Herbs like sage and thyme in misty grocery store

Vegetables in the Mist (Katie Wells)

Does the Perrier taste better in France? Yes, yes it does and there are more flavors available too.

A dear friend recently showed me the magic that is French grocery store shopping. As we sat in her car after hitting our last stop, we stuffed fresh mint leaves into our Perrier and reflected on what a refreshing way this was to take care of our shopping. I realized, only a 40-minute day trip from Ramstein and 50 minutes from Kaiserslautern, why not cross the border and add France to my grocery shopping repertoire? Forbach, France may not be known for its stunning French riviera, but it’s an easy day trip, has plenty of playgrounds for kids and is a great excuse to treat yourself to French pastries while experiencing the Lorraine region.

Purple and white edible flowers and green herbs in a grocery store

Edible Flowers and Herbs (Katie Wells)

Our first stop was Grand Frois, a fresh food-focused market. Upon entering the store, I was immediately impressed by the fresh seafood options: mussels, octopus, squid and shrimp in all colors and sizes. As we made our way through the store, I heard a soft hiss as the fresh produce misters turned on. There in the middle of the store were rows and rows of green, yellow, red, and blue, a plethora of fruits and vegetables. I didn’t realize produce could fill me with so much excitement. I admired a rainbow of carrots so fresh from the ground that the dirt was still on them. Each section was like a new discovery, aubergines, butternut squash, rutabaga, enoki and oyster mushrooms, bouquets of fresh herbs and even edible flowers. My cart quickly became full, a kaleidoscope of possible recipes. In addition to a fantastic produce selection at Grand Fois, you can get French butter, fresh cream, regional cheeses, and creamy French honey, all at an affordable price.

green heads of lettuce in the mist

Lettuce (Katie Wells)

A short walk from the parking lot of Grand Fois, we found La Mine De Pain a charming boulangerie with a line out the door, but a very short wait time. This was a great place to take a break, eat chocolate eclairs, and sip tea in a cozy chalet-inspired sitting area. The boulangerie had gorgeously decorated fruit tarts and a wide array of bread-based baked goods. It could be a nice first stop to fuel the day of shopping, or an end-of-day treat before going home.

colorful picture of chocolate eclairs in a bakery

Eclairs from La Mine De Pain (Katie Wells )

Our next stop, approximately five minutes down the road, was Cora, a grocery experience more like Costco or Globus. Here you can shop for all your grocery needs and more: clothing, home goods, flowers, French beauty products, warm baguettes, wine and beer. We found some unique flavors of Perrier here that I hadn’t seen in the Kaiserslautern area. There is even a wine tent in the parking lot.

Another highlight of this town is Troc, an antique store. This is a unique antique shop because it is five minutes from the German border. The employees speak English, and you can find unique French or German treasures like, furniture, lighting, paintings, and ceramics. There are always new items coming in that are extremely affordable. I fell in love with some of the flower-inspired chandelier lighting and the different styles of ceramic ware.

Some other places to check out while in Forbach are:

  • The Museum of Glass and Crystal

  • The European Archeological Park

  • Chateau du Schlossberg

  • Chapel Sainte Croix

For me, going to France to grocery shop turned a chore into a treat.

author picture
Katie Wells is a writer and mixed media artist with an MFA in Creative Writing. She is passionate about nature, travel, and yoga. When she’s not writing or getting lost in new hobbies, you can find her cuddling up with a latte and her two dogs Zuko and Baymax and Fern the cat.

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