I didn’t discover home grocery delivery until well into my first year in Paris. One day, I noticed a sign on the door of my corner market noting it would be closed for renovations for six weeks. So no more running down to the market for more milk, a missing ingredient, or simply dinner. Once I got over the shock, I pulled myself together, got out my French-English dictionary, headed to the bigger market some distance away, and signed up for home delivery. In the end, it was easier than I thought it would be and now I only wish I had taken the leap sooner.
Most supermarkets in Paris deliver for free if you buy over a certain amount. If you are single or a couple, you probably don’t buy enough stuff each week to reach that figure (see below) and given the limited storage space in many Paris apartments, you might be wondering where you would put it all if you did. But think about it for a minute. Between the staples (such as pasta, rice, flour, and toiletries), the bulky items (toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water), and the heavy stuff (laundry detergent, canned goods, and beer), you can usually ring up to the limit without much trouble. And even if it’s only once a month or once in a while, how liberating to simply walk away from the register at the end of your shopping trip! No shlepping a cart down the street or juggling bags or trudging up stairs or jamming into a miniscule elevator.
The details for each store vary but the themes are the same. Most stores advertise the amount for free delivery, usually between 70 and 100 euros. In the larger stores, you typically go to the customer service desk (accueil) to register, giving them your name, address (including floor and entrance codes) and your phone number. On subsequent trips, you may only need to give your phone number and name before you do your shopping. You will then get a piece of paper with a number or perhaps a computer generated form to give to the checker when you are finished shopping. In smaller stores, you may just have to tell the checker you will be doing home delivery and the process is much less formal.
Go about your shopping and then head for the checkout lines marked for home delivery (livraison à domicile). You will go through checkout as normal except that someone will load all your groceries into large plastic bins lined with plastic bags. If there’s something you’ll need immediately, just go ahead and put it in your own bag. And heads up: frozen foods cannot be delivered. But then you didn’t want that ice cream to melt, did you?
Most stores deliver within three hours. The van that comes to your door will not necessarily be marked with the name of the store as most markets contract out this service. But the fellows who handle the groceries will usually be uniformed or badged. They will bring the boxes into your apartment and unload them onto your kitchen floor or counter. A tip of one euro for each bin is always appreciated and to my way of thinking, well worth the price!
Thanks to Heidi Inder for sharing her delivery experience with me.