I visited a tiny American food store in Paris – take a look inside the shop filled with expats buying pricey American delicacies for the holidays
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The Real McCoy is an American grocery store based in Paris, France. Maria Noyen/Insider
On Thanksgiving I visited an American grocery store in Paris, France.
Given that similar shops sell overpriced items in the UK, I was curious if it's the same in France.
The shop, which was tiny and packed with expats, was reasonably priced.
For the first time ever, I spent Thanksgiving away from my family in Paris, France.
The author is half American and half Dutch, but grew up in the UK. Maria Noyen/Insider
I'm half American and half Dutch but live in the UK. Although I lived in the US for four years, my family and I have always loved celebrating Thanksgiving together at our home in London.
It's a little different this year because I went to Paris, France by myself. But given that there are probably over 100,000 Americans living in the city, I was curious to see if there was an American grocery store nearby and if it would cater to expats looking for a touch of home during the holidays.
Enter The Real McCoy in Paris - his Instagram bio describes it as an "authentic American grocery store" open since 1990.
The Real McCoy is not far from the Eiffel Tower, which happened to be near where I stayed in Paris.
A photo of the Eiffel Tower. Maria Noyen/Insider
I came to Paris to attend Le Bal des Débutantes, a world famous debutantes ball held annually in the city at the Shangri La Hotel. I've been to Paris a number of times and on this trip I've stayed near one of the most iconic landmarks: the Eiffel Tower.
Luckily for me, The Real McCoy was less than a 20 minute walk from the tower so after a bit of sightseeing I walked over to check it out.
When I arrived, subtle US flag decorations outside the store and in the window showed I was in the right place.
Flags made it clear what kind of store it was. Maria Noyen/Insider
The American grocery store's exterior was also adorned with fall leaves and corn tufts, showing that the interior featured Thanksgiving-themed products for sale.
Bags of cranberries were also on display, selling for 7.5 euros, roughly the same price in dollars.
The store was tiny and packed with American customers collecting last-minute Thanksgiving treats.
Inside, expats perused American food stamps. Maria Noyen/Insider
There must have been a maximum of five people in the store, but it was so small it felt crowded. Since it was Thursday, the staff were busy taking everyone's Thanksgiving orders.
I later saw on the store's Instagram that it was promoting pre-orders of all the usual Thanksgiving concoctions, including a €60 (US$62) turkey for six to eight and €30 ($31) pumpkin pie.
According to Walmart's Butterball Turkey prices, a similarly sized turkey costs $26.56 in the US, making the store's products appear more expensive.
That wasn't too shocking to me, though — I visited an American grocery store in London where a bottle of Tide laundry detergent cost $61 in January.
A festive Thanksgiving banner was hung inside.
The number of customers made sense since it was Thanksgiving.Maria Noyen/Insider
The festive decorations definitely didn't stop at the door.
In addition to the "Happy Thanksgiving" banner that stretched the width of the store, other festive fall foliage decorations were placed among the grocery products inside.
No American grocery store outside of the US would be complete without a candy selection.
There was a lot of candy from American brands. Maria Noyen/Insider
American snacks were lined wall to wall throughout the store. But of course there were plenty of sweet treats to buy.
As soon as I walked in I saw on the right hand side a huge selection of Candy Corn for 4.5 euros, Hershey's Kisses for 6.5 euros and Nerds for 3.5 euros for sale. Each item had a similar price in dollars.
But there was also a lot of savory things to see.
Also savory was offered. Maria Noyen/Insider
From cream corn and salsa to takis and goldfish, The Real McCoy had more than just American candy for sale.
However, I noticed that the American Food Store in London, UK, doesn't have any non-food items from US brands, such as: B. Detergents.
One slightly overpriced item I spotted was the Campbell's Cream of Mushroom canned soup, which cost $6.
Campbell's soup costs a lot more than in the US. Maria Noyen/Insider
According to Walmart, the exact same size Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup is only $1.26 in the US.
At The Real McCoy in Paris, on the other hand, it costs 6 euros, roughly the same amount in dollars.
According to data from the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies, shared by Trading Economics, import costs in France have been steadily increasing in 2022. This probably explains why the canned soup and several other products in the store were much more expensive than if they were sold in the US.
But overall, the sheer variety of snacks in the store was impressive.
The counter display at The Real McCoy.Maria Noyen/Insider
For such a small space, I was impressed with the hundreds of snacks, sweets, and other savory items on display. The entire store was basically wall to wall with groceries.
The Real McCoy was ready to serve customers throughout the festive season.
The Real McCoy was stocked for the festive season. Maria Noyen/Insider
Things like filling, breadcrumbs, and canned sweet potatoes caught my eye and made me nostalgic for a traditional US Thanksgiving meal.
It's no wonder expats in Paris turned up at the American grocery store for a taste of home.
A photo of the outside of The Real McCoy. Maria Noyen/Insider
Since there was no fresh produce or cleaning supplies at the store, I probably wouldn't do weekly shopping there.
But if I lived in Paris full time and was here during the holidays I could see myself stopping by The Real McCoy over the Christmas period.
Read the original article on Insider
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