It’s a city for indulging the senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch. Paris just makes you feel alive. French food in particular is renowned for waking up the tastebuds but can you do it without breaking the bank? Yes, it is possible to eat well in Paris on not much money. Here are a few ideas:
Dining out: There are places you can eat out and not spend a fortune. Usually lunch is a cheaper option than dinner, and many places have a set menu which includes a glass of wine.
Le Comptoir du Relais St-Germain, 9 carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th arrondissement. It’s small and you’d need to book well ahead for dinner in this lovely Art Deco bistro but for lunch you can just turn up and be lucky and dine for under 10 euro. Try the Croque Monsieur.
Bistrot Victoires, 6 rue de la Vrillière, 1st arrondissement. Big salads in a bowl are their under 10 euro specialty but don’t imagine rabbit food—the French put meats, cheese, everything into salad. There are also other well-priced dishes.
Rose Bakery, 46 rue des Martyrs, 9th arrondissement, 10 Boulevard de la Bastille, 12th arrondissement, or 30 rue Debelleyme, 3rd arrondissement. This place is becoming more and more famous for its delicious cakes but they also do tarts and salad. Eat in or take away.
Polidor, 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince, 6th arrondissement. Hemingway ate here when he was a poor struggling writer and it’s still good, affordable and atmospheric. Established in the 19th century it’s a good budget place to eat in the expensive Odeon area but only open 12–2.30pm and 7–11pm.
Chez Papa, with 12 restaurants dotted around Paris, this is great hearty French food at affordable prices in a fun and bustling atmosphere.
Le Petit Picard, 42 Rue St Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4th arrondissement. The decor might be over the top but the prices are not, with a good fixed price three course lunch of French cuisine with wine included. In the heart of the Marais.
Crêpes: There are sidewalk carts cooking crêpes dotted all around the city and they are delicious. Savoury with cheese and mushrooms will make a meal, while the sweeter treats can be…well, a sweet treat—fuel for all that sightseeing. If you really love crêpes, head to Breizh Café, 109 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd arrondissement in the Marais where you’ll have a huge choice of savoury and sweet filling in some of the world’s best crêpes.
Read more: 7 Sweet Treats of Paris
Picnic: French supermarkets have great bread, cheese, dips, patés as you’d expect. So put together a picnic and head for a park—or even picnic in your hotel room: delicious and relaxing for a tired evening. One of the best places to go is La Grande Epicerie at le Bon Marché department store. Or the food hall, Lafayette Gourmet at Galeries Lafayette department store. Next to their upstairs restaurant is an outdoor terrace with great rooftop views of Paris—it’s not a glamorous picnic spot but it does have great views.
Markets: These are great places to see a city living its real life, hearing the language, seeing the foods. Renting a small apartment and cooking for yourself can be a great way to save money and feel like a local. There are excellent food markets dotted all over Paris. Some of the best are Aligre market (12th arrondissement), Bastille market (11th arrondissement) the Maubert Market (5th arrondissement) and Place Monge Market (5th arrondissement). Organic food markets include Marché Raspail (6th arrondissement) on Sunday mornings, and the Batignolles market (17th arrondissement) on Saturday mornings. St-Quentin is the city’s biggest covered market and is near the Gare de L’Est (10th arrondissement).