For a long time I have been curious about how Ikea in France compares to Ikea in the United States. When a friend asked me if I wanted to join her in her shopping expedition in the suburbs, I jumped at the chance.
I have good memories of Ikea. When I was a kid, my family would go there not only to shop for furniture and household items but also to eat Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce and buy ginger snaps. The location we went to was next to an airport, and since the eating area had large windows, you could watch the planes take off.
Even when my sister and I became young adults, we had fun poking around the showrooms and picking up the quirky stuffed toys available.
The French Ikea experience was… almost identical to the American Ikea experience. The layout was exactly the same, so I knew where to find everything. It was even a bit strange to hear the cashier speaking French because I could have believed I was in the United States.
My friend bought quite a few things for her apartment. While I didn’t get anything household-related, I went a little crazy in the food section, or épicerie suedoise. It wasn’t so much that I crave these items, but they reminded me of home. Funny that a Swedish furniture store could hold so much nostalgia for an American in France, isn’t it?
As a bonus surprise, the cashier gave me a cute green insulated lunch bag for each almond tart that I purchased.
After we went through checkout, my friend realized that she had forgotten to get two items. While she fetched them, I sat with her bags in the area where customers wait to be called to pick up the furniture they ordered. After a while, an employee came by and offered me a piece of chocolate for waiting patiently. That has certainly never happened to me in the States.