All entries for July 2011

July 18, 2011

Food shopping…Parisian style

So here I am in not-so-sunny Paris. The sun has come and gone, but at least it's not raining. This, I think, is one of the perks of writing a thesis in the French Studies department- all the primary sources are right here. Since I arrived last night- Sundays in France are just terrible if you want to stock up on food shopping- I went to the shops this morning. My local supermarket is the suitably upmarket Monoprix. Unfortunately, it doesn't do what it says on the tin, and everything is not just one price, as I found out when I realised (having got home) that the handwash I bought was actually the most expensive item on the receipt- at a whacking ten Euros. Ten Euros for handwash?! It better be good, is all I can say.

There are, of course, benefits to doing a food shop in France. All the items that I used to love when I lived in Tours on my year abroad are readily available and much cheaper than you can get them in the U.K. I've got a huge chunk of comté for just under five Euros, a bottle of nice Chinon wine for six, and some Bonne Maman for 1 Euros 28- and I'm not talking your average strawberry version here. What surprised me most as I was going round the supermarket was how similar it has become to the British version. At one stage, a supermarket in France was an exotic experience- and with its extensive choice of meat and fish, it remains so to a certain extent. Yet the products on offer are starting to mirror the British choice more than at any other time I have visited a French supermarket. Discovery fajita mix, Patak's (of Wigan) curry paste, even Ainsley Harriot couscous were all on offer. I hasten to add that I bought none of these things- I'm trying to make my culinary experience as stereotypically French as possible, hence why I've purchased a string of onions to wear across my shoulder.

The shopping itself was pleasant enough, but I actually felt like I'd completed a 10k when I got back to the fourth floor flat. The flat is in a kind of mock Haussmannien building- it's not actually got the full seven floors- but the stairs were obviously designed to replicate traditional Paris blocks. Trying to lug three full bags of shopping (and a baguette) to the fourth floor was a bit of an effort.

Anyway, the point of my presence here is, of course, my research, so on that note I suppose I'd better go to the Archives Nationales. Or maybe I'll just nip to the boulangerie...

July 01, 2011

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