It seems like most the students here in Lyon as part of the ERASMUS programme come from pretty wealthy families (some ridiculously so!). Whilst I come from a middle class family and have a father who is pretty well off, for the most part me and my partner are financially independent. That means we are living off my student finance loans and grants, and my ERASMUS grants, and then a tiny bit of wages from my partner’s part-time work (the only work he has so far been able to find here as he speaks very little French). We also had a small amount of savings. Our rent swallows up a huge proportion of our money, but we needed an apartment big enough to fit a decent sized guinea pig cage in, and I doubt we will move because despite the expense it is in a super convenient location. We have to budget, and be very mindful of how much money we spend, but things are not so tight that we can’t manage odd treats. For example, tomorrow I’m going to be meeting up with a few other erasmus students for drinks. We can afford these treats because of trying to be as frugal as possible with our other shopping. When we first moved here, we didn’t know where to shop to buy things that were good value for money and now that we have found our feet I thought I would make a blogpost about it in case anybody else ever moves here and would find the info useful. SO…
The cheapest place to grocery shop, apart from perhaps outdoor markets (which we haven’t visited yet), is Lidl. I’m not talking slightly cheaper…some of the groceries are literally HALF THE PRICE of things in other French chains. If you shop in Lidl you will save huuuge amounts on your grocery shopping. The closest one to us is the one on Grande Rue de la Guillotiere. On Sundays we go to the one on Rue de Marseille as the closest two to us are not open on Sundays. So far I’m not impressed with the staff at either of these stores, and you always have to queue for AGES because it’s permanently busy and there are hardly any tills and staff, but unfortunately that’s a price we have to pay (lol, pun unintended) to save money on our food shop that we can then spend on more fun things.
Anything you can’t get from Lidl, buy from Carrefour, but make sure it’s a big one and not a Carrefour ‘City’, where they hike up prices. There is a huge Carrefour Hypermarché in the Part-Dieu shopping centre.
Every other supermarket is more expensive, but I would say that Simply probably has the best selection of seasonal fresh fruit and veg, for ok prices. There is one of these near us on Avenue Felix Faure.
House Stuff For When You First Move Over
The huge Carrefour in Part-Dieu shopping centre has probably everything you will need (e.g. cutlery, plates, pots and pans, duvets, bedding, stuff to jazz up the house…). Their cheapest version of everything is pretty decent. Alternatively there is a big Ikea just outside of Lyon, which is accessible via public transport but is a bit of a trek. It was worth a trip for the experience, and to try the lovely Swedish cider (non-alcoholic!), but if you cba, the prices in Carrefour are pretty much the same if not sometimes even cheaper if all you’re looking for is the basics.
Big Carrefour again. Smaller supermarkets usually stock some stuff for cats and dogs but not other animals, apart from hay.
In the Part-Dieu shopping centre: H&M, Primark, Bershka, Battitude (this one is only womenswear), C&A. They all do shoes too but quality varies. For good quality, more expensive but still affordable shoes, there is an éram. Carrefour also stocks underwear and loungewear. For sportswear, there is Go Sport and Decathalon.
Maisons Du Monde is a lovely shop that sell stuff to jazz up your house. It is affordable, so if you want something to jazz up your new flat then go here. It’s also great for gifts.
Little Extra – all kinds of random stuff to jazz up your house, also good for gifts, and stationary.
Loisirs et Création is like an arts and crafts shop, they do lots of nice stationary too, good prices.
If you’re a lady and you want somewhere to have an affordable beauty treatment done (not including hair), there is also a Body’Minute in the Part-Dieu shopping centre. No need to make an appointment in advance.
For anything electric, there is Darty which I’m super impressed with.
For music, head to Fnac.
(All of these shops have a store in the Part-Dieu shopping centre.)
If you want postage stamps, go to your nearest ‘Tabac’, or post office.