''Picture from Rob

The idea

How to change food access for destitute people in Paris and provide a more secure and comfortable environment for eating? The idea was to replace the outdoor food distribution « cœur de Paris » occuring in Père Lachaise by identified restaurants well distrbuted in the Capital City were people would be able to sit down, have warm food and discuss.

The local context

In 2011, the French general accounting Office (Cour des Comptes) reported that more than 150 000 people did not have a housing in France ; among them 1 out of 3 person was livng in the Paris Region. http://www.ccomptes.fr/Publications/Publications/La-politique-publique-de-l-hebergement-des-personnes-sans-domicile Paris is indeed a city were many persons daily struggle : According to APUR (the Parisian urbanistic agency), 12% of the Parisian households- 210 000 persons- live with less than 670€ per month (2004 study http://www.apur.org/sites/default/files/documents/4P11.pdf). See also the poverty lines in France from the French Observatory of inegalities : http://www.inegalites.fr/spip.php?article343&id_mot=76

How it started

In 2010, while the French State was reducing by 35% its general financial support to food aid associations, the City Council of Paris decided to open 5 solidarity eateries in the different Paris neighboughoods (5th/ 8th/14th and 20th districts). The setting of the different eateries was designed and chosen so as to ensure a better access to everyone. In March 2013, A 6th restaurant opened in the 11th District.

How does it work?

Double sided restaurants: Lunch time for elderly people/ dinnertime for destitute persons. Among the 44 Parisian social restaurants (Restaurants Emeraude), 6 are reserved for night dinners service. Open doors: To access the restaurant at dinner time, the person needs to get a monthly card delivered by the different public social services (either services sociaux , permanences sociales d'accueil, espaces solidarité insertion). A convention was signed with the associations and the restaurants’ networks to better identify the needs and anticipate on the number of meals to be prepared. Quality first: Meals are qualitative as well as dietetic: all the food comes from a food central purchasing department ensuring a high tracability on the used products. 85% of the products are fresh and most of meals are prepared directly in the different restaurant’s kitchens before the service start (5PM). Dieteticians and chefs provide a diverse and balanced set of dishes. Restaurants focused on social link creation: the City agents are the ones preparing and distributing the meals, will volunteers from the Social Action Centers of Paris (CASVP) and food bank associations discuss and spend time with the persons. They listen, provide tips and tailored support for women, the children and allow for more social follow-up. In that, they can guide the persons towards the right social services desks: meals can become a stable basis for further support (going to the Solidarity and Insertion spots where people can get a shower, care and a coffee).

Impacts and added-value

  • Every evening, the restaurants provide dinners for more than 850 persons.
  • 200 000 meals served in a year
  • 71% of the users are satisfied with this new service: quality and quantity of food as well as welcome provided.
  • Diversity of hosted crowd: isolated persons, families, immigrant persons without paper, homeless persons, elderly persons…
  • Proudness of the Social Action Centre’s agents.


City of Paris Centre d’action sociale de la Ville de Paris (CASVP) Local Social Supporting Associations

Future perspective

The mayors of the different neighbourhood are asking the CASVP to open restaurants in their districts.

Contact and links

Centre d'Action Sociale de la Ville de Paris 
 Sous-direction de la Solidarité et de la Lutte contre l'Exclusion 
 5 bd Diderot - 75589 Paris Cedex 12 
Tel : 01 44 67 18 21 
Fax : 01 44 67 18 70 http://www.paris.fr/pratique/personnes-en-grande-precarite/se-nourrir/les-restaurants-solidaires/rub_5364_stand_8950_port_11517 http://www.cuisinecollective.fr/dossier/divers/articles.asp?id=412

Other valuable projects

TOUS A TABLE (FRANCE): association enabling destitute persons to access gastronomic restaurants. Every Saturday, partnering restaurants reserve 20% of their tables for poor persons who only pay 10% of the total price http://www.tousatable.org/

LES UNS ET LES AUTRES (BELGIUM-BRUSSELS): social eatery managed by the local Employment Service of Molenbeek and receiving different public supports. The originality of this social restaurant is the price system: there are 4 different prices according to the personal situations of the individuals (workers, social minimum income beneficiaries, unemployed, children, students…) http://www.lesunsetlesautres.be/