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Old 23.04.2015, 21:58
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Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Thought I'd write a little bit about cross-border supermarkets, having just done a beautiful 70km round trip along the Mulhouse canal ending up in Carrefour. I'll include Switzerland as well, just because.

This is just a summary and I'm aware that there are more in-depth threads here on EF for some of the ideas below.

SWITZERLAND

Some things are cheaper here. Electronics are often priced identically world-wide and hence vary only on local taxes. Swiss VAT is 8% so most electronics are cheaper here.

Fruit & veg in the supermarkets are often not much more than abroad, but they tend to go off very quickly due to the poor supply chain most of them have. Manor have regular discounts on things, and the quality is good. Coop often 50% off things towards the end of the day, but fruit/veg/salad stuff really has to be eaten that day.

Asian food (the place by SBB and NAM near Wettsteinplatz) is cheaper than in France and Germany for almost everything, which is a bit of a surprise. Probably due to import taxes as we're outside the EU.

GERMANY

Germany is the cheapest place to shop (out of Germany, Switzerland and France) for almost everything. Cleaning products are often 1/3 the Swiss prices and noticeably cheaper than France. Almost any branded food product is cheaper in Germany,

Marktkauf - just over the Weil am Rhein border. Tram 8 goes there. It's owned by Edeka, which is an up-market supermarket chain, so the Edeka own brands are good quality. The shopping experience is anything but, however. Don't go at peak times (especially with a car) and you'll be fine.

Rewe - there's one in Lorrach (where Migros was) and also in Weil am Rhein, where the Tram 8 will now take you. It's a bit cheaper than Marktkauf but has less stock. I usually just go to Marktkauf.

Hieber - it's a more upmarket shopping experience and the deli counter is good. There's one in Lorrach and another in Grenzach. If you insist on buying fish in Germany this is where to get it. Prices are not actually much more than Marktkauf, if at all.

FRANCE

France is more expensive than Germany for most things but as the southern Germans, like the Swiss, don't seem to care for fish or a variety of cakes/bread, France is where to go for these. Plus the deli counters are excellent.

Geant Casino - This is about 5-10 mins walk from the centre (crossroads) of St Louis. The Distri bus goes there from Schifflaende. It's convenient if you're cycling, but despite recent renovations is still far behind E.Leclerc.

E.Leclerc - this is just past St Louis in a small shopping complex behind McDonalds. The Distri bus goes there too, making it a no-brainer to go here instead of Casino. The fish counter and bakery are excellent, and it's cheaper than G Casino. Good and fresh selection of fruit and veggies; better than Marktkauf and Rewe, and more choice (albeit not as posh as) Hieber. I usually grab my fish and cakes from here, hit the deli, then cycle to Marktkauf for the rest.

Carrefour - this is on the edge of Mulhouse. It's a proper hypermarket so bigger than any of the others mentioned above, but that's more due to its non-food section. The food section is no better than E.Leclerc so not really worth the trip, although Mulhouse itself is actually not a bad destination with some good restaurants. If you're into cycling, it's a lovely 35km from Basel almost entirely off road and along the canal from Huningue. I went today and cycled back, but you can take the train back for around 12€ (bikes on trains are free).

TAXES

In France you need to spend over 150€ to get the VAT back, and many shops won't bother doing it anyway although the supermarkets above will. I've never done it, so be prepared for the usual French efficiency at customer service ...

In Germany they seem to love giving the tax back. It's 19% on non-food stuff (making cleaning products even cheaper!) and 7% on food/drink. Almost every shop near the border will give the right forms; you need to get it stamped as you export the goods (ie at the German/Swiss border by the Germans) and then take it back to the shop another day (officially) who will give you the 19% back. Each shop seems to have a different procedure and I can't be arsed explaining it all. Except to say .. Karstadt (dept. store in Lorrach) give forms which say you need to use something like Global Blue (which take half the tax as commission). Ignore it and take it, stamped, back to the shop. You get the full 19% back.

Of course, there are import limits into Switzerland. They're all documented clearly here: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

I've not proof-read the above, but it should make sense.
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Old 23.04.2015, 23:26
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

I get so confused with meat cuts between Switzerland, Germany, France and US. It would be great to gain some understanding of it. Like, is that huge slab of meat in France really a giant Rib-Eye? And stuff like that. Online explanations have not helped me much.
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Old 23.04.2015, 23:45
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

There's also LIDL in Weil am Rhein. It's good when you don't need a lot of stuff and want to avoid Marktkauf madness
I found one thing that is surprisingly a lot more expensive in Germany (comparing to France) - car batteries. The one i bought in Casino for 99 euro costs there 150.
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Old 24.04.2015, 10:42
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Exactly same brand and battery?
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Old 24.04.2015, 10:50
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Thanks so much for this post. It is really appreciated.
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Old 24.04.2015, 11:55
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Good post thanks, some extra info there I didnt know, The cycle back from Mulhouse interests me the most I didnt know if you follow the Huningue canal it will bring you straight there. Is it mostly gravel or?
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Old 24.04.2015, 12:24
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Grenzach also has a Lidl and Aldi as well as Alnature (I think that's what it's called) for health food.

