4. General Operation of French Schools

  1. Services for Overseas Arrivals
  2. School Term Dates
  3. School Transport
  4. Boarding Your Child
  5. Discipline & Attendance
  6. Costs & Insurance
  7. School Lunches

4.7. School Lunch - Restauration à l'école

As might be expected the provision of good quality school lunches is an important priority in French schools!

The government has laid down detailed regulations and advice concerning the nutritional standards and the safety standards concerning storage, preparation, and traceability.

In addition, the rules require that meals should also be used to develop an understanding and appreciation of food by children.

Nevertheless, despite the central strictures, the quality of the fayre will be influenced by the local funds that are available, so not all schools are able to meet the high standards being sought by the government.

Local councils (municipal, departmental or regional as appropriate) are free to determine their own charges, but the charge cannot be greater than the actual cost of provision the service. Almost universally, councils subsidise the cost of school meals. Indeed, in a small number of areas school lunches are provided without charge. Generally, expect to pay from €4 to €8 per meal (2022 prices).

For those on a low income the school will be able to provide financial assistance towards the cost of meals, and there is a scheme introduced by the government, called «cantine à un euro» for those on lower incomes. Local councils have the option whether or not to adopt it.

Whilst it is not obligatory for your child to receive a school lunch, there is normally no provision made on the school premises for children to eat food prepared from home.

Accordingly, you either need to bring them home, or they must eat outside of the school premises.

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