As much fun as open-air markets are, I must confess: I really love the supermarkets. It's kind of a guilty pleasure of mine.
When you walk in, they feel slightly familiar to your regular supermarket at home. Yet, different!
Depending on the neighborhood where the supermarket is located, the prices can be bargain or not so much of a bargain! In theory, the closer you are to the center of the city, the more expensive. Even if you're on a budget, it's fun to roam around a more expensive ones like Les Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marche.
I've always found the Monoprix to be my favorite. Monoprix includes clothes, housewares, cosmetics etc., usually on a different floor. The smaller FranPrix can be found all around too - they are more like a small, neighborhood grocery store. Each have their own store brands which include high quality products and even organics (Bio).
There are other grocery stores too. For a good list of them, click here.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Unlike here in the States, you must bag your own groceries. Even though I know this, I still forget the first time and end up standing in a daze while the groceries pile up, often snapping out of it just as the deluge of the next customer's items start coming my way!
France works hard to be green so you will either have to ask for the cheap-o plastic bags or buy their nicer reusable tote bags. I like these because they make really great souvenirs.
As with most things in France, the grocery stores are closed on Sundays - so plan ahead.
You can find smaller groceries open on Sundays, though, especially
in more ethnic neighborhoods.
SMALLER GROCERY STORES
These are the independent grocers you'll see as you walk down the street. Crates of fruits and vegetables sit on the sidewalk, inside you'll find a very crowded store with the basics like dairy goods, soap, packaged meats, tinned goods.
Often these are run by immigrants so you'll find really cool things, including clothes, cooking implements, etc.
They are very good in a pinch - like on Sunday. But they are definitely going to be more expensive.