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Delicious and affordable French cuisine for students

By Gilbert
Reading Time: 3 minutes
French cuisine for students

Bonjour and welcome to the world of French cuisine! If you’re an international student planning to live and study in France, you’re in for a culinary adventure. This guide is tailored to help you navigate affordable yet delicious French cuisine for students on a budget.

Affordable French Cuisine for Students

  1. Croque-Monsieur: A delicious grilled ham and cheese sandwich, often topped with creamy béchamel sauce. Find it in almost any café or bistro for about €5-€7. It’s a filling and budget-friendly option for lunch.
  2. Quiche Lorraine: This savoury pie, made with eggs, cream, and bacon, is a French classic. You can find a slice for about €3-€5 in bakeries or make it yourself for a cheap, hearty meal.
  3. Ratatouille: A vegetable stew made with zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and tomato. It’s healthy, flavorful, and costs around €6-€8 in bistros. Making it at home is even cheaper and allows for leftovers.
  4. Crêpes: Whether sweet or savoury, crêpes are a staple. A simple crêpe with sugar and lemon or a filling one with ham and cheese will cost about €3-€5 at street vendors.
  5. Soupe à l’oignon: This rich and hearty soup is a traditional French dish, often very affordable at about €5-€7 in a local bistro.
  6. Coquillettes au Jambon: Inexpensive and filling, this French version of the classic American macaroni and cheese can be found in many French homes and is particularly popular among students and those on a tight budget. You can expect to spend around €4-€6 to make it at home.

French cuisine for students

Affordable Groceries for Students in France

Living in France gives you access to fresh, quality ingredients at reasonable prices. Here’s a list of some staples with average prices:

  1. Baguette: A classic French bread, essential for any meal, costs around €1.
  2. Cheese: France is famous for its cheese. You can get a decent Camembert or Brie for about €2-€4.
  3. Fresh Vegetables: Markets offer fresh produce; a kilogram of tomatoes or zucchini costs approximately €2-€3.
  4. Pasta and Rice: A staple for easy meals, costing around €1-€2 for 500g.
  5. Chicken: A versatile protein, with prices around €5-€7 per kilogram.
  6. Eggs: Essential for many recipes, a dozen eggs cost about €3.
  7. Milk and Yoghurt: 1L of milk and a pot of yoghurt cost around €1 and €0.50, respectively.

Tips for Eating (Out) on a Budget

  • Fixed-Price Menus: Many bistros offer a ‘menu du jour’ or fixed-price menu for lunch, ranging from €10 to €15, including a starter, main course, and sometimes a dessert.
  • University Restaurants: CROUS university restaurants offer complete meals for around €3.25, a fantastic deal for students.
  • Happy Hours: Take advantage of happy hour deals at bars and cafés, where you can often find discounted drinks and snacks.
  • Street Food: Don’t overlook street food like crêpes, sandwiches, and falafel for quick, cheap eats.
Cooking at Home

Cooking at home is not only economical but also a great way to experience French cooking firsthand. Try simple recipes like a tomato salad, adding some herbs de Provence, or make a quick ratatouille. Local outdoor markets often offer fresh ingredients at good prices, making home cooking a delightful and budget-friendly option.

French cuisine for students
Cash-back, Coupons and Discounts Apps/Websites

Apps like Shopmium offer a modern way to access discounts and coupons, streamlining the process of saving money on everyday purchases. Some of these include:

  1. A top destination for a wide range of deals across various categories.
  2. Offers both cashback and coupons, making it a great option for savings.
  3. Popular for finding discounts and promotional offers.
  4. Offers a variety of coupons and deals, particularly useful for budget-conscious shoppers.
Food Waste Reduction Apps

In France, there are several apps dedicated to food waste reduction that have become quite popular. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Too Good To Go: This app allows you to purchase unsold food from various establishments like restaurants, cafés, and bakeries at a lower price. The food is available for pickup at specific times, usually after peak meal hours or just before closing.
  • Phenix: Available in France and other European countries, Phenix allows individuals to purchase discounted food items that didn’t sell.
  • Karma: This app operates in France and several other European countries. It focuses on selling surplus food items from restaurants, cafes, and bakeries at significant discounts.


Experiencing French cuisine as an international student doesn’t have to be costly. With the right knowledge and a bit of savvy, you can enjoy a range of delicious and quintessentially French dishes without stretching your budget. Whether it’s dining out or cooking at home, France offers a plethora of options for the budget-conscious student. Bon appétit!

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