One of the many social benefits of working for a large French company is le ticket restaurant, a pre-paid meal voucher you receive for every day you work. Now don’t get too excited – it’s not free by any means. However, the company does pay over half and in return they receive tax benefits. When looking at my bulletin de paie I notice that 3 euros are taken out of my paycheck for every day I work. This goes towards my booklet of vouchers. The amount of the voucher depends on the company and the location of where you work. Usually this would mean more money if you work on, let’s say Avenue Montaigne in Paris. However when I was working in Levallois (Paris suburb) I had tickets worth 8,50€ and now that I’m on rue du Faubourg St. Honoré I only get 7,80€. (Now what’s up with that?)
Although in concept I think these vouchers are a great idea, I often find myself either spending extra money on lunch or buying more food than I originally planned just to use the entire ticket (because the majority of places don’t give change back). Where I work, there aren’t many low-priced lunch options that will allow me to eat a good and healthy meal under 8 euros. It’s either the local boulangerie where I find myself purchasing le menu (sandwich + drink + dessert) to get my full voucher value or a nearby café where I end up having to spend around 5 or so euros extra just to eat a salad.