Lonely Planet Writer

French supermarket delivers groceries via the Seine

A new exciting project could potentially see Paris have its groceries delivered via barges on the Seine.

Sunset on the river Seine, Paris. Image by Joe deSousa / CC BY 2.0
Sunset on the river Seine, Paris. Image by Joe deSousa / CC BY 2.0 Image by Joe deSousa / CC BY 2.0

Grocery retailer Franprix is trying out a novel delivery system to get around the increased restrictions on transport in and around Paris. Franprix has pioneered a delivery system that has seen it deliver to 135 of 330 stores and it has helped take 2,600 trucks off the Parisian roads.

The city has committed to a greener urban development along with combatting traffic and encouraging a car-free lifestyle.

‘Franprix en Seine’ is the first project of its kind and it has pioneered the way for future companies to use the river in a similar fashion. “We’re the only grocery retailer worldwide to use river transport for the final leg of our goods’ journey. We are pioneers,” says Stéphane Tuot, Franprix’s head of logistics.

River Seine, Paris.
River Seine, Paris. Image by dany13 / CC BY 2.0

Franprix delivered groceries to its stockists and shops around Paris’s city centre and suburbs, making the Seine a viable option for their transportation despite the many locks and slightly longer time frame for it.

“There is room to have much more merchandise transiting via the Seine, and we hope to announce new partnerships in the near future. In the long term, if we’re accompanied by public bodies and the right investments, there’s room to deliver all of our 350 Parisian stores via the Seine – that’s totally doable,” Tout told the Guardian.

People enjoying a coffee on the banks of the Seine, Paris.
People enjoying a coffee on the banks of the Seine, Paris. Image by Rym DeCoster / CC BY 2.0

Paris’s mayor Anne Hidalgo, after what has been a tumultuous year for the city, has kept her commitment to a green and sustainable urban plan for Paris’s future. She’s encouraged policies that reduce the use of cars and pollution, as well as backing an urban design competition called Reinvent Paris. The project successfully piqued the interest of green architects and designers, and on 14 March she’ll be launching Reinvent The Seine in a similar vein, stressing the important role the Seine will play in Paris’s future. The project is to take place across 40 different sites along the river.