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COVID-19 in France: Student meals for just one euro in Paris

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By Michael Braithwaite
Students receive a meal for as little as one euro at Le Reflet in Paris, February 2021.
Students receive a meal for as little as one euro at Le Reflet in Paris, February 2021.   -   Copyright  AFP

Starter, main course and dessert... all from just one euro.

A restaurant in Paris is offering students a meal at knockdown prices to help them cope during the pandemic. The team at Le Reflet offer a balanced menu for students in financial difficulty twice a week, with dishes prepared with fresh ingredients.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised all university students two meals a day for one euro to help them cope during lockdown.

"We are a small link, a small grain of sand. We've been aware of it since we started, we really realise that there is a demand, and if it can incite other restaurants to launch the same operation," said Le Reflet's manager Olivier Vellutini.

The subsidies take the form of a voucher which students can redeem if they feel the need to talk to a mental health professional.

It follows protests which called for more help to tackle loneliness and financial problems.

Nastassia Grouchetzky, a second year student doing a master's degree in geography at the Sorbonne, says she has really felt the benefit of the offer.

"For a long time, for several months it was only food distributions, so it was to fill the fridges and cupboards. And this was the first time I came across a restaurant, so small dishes that are good and prepared with vegetables for example, I'm happy there, and it tastes good and it's a change from pasta and rice," she said.

Isolation and inactivity have left many students close to breakdown, according to university psychologists - so for now the prospect of a free meal is a much-needed bonus.