The three daily meals are very important for the French who generally like to take time to eat (15 minutes on average for breakfast and about 1 hour for lunch and dinner).
Breakfast (after waking up)
Taken just after waking up, it is, according to some, the most important meal of the day. It is a light and sweet meal accompanied by a hot beverage (tea/coffee/hot chocolate). Contrary to popular belief, the croissant is a treat, reserved for the weekend. During the week, the French prefer buttered bread or a bowl of cereals.
The French eat their lunch between 12 and 2pm. A classic lunch consists of a cold starter (optional), a hot dish (meat or fish with vegetables and cereals), and a light dessert (a yogurt or a fruit). But nowadays, more and more people prefer to eat a quick and light meal; a mixed salad or a sandwich.
Taken between 7pm and 9pm, dinner is a complete meal similar to lunch, but often lighter.
Some gourmands also have a break around 4-5pm with a small sweet snack : le goûter
University restaurants (RU) and cafeterias
The Crous has several university restaurants and cafeterias for students on the different UNICAEN campuses. You will find complete, varied and balanced meals, quick meals (sandwiches, pasta boxes, etc.), drinks, pastries and much more to satisfy your hunger.
- Vegetarian: every day the Crous offers at least one vegetarian meal in each university restaurant.
- Pork-free: there is a wide choice of pork-free dishes.
- Halal: at the present time, the Crous catering facilities do not offer halal dishes. If you follow this diet, we advise you to choose vegetarian dishes.
- Food allergies/intolerances: if you suffer from food allergies or intolerances, you can consult the specific notice board at the entrance of the Resto’U. If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask the cooks.
Prices and payment
The price for a full meal at Resto’U is €3.30 (2022/2023 rate). This price is the same in all the French Crous facilities where you can also eat upon presentation of your leocarte.
To pay for your meals or snacks, you can use:
- your IZLY account (leocarte or smartphone application)
- your bank card (French or international)
Locations and opening hours
The Crous university halls of residence have collective kitchens equipped with the necessary material to prepare your meals. Some types of housing also have a kitchenette.
Social and solidarity grocery stores
In Caen: AGORAé
Located on Campus 1 in Caen, the Agoraé is a social grocery store for students with financial difficulties.
Students wishing to benefit from this program can fill out an application for eligibility for food aid. Their application will be examined by a commission. If approved, they will then be able to benefit from products at 10% of the price offered in supermarkets.
In Cherbourg: EPI ETU
In this grocery store, located in the Maison de l’étudiant (in the library building), students can benefit from non-perishable food products, hygiene products as well as stationery from 10 to 30% of the market price.
To benefit from the services of the grocery store, you need to show your student card, or a certificate confirming your student status.
Supermarkets offer a wide range of food products.
In France, there are several large chains of which you will find stores everywhere such as Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Super U or Lidl. They are often a bit far from the center, but easily accessible using public transportation.
These large stores offer a variety of food products from all over the world and are adapted to specific diets (Halal, kosher, vegan…), as well as home equipment, clothing, cleaning products, etc.
Large supermarkets also have local grocery stores that are often open later in the evening and on Sundays. They offer a smaller selection with higher prices but can be useful when you don’t have the time to go to the bigger supermarket.
There are several farmers markets in Caen where you can buy fresh products from regional producers/vendors. The largest market, the Saint-Pierre market, gathers about 400 stalls and takes place every Sunday morning (8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) at the Port de plaisance.
How much does it cost?
The prices below are given as an indication and may vary from one store to another and from one city to another.
- 1,5 liter of water: €0,20€
- 1 liter of milk : €0,80
- 1 baguette : €1
- 1 kg of pasta: €0,80
- 1 kg of rice: €1,24
- 1 kg of apples: €2,80
- 1 kg of carrots: €1,50€
- 1 espresso coffee: 0,40€ in the university’s vending machines, 1,50€ in a café
You want to go out for a special occasion or a meal with friends? Chinese restaurants, pizzerias, créperies, Indian restaurants, fast food chains, or typical brasseries…there is a restaurant for every taste and every budget!
Most large French cities have a district where many restaurants are grouped together. In Caen, it is the historic district of Vaugueux, which offers a preserved setting with its cobbled streets and half-timbered houses dating from the Middle Ages.
Good to Know: Tipping
In France, service and taxes are included in the prices of restaurants and cafés, but if you particularly liked the service, you can leave a tip to show your satisfaction.
Why not take advantage of your stay in Normandy to try the local gastronomy? Oysters from Isigny, assortments of Norman cheeses (Camembert, Pont Lévêque, Livarot…), teurgoule (rice, milk and cinnamon dessert), crêpes flambéed with Calvados, caramel from Isigny…
The most daring will taste the famous tripes à la mode de Caen or the andouille de Vire, all accompanied by a small glass of cider or perry (to be consumed in moderation, of course).