I love French markets. I love tiny shops in small French villages, selling charcuterie. But, banal though the concept may seem, I adore French supermarkets. Géant Casino, E Leclerc, Auchan, Carrefour, Intermarché...
It is probably down to the fact that they signified we were on holiday: the ritual of our first visit, on our first day, would tell us we had arrived.
In our earlier family holidays, though, we would eat food brought from home: shredded wheat, Fray Bentos pies, meatballs, powdered ice cream.
But later, we opted for a "big shop" in the big supermarket near to where we were staying, on the first day or so of our holiday.
There was Petit Suisse, from which you would peel the paper oh so carefully to keep the shape and then eat with apricot jam and sugar on the side. Flavoured Petit Suisses: pink, orange, yellow... Olive oil (La Fruitée) on "promotion". Huge mountain hams. Meaty sausages. Frisée lettuce. Tins of flageolets. Tubes of mayonnaise.
Not everything we bought was French. Mini Mars Bars, condensed milk, to be eaten with plain chocolate in bread.