By Clara Weber
Arriving in a new city often means for Euroculture students buying a lot of things: in your new apartment some furniture and decoration are missing… there was not enough space in your luggage for winter clothes… books are too heavy to carry around… and you have no idea yet which supermarket to go to! This leads to a lot of consumption, especially in your first weeks. As students that study Politics and Society, it is essential to reduce our plastic use, food losses and waste, and the consumption of fast fashion. About one-third of the world’s food is thrown away, and wasted food is a social justice issue and has an enormous environmental impact. Moreover, the textile industry is one of the most polluting ones in the world and buying second-hand clothes can be a way of doing a small step against fast fashion. This little guide will help you not only work on a more sustainable consumption but also save money, which you can use for nice trips to discover France.
The Friperie le Léopard is a very cute and cheap second-hand shop for clothes. Even though the section for women is bigger than the one for men, there is enough for everyone. They have new stuff every week and even special price reductions on Monday!
Very cool vintage stuff for men and women from the 1950s to today can be found at the Poulet Fripes, which is located on the second floor of an old hotel. Every Wednesday from 15h30 to 19h is Happy Hour for students and you get a 10% discount!
Furniture and random stuff:
Emmaüs is a famous second-hand store with furniture, books, dishes, decoration, etc., in almost every big French city. If you need some more furniture or decoration for your new Strasbourg apartment, you should try to pass by the next Emmaüs!
At local flea markets, in French called Brocante, you can find second-hand stalls with furniture, antiquities, jewellery and very random things. In the Rue du Vieux-marché-aux-Poissons between Place des Tripiers and the river, several markets take place almost every day of the week.
One place you should definitely not miss out on is La Grenze next to the central train station. It is a very alternative and artsy spot and next to second-hand markets they also offer the Friperie Lolipop Vintage, ateliers, concerts, DJ sets and a bar area.
You want to improve your French by reading French books? Buying them second-hand is a great way to save some money and consume in a sustainable way. The Rue des Hallebardes and Place Kléber are the places to find second-hand book markets every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9-18h. If your French is not that good yet you can be lucky to find books in other languages as well, or you could go for the children’s books to start with easy French language!
There are lots of markets around Strasbourg on different days of the week where you can go to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese and many other local and seasonal foods.
My favourite market for quality cheese and local food is Place Broglie every Wednesday from 7-18h, but it can be a bit pricey.
The cheapest market with the best price options is Marché Boulevard de la Marne every Saturday from 9-13h, and the last part that is closer to the Parc de l’Orangerie has cheap fruits and vegetables. If you go there around 12/12:30 they offer lots of baskets for €1 with leftover fruits and veggies that need to be eaten soon. You can use them for delicious fruit smoothies, French Quiche or oven-roasted vegetables. In that way, you prevent food waste and get a good price! Just remember to bring your own bag, otherwise, they will always give you plastic bags for everything you buy, and you end up with a whole collection of plastic bags.
Naturalia is a bio-supermarket that sells regional and seasonal veggies and fruits without packaging, and also lots of vegetarian and vegan food. You can even bring your own Tupperware to buy cereals, couscous or grains.
Kehl is the closest German city to Strasbourg, and you can easily go there by bike or tram. Basic food, fruits and vegetables are way cheaper in Germany than in France, especially at supermarkets such as Edeka, Lidl, Aldi or DM. In that way, you can try traditional German food and buy organic products at a more affordable price.
Le Jardin de Martha is a farm run by a family that offers local, seasonal, and organic products. You can even order baskets, in French called ‘panier’, to be delivered to your house with different fruits and vegetable mixes.
A similar offer with different types of regional and organic baskets is the Éco-basket. You can get different baskets with fruits, vegetables, eggs, bread or mixed, and they even have special discounts for students. They do not deliver to your house, but you can easily get it at different pick-up locations.
The Too Good To Go app works quite well in Strasbourg and allows you to browse unsold food items in restaurants, bakeries and shops close to your place. Often you get a magic bag with surprise food at a highly discounted price.
A sustainable lifestyle also concerns transportation. In order to get around in France in an ecological way, check out blablabus/blablacar, Flixbus, and the special reduction offers from SNCF. The Carte Avantage Jeune costs €49, is valid for one year and gives you a 30% reduction on almost all trains all over France. The Carte Fluo is valid for the region Grand Est, gives you 50% reduction on all regional trains and costs only €1 for people under 26 years, otherwise 20€. If you want to travel to or from Germany, it is cheaper to start your journey in the German city Kehl and buy train tickets either from the local train station or the German DB Navigator.
One thing that you will definitely need in Strasbourg is a bike! In order to rent a bike instead of buying a new one you can use vélhop. As an Erasmus student, you get the special ‘forfeit étudiant boursier’ reduction, so you only pay 10€ per year. Another option is leboncoin or Facebook marketplace, where you can buy second-hand bikes for around €50-100. The University of Strasbourg even provides a do-it-yourself repairs atelier!
As you can see, there are lots of opportunities to live a sustainable lifestyle in Strasbourg and a range of possibilities for Euroculture students to do something good for the environment and save money while buying second-hand. If you have more tips on how one can live sustainably in Strasbourg or any other city, please reach out to share the knowledge!
Featured image by Markus Spiske