A growing number of Belgians are crossing the border to do their weekly shop in France, RTL Info reports. The savings can be massive: shoppers said that a full trolley of goods was up to €150 less in France than at home.
If that weren't tempting enough, a trip across the border can become even more of a money-saver when France's lower fuel costs are factored in.
In Jeumont, a commune in the north of France, RTL met Belgian families who frequently make the trip across the border. Many admitted going to the supermarket in Jeumont at least once a month. The goods are usually identical but the savings substantial.
“For a full shopping cart in France it’s €250. In Belgium, you would expect €100 to €150 more,” one Belgian shopper said. Others estimated their savings to be around €80 per visit.
The influx of Belgians to the north of France has not gone unnoticed. Supermarkets are notably busier with full carparks and a lack of shopping trolleys.
“We are seeing a remarkable number of Belgians but we can understand why they're here; on their side, things are much more expensive. We do the same thing with tobacco and we did the same thing with petrol several years ago,” one Frenchwoman noted.
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There is also a rush for cheap French petrol. At the time of publication, the price of 95 petrol at French pumps was €1.50/litre; in Belgium it is €1.80. For diesel, the cost across the border is €1.70 – 20 cents per litre cheaper than in Belgium. For a full tank, drivers could easily save over €10 by filling up in France.
As a result, Belgian motorists have been making long queues at French service stations with the influx of Belgian motorists putting a strain on some stations. At the petrol station at the supermarket in Jeumont, six of the pumps were out of service due to a lack of fuel.