France discovers 24/7 shopping

If you run out of bread at lunchtime in my village, you have to wait until 2:30pm when the first bakery reopens after lunch. In fact, retail hours in France are still at the low levels I remember in Australia in the early eighties. I embrace this now that I’m used to it, but when I first moved to France, I kept forgetting that I couldn’t pop down to the shops on a Sunday or on any evening to grab a block of butter or some other random cooking ingredient. However, things are starting to change around here as pointed out by one of my blog readers, Suzanne (co-incidentally a fellow Aussie who has been living just down the road for about a year — and now a friend), who kindly sent me this photo of a milk filling station, complete with paper towel dispenser for any milk spills, just down the road. She wrote:

We were riding our bikes this morning and came across this self serve milk dispensing machine in Annecy-Le-Vieux. €1 a litre is good and you can even buy empty bottles if you forget to take your own.

24/7 milk bar

I’ve heard about these milk dispensers but I’ve never seen one, so I’m happy that Suzanne snapped away with her camera. Not only can you buy milk at any time of the day or week, but it’s not UHT milk — something of a standard in France for drinking milk. I’ve become used to UHT milk on my cereal and it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, it’s handy to have stocks at home so I never run out, but I’m wary that if I were to revert to fresh milk now, I may never be able to buy in bulk at the supermarket again. I’d be running out of milk all the time and heading down to Annecy-Le-Vieux for a fresh milk fix. Suddenly, the convenience seems very inconvenient! Now, if one of these stations happened to appear in St Jean de Sixt, I’d no doubt be the most regular customer.


I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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9 comments on “France discovers 24/7 shopping
  1. Michelle n oli says:

    Wow….what a great idea. I will make sure when I do go to Annecy that I will try and find this machine, and sample this wonderful idea. Well done to who ever came up with this wonderful idea. Good luck

  2. I am rendered speechless. Fresh milk 24/7, clearly some anti-Gallic terrorist plot.

  3. Penny says:

    Ah good to see a photo of it as I’ve never managed to work out where it is in Annecy-Le-Vieux. I just wish they’d put one in the centre of Annecy as well…

  4. Jennie says:

    There’s one in the parking lot of LeClerc here in Chambéry too! Haven’t tried it yet though.

  5. Jon says:

    This is hilarious. It looks like the Japanese are making headway into France. I imagine that they will make a law banning these pretty soon because they violate grocery workers’ rights.

  6. Wendy says:

    Late breaking news: there’s one in Thones! It’s not functional yet, but it’s installed outside Le Farto (insert childish chuckle) fromagerie on the main road from Annecy to Thones.

    Jon, there’ll be a strike first. And maybe a picket line.

  7. Fumi says:

    Someone told me about these machines and I needed to see the photo. I am in love with vending machines and am absolutely enamored with the milk machine!

  8. Moryn says:

    I am in Africa how can on get this machine?
    Its the greatest idea I have ever seen.

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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