Discovering Hypermarches

I spent the last two weekend discovering a phenomenon no American will believe without seeing: grocery stores bigger than Walmart. They are called “hypermarches” in French and are essentially food jungles. Some, like Leclerc, contain water stations in case you can’t make it out without dying of dehydration. They contain aisle after aisle of all kinds of products, including at least two aisles devoted to cheese, four to wine and one to sausage. Register stations stretch the entire length of the storefront and, unlike Walmart, almost all of them are open. After our discovery of the first Leclerc it has become sort of our mission to find as many as we can. I have so far survived two Leclercs and a Carrefour and made it out with lunch and a box of tissues. Quite a feat when each contains every edible thing known to man and then some.

Saturday we began feeling a little homesick (okay we weren’t really) and decided to try Domino’s pizza for dinner. It was the most American thing I’ve done since I got here but it was just so good. I also tried to attend a hockey game, but the French lack of punctuality meant I had no idea when the game started and I ended up arriving at the end of one game then leaving before the one I wanted to watch started. Oh well, guess I have to try again next week.

Aside from my local discoveries, two friends and I took a Sunday train ride to the quiet town of Clisson last week. Clisson boasts a castle in ruins and a lovely public park. The town has a very mediterranean feel due to its red tile roofs and cream colored plaster. We had lunch in the park, strolled the town-wide garage sale (which seems to be a French tradition) and explored the castle ruins. The weather was excellent until the afternoon rain but all in all a wonderful day!

Some of my friends and I have also made it our goal to take every tram line all the way to the end just to say we have. Two down, six to go. I’ll try to keep you updated on the score.

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One thought on “Discovering Hypermarches

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  1. Ellen, I finally broke down and read this when I remembered about it. Usually I remember you have a blog and can see what you are up to at really random times when a computer is not available to me. It basically made me miss you even more reading all of this. But at the same time it was really really great. I love the way you write; this is so much fun to read and imagine what you are doing and experiencing in France. And you are correct, I almost don’t believe that there are stores bigger than Walmart ….except I remember the wholefoods store I went into in Texas being pretty ginormous. I will have to google hypermarches for sure. Sparkles and love ~ M

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