Does anyone know where to get cheap dog food in Germany? Royal Canine in particular.
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Old 24.04.2015, 12:25
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

And theres a LIDL just past the border in Huningen too
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Old 24.04.2015, 12:30
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

30 mins NORTH from Zurich is Lottstetten, go to Rafz for the ATM and cross the border via a little unmanned border, LIDL and a few others once you get past Lottstetten high street!
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Old 24.04.2015, 12:47
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

This thread is awesome. Thank you so much for this.
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Old 24.04.2015, 12:47
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

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Good post thanks, some extra info there I didnt know, The cycle back from Mulhouse interests me the most I didnt know if you follow the Huningue canal it will bring you straight there. Is it mostly gravel or?
It's partly paved (albeit bumpy in parts where some tree trunks raise the surface) and part compacted soil and a bit of gravel. I use a hybrid/touring/trekking bike and it's perfect. I see many people on road/racing bikes and they're doing fine too.

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30 mins NORTH from Zurich is Lottstetten, go to Rafz for the ATM and cross the border via a little unmanned border, LIDL and a few others once you get past Lottstetten high street!
This thread is about BASEL not Zurich.
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Old 24.04.2015, 12:51
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Great stuff Adrian thanks
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Old 24.04.2015, 13:06
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

There is a German Aldi (Grenzach I think) strategically located at the border with Switzerland, bus 38 will take you there. Very easy to reach. They have nice fresh vegetables and fruit.
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Old 24.04.2015, 13:43
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

There's a Hieber in Weil am Rhein as well, just a few minutes (by car) from Marktkauf. Much nicer than Marktkauf, and quite empty in the evenings.

If you are already going towards Mulhouse for a bigger shopping - instead of Carrefour, go to Cora in Wittenheim.

And maybe the Saint Louis Saturday market also deserves a mention here? Place de l´Europe. Several stalls selling nice fruits and veggies from nearby farms. Go early, they are usually already packing up by 11.30.
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Old 24.04.2015, 14:34
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Lörrach also has quite a nice market on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. There are plenty of famers there selling their locally grown stuff as well as butchers, a cheese guy and a baker. The town is also has quite a range of stores, a very nice atmosphere and you can get there very easily on the train.
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Old 24.04.2015, 18:56
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

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Exactly same brand and battery?
Yes, Rob. Exactly the same BOSCH 008. Which is even more strange, cause it's "made in Germany".
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Old 25.04.2015, 11:38
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

How much is the distribus (I presume the monthly abo doesnt cover it) and which stop is it for the Leclerc just so we can look it up on the website. Were gonna try it today instead of Marktkauf.

EDIT: Its 2.20 return each I see apologies
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Old 25.04.2015, 11:49
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Why anyone would consider going to marktkauf on a Saturday is beyond me... 5 mins away are 2 heifers. No crowds free trollies no fing stupid lifts and no feral kids from France. ..
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Old 25.04.2015, 12:01
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

We always go on a Friday night to Marktkauf cos its actually pretty quiet, cos of the Trams being all over the place last night we had to delay til today. I love Hiebers though and didnt know there was one in Weil am Rhein
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Old 25.04.2015, 12:54
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Re: Supermarket shopping abroad from Basel

Sorry, I've no idea on bus prices or stop names as I've never taken it. I only cycle. But it will be about 5 minutes past St Louis and you'll go past a kind of industrial estate (with a sports shop on your left) and then you'll see a McDonalds on the left also. Behind there is a big carpark and E.Leclerc.

If you have a 3-country Abo (or 3-country day ticket) the bus is included, else not.

I've never been to Marktkauf on a Saturday; Rob's warned me off that experience and I've seen what it does to him

The French supermarkets aren't as busy although you should have gone earlier and then you would have made the St Louis farmers' market (mentioned above) as well. In Winter that closes up around 11am; in Summer some stalls are open until 1.

I've not been to the Hiebers in Weil am Rhein; I don't think it's convenient for public transport but could be wrong. There's one in Grenzach and one in Lorrach; Lorrach also has a (slightly run-down imo) town centre with a DM (great pharmacy - like Boots or Superdrug - there's also one upstairs in the Rheincenter) and Karstadt.
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