Des grandes surfaces

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kiwi-di

Senior Member
New Zealand, English
I've just come across this sentence:
Est-ce qu'il y a une différence entre les carburants des stations-service aux marques des compagnies pétrolières et celles des grandes surfaces?

Having not come across this expression before, I'm guessing it means "Is there a difference between the fuel sold by petrol company-owned service stations and that sold by department store-owned outlets?"

Am I correct? If not, what is the meaning?

In what other similar contexts is "grandes surfaces" used?

Merci d'avance. :)
 
  • mignardise

    Senior Member
    US & Canada, English
    I think that the "grandes surfaces" referred to here in this context refers to stores like LeClerc or Carrefour. These aren't department stores, but the equivalent of Costco or Sam's Club, the huge warehouse type bulk product stores we have in N. America (maybe you have the same chains in Aus./N.Z. too?). Anyways, these stores sell gas as well.
     

    kiwi-di

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I think that the "grandes surfaces" referred to here in this context refers to stores like LeClerc or Carrefour. These aren't department stores, but the equivalent of Costco or Sam's Club, the huge warehouse type bulk product stores we have in N. America (maybe you have the same chains in Aus./N.Z. too?). Anyways, these stores sell gas as well.
    I think that's what I really meant - I was going to put "hyper-market" instead of department store, and am not sure why I changed my mind. Even after speaking English for nearly 60 years I sometimes make mistakes. :) :D

    Thanks.
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Would "supermarkets" be enough?
    It doesn't have to be a hyper-market for it to sell petrol/gas :) , it can be rather small.
     

    kiwi-di

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Would "supermarkets" be enough?
    It doesn't have to be a hyper-market for it to sell petrol/gas :) , it can be rather small.
    But would a supermarket be described as "des grands surfaces"?

    I'm interested in the use of this expression, and in what other circumstances it would be used to mean the same thing. I've never heard it before.
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    As far as I'm concerned "supermarché" et "grande surface" are used indifferently though I suppose "grande suface" is more likely to be used in an economic paper.
    But in everyday life we both say "grande surface" or "supermarché".
    But I suppose "grande surface" is more "flattering" than "supermarché" which may sound a bit old-fashioned.
    I think it's more prestigious to say:
    "Monsieur Dupont directeur de grande surface" than
    "Monsieur Dupont est directeur de supermarché"

    (the atilf says there are synonymous:
    COMM. Grande surface. Ensemble commercial assurant la vente de produits usuels les plus divers, exploité en libre service, et qui présente une superficie consacrée à la vente supérieure à 400 m2. Synonyme hypermarché, supermarché.)

    But wait for other opinions ... :)

    addendum:
    You also use it a lot when you say "en grande surface" rather than "au supermarché":
    Some examples I've found:
    "Acheter son ordinateur en grande surface ou pas ?
    "Puis-je obtenir le remboursement d'un achat en grande surface de moins d'une semaine encore dans l'emballage ? "
     

    kiwi-di

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    But I suppose "grande surface" is more "flattering" than "supermarché" which may sound a bit old-fashioned.
    Well, it is more than 30 years since I lived in a French-speaking country, so I suppose that explains why I think in "old-fashioned" language. :D

    (the atilf says there are synonymous:
    COMM. Grande surface. Ensemble commercial assurant la vente de produits usuels les plus divers, exploité en libre service, et qui présente une superficie consacrée à la vente supérieure à 400 m2. Synonyme hypermarché, supermarché.)
    Merci, ça m'explique bien ce que veut-dire cette expression.
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    "supermarché" which may sound a bit old-fashioned.
    I wouldn't like our anglophone friends to think we don't use supermarché any more.

    Afaik, most people never say:
    « Où vas-tu ?
    -- je vais à la grande surface. »:eek:
    but
    Je vais au supermarché,
    even though in everyday conversation we tend to name the store:
    Je vais à Leclerc, Champion, etc.
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    I wouldn't like our anglophone friends to think we don't use supermarché any more.
    He he, that's not what I wanted to say, sorry if I offended or mislead anyone with that "old-fashioned" :eek:
    But it's just that I can't remember the last time I've heard "supermarché" ...
    Mais en fait, tu as donné l'explication ; c'est parce qu'on dit simplement la marque du magasin ("chez Leclerc" :eek: , quelle horreur mais bon, bref ... :rolleyes: ) ou qu'on dit :
    "Je vais faire les courses" plutôt que "Je vais au supermarché".
    "Je reviens des courses" plutôt que "Je reviens du supermarché".
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    In English a "supermarket" can be very small indeed. It could refer to a large establishment such as "carrefour" (or Tesco's, Sainsbury's etc) here, but it could equally refer to a shop no bigger than the average French boulangerie.

    Would it be right to say that in French both the "street" shops and the large "(probably) slightly out of town" shops could be called "supermarché", but only the larger slightly out of town ones could be "grand surface", or could you have a "grande surface" being a small shop in a residential street?
     

    oumassia

    Member
    france - french
    In france what we call a supermarche or even hypermarche are the big supermarkets like Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc, Casino...
    The meaning is less general than supermarket in english.
    Grandes surfaces refers only to those big supermarkets, and it is a common term used in france, no weird thing in this word.
    And indeed it does refer to, let's say, hypermarkets.
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    big-box stores?
    In the original context cited, I think the problem in translating this is one of marketing approach, not just language--one finds fuel pumps outside of many (most?) " grandes surfaces " in Europe, but personally I have never seen this in the US.

    On the contrary, the big gasoline chains here have developed mini-marts that offer a few products (plus drinks and snacks)--"On the go" type shops, which has diversified their gasoline sales. But your neighborhood supermarket chain doesn't normally have gas pumps, at least where I live.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    At least one chain of grocery stores (supermarkets, large food stores) does sell gas in several US states: PA, VA, WV and MD. That said, since that's not the case in my own region, superstores or big-box stores sounds more appropriate to me, too.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    At least one chain of grocery stores (supermarkets, large food stores) does sell gas in several US states: PA, VA, WV and MD. That said, since that's not the case in my own region, superstores or big-box stores sounds more appropriate to me, too.
    From the British point of view "superstores" isn't common (probably becuase "store" for shop isn't usual here) and "big-box store (or even shop)" isn't a known phrase to me either.
     
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