You landed here because you wanted to know if there was a French Walmart in Paris or France or something similar!
Is there a French Walmart in France?
Walmart has locations in 24 countries as of this writing, including the United States, Canada, Guatemala, Botswana, Uganda, and even China.
But there is no Walmart in France!
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t stores similar to Walmart in France in terms of products offered, amenities and size of the store. In fact, the French Walmart equivalents actually offer a lot more than Walmart.
Just don’t count on finding any of those weird Walmartians, aka cooky people of Walmart.
The French Hypermarkets Similar to Walmart
In France, there are several big-box retailers similar to Walmart that offers a variety of products to their customers, often combining a supermarket, department store and other services under one roof. They often have large car parks and are usually located on the outskirts of a city, but still easily accessible. They are generally quite large and can be anywhere between 5,000 sq .meters to 15,000 sq. meters. (55,000 sq. ft. to 165,000 sq. ft.).
These massive superstores are called “hypermarché (hypermarkets), a word that French trade expert Jacques Pictet invented in 1968.
Like Walmart, the French hypermarché’ is designed to be a one-stop shop where customers can find every consumer good under one roof, from groceries and clothing to technology, and more, all at competitive prices by focusing on large sales volumes to reach economies of scale.
Did the French invent the hypermarket?
It’s generally accepted that the world’s first hypermarché was opened to the public in 1963 by a French supermarket called Carrefour.
Some argue that the first hypermarket was opened in Belgium two years earlier, in 1961. It was called SuperBazar and was originally marketed as a department store. Whether or not the hypermarché is a French invention doesn’t matter because Carrefour did popularize hypermarkets around the world, not Walmart.
Sam Walton opened the first Walmart in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas but didn’t open a Supercenter (hypermarket) until 1988 in Washington, Missouri.
Here are the French Walmart equivalents that put Walmart to shame:
1) CARREFOUR (Kar-Foowr)
Carrefour is the closest thing to a French Walmart in terms of products and selection. Carrefour is the world’s second-leading general retailer after Walmart and one of the largest and most well-known supermarket chains in Europe and France.
“Carrefour,” which means “crossroads,” was named after the fact that its first store, which opened in 1960 in the basement of the Fournier department store in Annecy, France, was located at the intersection (crossroads) of two avenues in Annecy.
It was small, only 650 sq meters (7,000 sq. ft), but it was a huge success, and three years later, In 1963, Carrefour opened its first one-stop shop, “hypermarché” at the intersection of five roads in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois outside Paris.
It had self-service grocery shopping at discounted prices and stocked items such as consumer electronics, auto accessories, sporting goods, and clothing.
The store was a first of its kind in France; and covered 2,500 sq. meters (27,000 sq. ft.) and a parking lot that could fit around 450 cars.
Not all Carrefour stores are hypermarkets.
- Carrefour Hypermarchés: The largest of all of Carrefour stores and closes thing for a French version of Walmart.
- Carrefour Market: This is a large supermarket, but not a hypermarché.
- Carrefour City: These are small food stores, smaller than a supermarket but larger than a Carrefour Express convenience store.
- Carrefour Express: Are the smallest of all Carrefour stores and are similar to corner markets or convenience stores such as 7/11 stores or Couche-tard in Canada.
What kind of products and services can you find at a Carrefour hypermarket?
You name it; Carrefour hypermarché has it.
From fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, meat and cheeses to clothing, outdoor furniture and back to school supplies, and so so so much more.
There are a lot of 2 for 1 and 3 for 1 deal specials usually located at the front or the side of the store. But the interiors of most Carrefour Hypermarkets are a lot more classy.
The Biggest Carrefour Hypermarket in France and Europe
The biggest Carrefour hypermarche is in Villiers-en-Bière, one hour south east of Paris. It’s also the largest hypermarché in all of Europe since an extension was added in 1986.
Difference between Carrefour in France and Walmart
Besides being a big one-stop shop that sells everything you could ever need, there are a lot of differences in the general vibe of the store and the product selection.
- There are no cooky Walmart people: just normal-looking people dressed like people.
- Not open 24 hours per day.
- There are lots of local products and foods.
- There’s also an organic section.
- Feels more upscale than a Walmart.
The following are some of the goods and services you might find at a Carrefour hypermarchés in France. Not every Carrefour has these offerings; it just depends on the store and location.
- Carrefour Fidelity card: Carrefour has a rewards/fidelity card: which allows you to accumulate points that can be converted to cash for future purchases.
- Self-checkouts: Most hypermarkets have a scanner gun that you pick up at the store entrance. It’s self-service. All you do is scan your fidelity card to check one out. You then scan all your items as you place them in your
basket. When you’re finished, you head over to the self-checkout, scan your gun, pay and walk out. Once in a while, there are random checks to make sure people are scanning everything.
- Post office: Some Carrefours have a small post office counter located near the entrance to buy stamps and send letters and packages.
- Mini snack bar restaurant: called “Bon App,” where you can pick up something to eat.
- Catering services: Carrefour has a pretty good selection of platters perfect for Cocktail dînatoire, birthday parties and other events. They include Sushi platters, charcuterie platters, seafood platters, cheese platters, and other buffet and cocktail finger food platters.
- Meal kit delivery service: Carrefour has a meal kit delivery service similar to Hello Fresh called Quitoque (KEY-TOKH)
- Carrefour Drive: Order your groceries online, then drive up to a special area to pick up your order.
- Delivery service: Some Carrefours offer one-hour delivery. You can also order a smaller selection of groceries via
ubereats and deliveroo
- Gas station:
- Laundry mat: Not every Carrefour has a laundry mat, but the one in Villiers-en-Bière does.
- Moving car rental
- eyeglass department
- Purchase insurance for your home and car
- Banking and branded credit cards through their bank CRF.
- Purchase tickets and shows,
- Book department
- Bike department
- Mobile Phones:
- Para pharmacy: A Para Pharmacie sells non-medicinal products, such as specialized health, beauty and skincare products.
- Makeup and cosmetics
- Auto department: where you can find windshield wipers, oil, and auto cleaning supplies.
- Moving supplies: boxes, tape, etc.
- DIY & Home repair: lightbulbs, nails, outlet cords, etc.
- Home And Kitchen: Furniture, pots and pans, Utensils and more.
- Wine and alcohol
Other Hypermarkets in France (comparable to Walmart)
Most supermarket chains have a hypermarket. As of this writing, there are 2000 hypermarkets in France.
2) E. Leclerc Hypermarket
The largest Leclerc hypermarket in Gouesnou near Brest France in Brittany.
3) Auchan Hypermarket
The third-largest hypermarket in all of France is an Auchan store located at Noyelles-Godault in Pas-de-Calais
4) Cora Hypermarket in France
Cora’s largest hypermarket in France is located in Mundolsheim, near Strasbourg.
5) Casino Géant
Casino Géant is the fifth largest hypermarket chain in the world and the fourth largest in France after Carrefour, E.Leclerc and Auchan.
6) Monoprix Hypermarkets
Monoprix tend to be a little more upscale than Carrefours, and so their prices might be a little more expensive.
8) Hyper U
Lidl is a German store, but they are located all over France and very popular for having rock bottom prices.