Saturday, 5 July 2014

My trip to the French supermarket

That's it, the holidays have started. After a 24 hours journey door-to-door (it takes less time to go to Mauritius!), we are finally at home, in Brittany.

Yesterday morning, I decided to go to the supermarket for a bit of shopping. I know that place, I've been there a million times before but yesterday felt a bit different.
First, I went to the bakery area, and I was like a child in a candy shop. There was so much choice I didn't even know what to buy. Should I buy croissants? pains au chocolat? almond croissants? almond pains au chocolat? Sweet bread? Brioche? ... Oh, my head was melting. I knew I also had to buy some bread. But which one? Will I get a plain baguette? a "Tradition"? a "Parisien" ? 

I started walking around the supermarket. It was definitely weird hearing people speak French. I even said "sorry" in English, to somebody I bumped into. On the subject of apologising, I found the shoppers quite rude to be honest. Or are the Irish over-apologetic? Everybody says sorry in Ireland, all the time, even if it's not their fault. And if you bump into someone, you can be sure the other party will reply by a "Not a bother" or "It's grand". This morning, a person I merely touched, but still apologised to (in French this time), just stared at me, said nothing and kept on going. 

Then, I tried to find some milk. In Ireland, everyone buy fresh milk (a reminiscence from the milkman I suppose) but not here. I was really confused at what kind of milk to buy, and again, there was too much choice.
The tea section was massive. The problem was I couldn't find "normal" tea. Lemon, forest fruits, berry, herbal tea you name it... but no black tea. I'm sure it's there but I was overwhelmed with so many different sorts I couldn't even find what I was looking for.
My smile came back in the alcohol aisle. I'm nearly Irish after all, and Breton people are also famous for their fondness for alcohol... Having said that, I'm not a big drinker, but I do enjoy a good "apero" (a few drinks before a meal). The selection of wine was amazing, and the prices, well, nothing compared to Ireland of course! 
I left the supermarket with almost everything I needed, and it was definitely cheaper than Ireland. 

This "experience" bears the question: Am I becoming a tourist in my own country? I usually don't feel that way at all, but that little trip to the supermarket was different. Hearing everybody speak French was strange (I was even thinking in English at some point). I was almost complaining I couldn't find what I usually buy in Tesco, when I should have just enjoyed all the variety of a typical French supermarket.

Maybe I just need a few days to adjust to all this Frenchness. After a few drinks and some cheese everything will be fine. Oh, and I'm drinking coffee again so I must be back on track already!