1. Are there cafeterias for people living in the dorms?
Yes, there is a cafeteria called Les Gazelles, that is only a few minutes from the dorms. For only a few euros, you get a couple dishes, a piece of fruit, yogurt, and a small piece of bread. Compared to UM dorm food, it's a little disappointing, and, if you're vegetarian, there's really no point in even going there.
2. How accessible are the grocery stores? This pertains to hours, location, etc.
There are a few grocery stores. Monoprix is on the Cours Mirabeau. It's a little more expensive than the others, but it's very clean, and it's open until 9 p.m. every day (closed on Sunday). There is a Casino store that is about 10 minutes from the dorms that is open until 8 p.m. (also closed on Sundays). There's also a store called ED that is a bit further away, but much cheaper. I believe that it is also closed on Sundays (almost everything in Aix is).
3. Do students tend to eat out or buy food and eat it at home?
I think most people go grocery shopping pretty frequently - even in the dorms it's not difficult to prepare lunches and dinners (and it's much cheaper); however, Aix has some pretty great restaurants, so it's fun to also go out once in a while.
4. Approximately how much money would you say you spend on food per week?
It really varies depending on how often you go out to eat and what type of groceries you buy. Be prepared to spend a bit more money on groceries here than in the U.S. - if you typically buy $25 worth of groceries, it'll probably be more like 30-35 euros here - there's really no way you can spend money very efficiently here - it's just a very expensive city.
5. What are some local dishes that you recommend?
Aix has some great boulangeries and patisseries. Crepes-a-Go-Go is a town favorite for crepes. Paul has amazing patisseries, and there are great sandwich places - if you like falafel, fries, or sandwiches, you will love the town. Aix also has a few sushi places, some pasta places, and a bunch of pizza places.
6. What are some of the best and cheapest restaurants in town?
You can pretty much always buy a sandwich anywhere in town for under 5 euro any day of the week - Snack Samos, L'Authentique, and small stands like La Fringale are all right in town and open fairly late. There's also a pasta places, Mezzo Pasta, that is near the IEP that has great pasta for around 5 euro.