Carrefour (Kar-Fewr) is a French “Hyperstore” chain which resembles the American version of Walmart. The first Carrefour appeared in France in 1960; now, Carrefour is the 2nd largest retailer in the world with over 9,500 locations dispersed around Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. Around half of those locations (4,500) can be found in France alone!
In French the word Carrefour means “crossroads” or “intersection”. It all makes sense because you practically can find one at every turn in France! Imagine if Walmart followed a similar path here in the U.S?
Carrefour, la qualité pour tous
It’s funny because you can tell that Carrefour is a French company. The cheese section of Carrefour will blow your socks off, offering a large selection of French cheese for the picking. The bread at Carrefour isn’t necessarily bad, however, the ease of finding better quality bread for a few extra centimes only make Carrefour a convenience option (i.e, you could just buy the bread at Carrefour and save yourself a trip elsewhere). Carrefour’s bakery also makes crêpes, pains au chocolat, and fresh baguettes! Carrefour offers tons of reasonable wines, an extremely large selection of fresh produce, and wide variety of chocolates.
In the hyperstores and superstores you can also find a large amount of French books for a good price (I now have an entire French library grace à Carrefour). They also sell things like cooking utensils, school stuff, clothing, toiletries, and MUCH more.
If you want a true French Experience in France, visit the local boulangerie.
Unlike Walmart, Carrefour has several sizes of stores, which, allows them to dominate even the small streets of Paris with smaller stores known as Carrefour City. I also find Carrefour Markets in the smaller villages and towns. It’s really sad because I’m sure that low key boulangers (bread makers) and other small time shops are losing business to Carrefour. During my stays in France, I truly enjoyed going to each individual specialty shop and purchasing quality products… although I always had another option. It was as if Carrefour was looming right in front of me moaning “convenience”.
Another thing I realized?
Carrefour City, for example, is open every day from 7 AM to 11 PM. That is almost unheard of in France, but since there are always teenagers looking for jobs, Carrefour is able to operate at hours of the day when a typical French proprietor would close. According to Le Figaro, Carrefour city targets urban Frenchies who prefer to shop in small quantities or those who dislike traveling outside of the city to shop for groceries.
The Benefits of Carrefour:
- They offers a ton of products for a very low price.
- The “Carrefour Discount” products (store brand) are a great value, similar to WalMart.
- Convenient. To many, it just makes sense to do all your shopping at one location.
- OPERATES AT TIMES when many French businesses are still closed.
- Offers thousands of jobs. However I cannot speak for the many businesses they probably stomped out.
Are there any Carrefour-free French towns left? Do you see any problems with Carrefour? Do you like to shop are Walmart (Wal-Mart) here in the United States? Share your thoughts or experiences below.