Day 51 - Grocery Heaven

The Shoe Mission

A worn out shoe is what it took for us to discover this gem of a grocery store right here in Nimes! 

It wasn't exactly the worn out shoe itself that brought us here, but rather a series of events that followed the need to replace said shoe. 

Kian's sneakers that we bought at The Shoe Zone in Westport, Ireland were really falling apart, and he started to complain about his feet hurting. The kid did climb a mountain and walk almost everyday for over a month wearing them.  On top of that, they were only 7 Euro to begin with. Time to buy him a new pair of sneakers. 

We headed out to our new favorite shopping spot (the same place where we found the toy store), which we discovered is called Carre Sud Nimes.  On our last trip, we had seen several shoe stores and had made a mental note to return if we needed any shoes; however at the time we weren't expecting that to be so soon.

Both kids ended up getting new sneakers. Hannah's shoes from "The Jersey", as she refers to New Jersey, were also in really bad shape.  Thankfully all shoes were at discounted prices... Hurray for our wallets!

 Hannah got 2 pairs, her purple shoes were practically free and Kian's reds were 50% off :) 

Hannah got 2 pairs, her purple shoes were practically free and Kian's reds were 50% off :) 

With the shoe mission accomplished, we headed back to the car to go to our favorite grocery store, Lidl, but plans quickly changed gears.

Grocery Heaven

Around one of the many "round-abouts" you have to drive through in this part of France, we decided to ignore the GPS and take a different exit.  As part of the same complex, there is a large shopping complex called Geant, and we decided to check it out instead of Lidl.

 Geant Casino Grocery Store

Geant Casino Grocery Store

We not only discovered a small mall that made us think of "The Jersey", but we also found a grocery store with an incredible amount of variety. 

This place is huge... US style huge

Admittedly, we were a bit overwhelmed by the size of the store.  Think Costco, but without buying in bulk.  We had to be careful and make sure we stayed true to our list (more or less). Though this store also has a good selection of toys and clothes and home decorations, the grocery section is what grabbed our attention the most. They have all the French brands we have seen here, but what was especially nice for any US expats and long-term tourists is that they also have a large section of American brands, albeit at a cost. 

We had fun walking around and exploring for almost 2 hours, and I think the best part was when we walked by the fish market section and Kian said, "Yikes! They have their eyes!"

I am really glad we have discovered this store.  I am sure we will visit it at least one more time before we leave. 

Tricky European shopping carts

Another interesting grocery topic I think worth sharing in this post is that so far in Europe we have yet to see the parking lot of a grocery store with any stray carts left around. Want to know why? Every grocery store has the shopping carts chained together.  There is a small key that interlocks with the lock pad of the cart behind it.  When you need a cart, you are required to either insert a 50 cent, 1 Euro, or in some places a 2 Euro coin in the lock pad to release the key, and only then can you pull your cart out. 

 Shopping Cart System

Shopping Cart System

Want your money back? Once you are all done shopping and putting your bags in your car, you can return the shopping cart, insert the key from the shopping cart in the front in the lock pad, and ta da, you get your coin back.

So if you plan to grocery shop in Europe (Ireland and France for sure), don't forget to bring a few coins along, or you won't have a cart!