French Language Blog

French Vocabulary: Shopping at the Supermarket Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Vocabulary

If you ever go to France one day, either for a visit, or to move in for work or studying, one of the things you will have to do on your own is buying food, from le supermarché (supermarket) or the local épicerie (food store.)

The first useful sentence you probably should learn is excusez-moi” (“excuse me”), followed by “avez-vous…?” (“do you have…?”), and then you say the name of the product or food you want to buy.

For example, if it’s le lait (milk), you would say: “avez-vous du lait?” (“do you have milk?”)

If you are looking for, say, tomatoes, you would say: “avez-vous de la tomate?

The first thing you probably want to use, when entering a supermarket, is either un caddie (a shopping cart), or just un panier (a basket), in case you plan to buy only a few items.

If you can’t find the shopping carts, you can politely ask: “Où sont les caddies, s’il vous plaît?” (“Where are the shopping carts, please?”)

Once inside, you can ask for a specific aisle: “Où est le rayon…?” (“Where is the…  aisle?”)

For example: “Où est le rayon fruits et légumes, s’il vous plaît?” (“Where is the fruits and vegetables aisle, please?”)

You will probably also have to remember how to say such things as “poisson frais” (“fresh fish”), “viande fraiche” (“fresh meat”), “le pain” (“bread”), “l’huile d’olive” (“olive oil”), “les œufs” (“eggs”), “les pommes” (“apples”), “les pommes de terre” (“potatoes”), “les surgelés” (“frozen food”), etc.

For more on fruits and vegetables see our posts:

Once you’re done with your shopping, the caissier or caissière (male or female cashier) would normally ask you: “Ce sera tout?” (“Would that be all?”)

If yes, then you will either have the option of paying avec du liquide (with cash) or par carte bancaire (with a bank card.)

The very first supermarket of France, built more than 60 years ago near the la vieille demeure (the old abode) of Napoleon Bonaparte (how fitting, indeed), at Rueil-Malmaison, in the West of Paris.

Notice that le présentateur is on the verge of ecstasy, as he describes how the initial entrepreneurs went on a “pèlerinage” (“pilgrimage”, no less) all the way to one of the Wal-Mart stores in the US in order to erect this “temple de la consommation” (“temple of consumption”, again, his own words.)

He also mentions how old people were afraid of using les chariots (another way to call shopping carts, besides “caddies“), and that very often accidents occurred within the aisles of the supermarket—due to shopping cart collisions!

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