Lunchbox in french schools?

(Leanne Chevallier) #1

Hello all,
Does anyone know if its “legal” to bring a lunchbox to school in France? They lead us to beleive that it is not allowed, but trying to find out if its officially not allowed…

Thanks in advance,

(Tracy Thurling) #2

I didn’t realise the food was so variable - our school has a kitchen on the premises and I have eaten there so know the food is very good.
As an aside we live in a small town with a 3* Michelin restaurant (Lameloise) and for the ‘Semaine de Gout’ the head chef came into school to do a tasting session with the kids as his daughter attends the school. I guess we are just really lucky, with our nearest school.

(Vivien Barrow Clegnac) #3

Yes cantine food can vary a lot. I spent a few years in Sigean where the food was bought fresh every morning at the local intermarche, freshly cooked, and was generally very good. When the girls were small they were ‘bussed’ to a central cantine where they had about 20 minutes to eat what ever was on offer and that was that.
I have been a parent delegue since my oldest was two years old at the lycee in London (she is now twenty but I still have my youngest in college) and have tried everything to get lunchboxes legalised. It always comes back to the lack of staff to supervise and insurance issue. Now that my middle daughter is at lycee she takes her packed lunch because they dont need to be supervised anymore, free to come and go and leave the premises without having to sign lots of forms each time.
Getting involved with the PTA is still a good thing, you get to make new friends, show that you are commited etc. I even introduced ‘lolly pop ladies’ to my town and got a traffic light crossing put outside the maternal, so dont give up!!!

(Leanne Chevallier) #4

Yes, its a question of quality. We also have a “well balanced” meal but alot of it is not freshly prepared (out of a tin or frozen) on just very industrial (the deserts). Also, chez nous, we don’t eat meat every day (like in the canteen) and we are very careful about where the meat comes from and eat mostly organic. So for me its a question of quality.

(Sarah Hague) #5

Hi Tracy, in my kids’ experience, the menus look great but the food is crap. It does change though from place to place, and, I believe is worse if you live near a big town because a central kitchen produces ‘food’ for the whole area.

My two, going into CM1 and 3e hate canteen food and often eat very little at lunch time. If I could give them a packed lunch I’d do it, that’s for sure!

(Tracy Thurling) #6

How do you mean ‘better lunch’ at my kids canteen they have a great lunch, salad starter, meat/fish with veg or pasta, yaourt/fromage frais/cheese followed by fruit - and on special occasions fruit tart. Can’t get much healthier than that - my daughter did tell me they had ‘frites’ at school one day but it’s that rare it gets a special mention, a qhick glance at the menu confirmed my thoughts - ‘frites au four’!!!
My daughter enters CP in September and is really looking forward to choosing which entree and which veg she can have but that is about the only choice!

(Leanne Chevallier) #7

I am actually on the school council, but since it was my first year, I didn’t want to open my mouth too much. I’ll be more active next year…

(Sarah Hague) #8

You might think of joining the parents’ association so you can work from the inside.

(Leanne Chevallier) #9

Thanks to all of your for your replies! I’m trying to find a way to give my kids a better lunch without leaving them out! I’m thinking of trying the lunchbox thing!! What I would really like is the canteen to go BIO! Hmmmmmm

(Sarah Hague) #10

If your child is in maternelle or primary school it’s the Mairie that controls it so you could check there.

I’ve been told it’s simply not possible for various logisitical problems that no one can be bothered to look into. I get the feeling no one asks except the Brits and we aren’t numerous enough around here to make a difference.

(Vivien Barrow Clegnac) #11

The reason always given to me about lunchboxes is that they would have to provide a seperate room and and someone to supervise the children during lunchtime so there would be insurance and responsibility issues.

Its quite funny though when you see what some children bring for their ‘gouter’! That often needs supervising!

(Kathryn Dobson) #12

Hi Leanne
Some schools allow it round here (the ones with Brit kids) but it is generally frowned upon as cantine is seen as a class in itself. I suspect it isn’t illegal but does probably need some level of authorisation.