA is the largest furniture shop in Sweden, with over 30 locations around the nation. Other well-known Swedish furniture retailers include Fly, But, and Kare. On the other hand, if you want your house to have an authentic French country look, you should most likely go to an antique flea market in your area. These flea markets, known as brocantes, are very well-liked by both natives and foreigners living in the area, and they often provide excellent deals on furniture. You may search online to locate the grocery store that is most convenient for you.

If you like spending time in the garden, you should go to the French garden center that is closest to you so that you may stock up on plants, furniture, and other necessities for the outdoors. There are a few national chains of garden centers, such as Gamm Vert and Botanic, but the majority of garden centers in the United States are privately owned and operated by individuals.

Books, stationery, and entertainment

You may assume that France, which is home to authors such as Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, would have a lot of bookshops. And it does. There are various national bookshop chains in this country, such as Fnac and Furet du Nord. On the other hand, there are a significant number of independent stockists and vendors located throughout France. Galignani, Shakespeare & Company, and the ever-popular riverfront booths of les bouquinistes are a few of the English booksellers that you just must check out if you find yourself in the city of Paris.

If you are shopping for stationery, you will discover that the majority of bookshops have a respectable assortment of options. However, if you are shopping for stationery goods that are affordable while yet being of sufficient quality, your best chance is definitely to head to the French supermarket in your neighborhood. You may buy magazines and newspapers at roadside kiosks or in shops like Relay, which are often located at airports and train stations. Both of these types of establishments provide a wide variety of goods. Particularly in Paris, you may often see titles written in English.

Fnac is most likely going to be your best chance for satisfying all of your other entertainment requirements, whether you're looking for graphic novels, video games, vinyl records, or DVDs. On the other hand, the majority of supermarkets in France have a variety of items related to entertainment, which means that you may be able to pick things up together with your weekly groceries.

Electrical goods and gadgets

Do you need some cutting-edge electronics and home furnishings for your new house in France? Fortunately, acquiring items such as these is not too difficult in France, whether it be the most up-to-date gaming system or a brand-new jet washer. You may get a limited range of consumer electronics in Fnac, Grosbill, and even your neighborhood supermarket in France; these establishments often carry a few different brands. Additionally, Darty has major home equipment like refrigerators and washing machines in its inventory.

Many of the mobile phone service providers in France have their storefronts in the larger cities and towns where they operate. These stores sell mobile phones and accessories. You will be able to check out the newest mobile devices here, as well as sign up for a service plan or a SIM card. There are also locations of Apple and Samsung retail outlets in several of the larger cities. Read our acquiring a French mobile phone number guide for any further information you may want.

Health and beauty

Want to make the most of your new life in France, both in terms of how you look and how you feel? Then you will need to be familiar with the locations of the health and beauty businesses that are located closest to you. To begin, there is no equivalent to pharmacies in the United States that stock a wide variety of over-the-counter medications and are located in France. In contrast to supermarkets in a great number of other nations, those in France do not sell medicinal products. Instead, you will need to go to the drugstore that is most convenient for you. These may be found in surprisingly numerous places and are simple to spot because of the green indications they display.

You may shop for makeup and other personal care items at Marionnaud and Yves Rocher, in addition to the majority of the world's largest department shops and even certain grocery stores. In addition, France is home to locations of internationally renowned businesses like The Body Shop and Lush, which can be found all around the country. Look online or keep your eyes open when you're out and about in your new neighborhood in France to find independent health food and alternative medicine businesses. The vast majority of these establishments are privately owned.

Children’s clothes and toys

If you are traveling to France with children, you will need to be aware of where you can purchase children's clothing and toys. Thank goodness, most supermarkets and department shops in France, such as Primark, have a good selection of reasonably priced clothing for children. Nevertheless, you should be able to find a children's clothes store in the majority of the French towns that you visit with your young children.

Where can I get the program guide for the television? Find out with the help of our guide to television in France

PicWicToys has around sixty sites throughout the nation, and the majority of supermarkets in France provide a selection of games and toys that are suitable for children. Nonetheless, if you want to provide your children with a shopping excursion that will live long in their memories, you should take them to one of France's classic toy shops. In Paris, the 9th arrondissement is where you'll find the restaurant Pain D'épices. If you're in the neighborhood of Montpelier, take your guests to Pomme de Reinette, and if you're in Lyon, make a beeline for Les Jouets des Anges.



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