Buyers and Sellers
Every day, Anne-Marie's mother goes to the butcher, the baker and the greengrocer in her small town. Even in the big city, Veronique's mother often visits the small food shops to buy her groceries. Veronique goes to a small bookstore near her home to look for her books. Her father has his favourite brasserie (brah sa re'), or small restaurant, for lunch, and Anne-Marie's father often drops by a village cafe to have something to drink and talk to his friends. Both fathers buy their cigarettes and lottery tickets at a local tabac (ta bak'), or tobacco store.
Every town, city and village main street in France is lined with these small shops and restaurants. Sixty per cent of the food trade and 70 per cent of the retail trade goes to these businesses. French people like to be able to go to neighbourhood shops and cafes where they know the owner and the other customers. These small businesses are part of the French way of living.
Even so, more and more French people do at least some of their shopping at large stores. They say they are shopping a l'americaine. French supermarkets-called hypermarches-are the biggest in Europe. Some have 60 or 70 checkout counters. All the big cities have shopping centres with many stores of different types.
. Why do you think that more and more French people are shopping at supermarkets and large shopping centres?