Shopping in Paris: Causses
Tue 14 May 2013
You realize immediately that there’s something different about Causses: it’s the clean, black-and-white design that looks more New York than Paris. Shopping in Paris with a hip factor? Pushing through the door, you’re stopped in your tracks by a huge table groaning under the weight of all things breakfasty and delicious—toasts, muffins, Marlette cake mixes, jams, juices, hot chocolate, spreads and even mangoes. To your left, hefty jars of olives sit in a row, and you also spy caramelized almonds, spiced pecans, pistachios and goji berries.
Causses is a modern épicerie located in the 9th Arrondissement near the Saint-George metro, SoPi (South of Pigalle), a hip moniker coined by the owners. In a mostly residential area dense with épiceries, fromageries and charcuteries (I counted at least five on the nearby rue des Martyrs), it stands out with its modern look and (almost) all-under-one-roof concept. It also strikes a different note with its credo—“Healthy. Tasty. Simple”—stocking mostly locally sourced, seasonal, artisanal products that may be organic or originate from sound and sustainable practices. Additives, preservatives, artificial coloring and all the other bad guys are banned; the suppliers of Causses are bound by this “charter,” which is displayed in the shop.
I am cheered by the section of vegetables and fruits. There is quite a selection—three kinds of carrots, many varieties of salads, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and various types of cabbage. Causses clearly abides by seasonality. The prices hover just slightly above those of supermarkets, but everything has been sourced from less than 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) outside Paris, and the produce looks positively fresh. And no wonder, too, since it is delivered every morning, as staff member Alice informs me.
There is flour from les Moulins de Versailles, authentic Italian panettone, pain d’épices, flatbreads and grissini. You will have no problem finding accompaniments among the anchovies, sauces and tinned sardines. An almost floor-to-ceiling shelf stocks every manner of spice you could want, and the vinegars and oils are just as beguiling. Causses carries Harney and Sons tea and the most complete range of Dolfin chocolate ever seen outside le Bon Marché. Just make sure to crouch low so as not to miss anything. I would give Causses extra points for being able to pack in a whole lot without making the store feel cramped. The space is small, but the design, lighting and artful scattering of decorative elements make for a pleasant environment.
There is also a mini boulangerie, stocked by Benjamin Turquier, at 134, rue de Turenne (in the 3rd Arrondissement), and half of the shop space is dedicated to dairy and charcuterie, including, among other items, Alpérel ice cream, Ospital charcuterie and jambon de Paris. The staff, though busy, is always friendly and eager to advise you on the provenance of products.
I noticed something interesting: the shop mostly carries only one brand of each product. I was told it’s a deliberate policy, probably because of the lack of space and so that indecisive shoppers like me will not crowd up the aisles. Apparently, it can get very busy in the evenings and on the weekends. Of note are the extended hours—as late as 9:30 p.m. This makes shopping in Paris for groceries even more convenient.
Even if you don’t go for the groceries, you could try the canteen next door. The menu changes daily, and the freshly prepared food looks wholesome and delicious. Causses has also recently started a food basket delivery service, through which clients get not only selected seasonal products but also accompanying recipes, so if you’re tired of shopping in Paris, just trust the Causse fellas to ensure you eat well!
55, rue Notre Dame de la Lorette, in the 9th Arrondissement.
Open Mon–Sat, 10 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
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