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Groceries by Internet

I think they’re new, because I’ve been seeing the ads for them everywhere in the past few months. You can bet that if I’d known I could buy my groceries over the internet back when I had my foot in a cast, I wouldn’t have been hobbling around in the local Franprix with a red basket stuffed beyond its limits.

Most Parisians take public transportation, and thus have to deal with the hassle of carrying home their groceries every week. It’s hard to buy in advance when you have to carry it all (you’ll see an amazing selection of personal wheeled shopping trolleys when visiting Paris), even harder when your tiny Parisian fridge won’t hold more than a week’s worth. Food delivery is a great concept—if it works. There are three that I’ve looked at so far: Ooshop, Telemarket, and. Houra.

Ooshop is a slow, if easy site to navigate. There are fresh groceries, dry goods, pet and baby products, and toiletries. Delivery is within 24 hours, from 5pm until 10pm during the week and from 9am until 2pm on Saturday. At the moment, they only deliver within Ile-de-France (Paris Metropolitan area) for 79ff, but will soon deliver throughout France. They claim to have the best prices, and of course, offer personalized accounts so you can keep track of what you’ve ordered each time, and reorder the same products.

Telemarket is another shopping delivery site, with a few extras to tempt the consumer, including iMac giveaways, first delivery for free, and the sale of Cartes Oranges, the metro/bus/RER passes. They have the same sort of selection of fresh, frozen, dry foods, toiletries, and household products. They don’t have as large of a selection as Ooshop, but they deliver the same day in the Paris region for only 47ff.

The last store I checked out was Houra, which has almost 10 times the number of products than Ooshop, no fresh foods, but with added selections for garden, hardware, electronics and appliances, stationary, sporting goods, toys and gifts. They also offer free giveaways such as Club Med vacations and flowers, and have fun little quizzes like, “Test Your Laziness Potential”. They deliver within 48 hours throughout France for 49ff.

If you’re one of those people that has to be in the store to shop for food, or if you don’t have access to the internet when you need it, you can usually shop for your groceries in any of the shops in Paris and have them delivered afterwards that day. Some places like Franprix or Marks & Spencer’s have a minimum of 500ff purchase for free delivery. That seems like a lot, but you could always stock up on frozen foods, bottled water, or that milk in a box that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opened.

Paris is not known for being convenient, so it’s good to take advantage of these little gems whenever you can. As the weather heats up and the sun finally allows us to spend the lazy Saturdays in the park, you’ll be glad not to be standing in long lines at your local Supermarché.

This article is one of the 78 original “Secrets of Paris” articles published between September 1999 and July 2004. After disappearing into the internet graveyard for almost 15 years, I’ve republished them in autumn 2019 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Secrets of Paris: “1999-2019: Twenty Years of the Secrets of Paris” Broken and dead links have been updated or deactivated, but otherwise the article remains unchanged. 

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