Paris is an expensive city. Not every tourist can afford eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day in restaurants. Here are 10 places where you can eat quickly and cheaply. Don’t let a limited budget keep you from enjoying this beautiful city.
Cheap French cuisine
If you want real French cuisine and not very expensive, look for Bouillon. It’s not the name, but the type of establishment. Be prepared that it’s more of a canteen than a restaurant. You will be assigned to a table, the waiter will be fast but not very friendly. The portions are small, but for the price they are excellent. You can try snails, rooster in wine, and many other purely French dishes. And a bottle of wine costs 13–15 euros. You just can’t find other places with such a price-quality ratio.
One way they keep prices down is that you can’t reserve a table here. You’ll have to stand in line, and it can sometimes can take an hour.
The Bouillon Chartier is considered one of the best. There’s one in Montparnasse, but the most famous restaurant is in Montmartre. It’s been open for more than 100 years and the atmosphere is quite historical.
Near Pompidou Center just two steps from metro station Rambuteau (line 11) there’s a fast food restaurant called Flunch (the address is 21 rue de Beaubourg). You can get a steak and salad at the same prices as food in McDonalds.
Just be careful: the restaurant has an unusual system. First you’ll pick your food, then pay at the cashier. You can pick as many sides as you want in the dining room after you pay. But before you get to the sides, it’s easy to accidentally pick up extras like a salad or dessert along with your meal, coffee and bread because it won’t look like enough without your side.
There’s also a Flunch on Montmartre at 1-3 rue Caulaincourt.
At the exit from Tuileries you’ll see crepes stands. You can get french pancakes with various sweet or salty additions like sugar, chocolate and jam or cheese, chicken and eggs, for example. In general, there are many crepe stands all over Paris. Pick whichever you want.
In creperies you can also get a galette. It’s something between a pizza and an open pie. Get the ham and cheese galette, and your hunger will be defeated.
» READ MORE – Famous french desserts: where to try them in Paris
Parisian boulangeries have been spreading the seductive aroma of croissants through the streets since early morning. At lunchtime, bakeries offer not only sweets but also hearty pies, such as the French quiche. It’s a shortbread pie filled with fish or chicken, vegetables, and an omelet.
Finally, try an authentic French sandwich! It’s a huge sandwich of baguette, ham, tomatoes and cheese. If you add a cup of coffee to it, you have the standard lunch of a student of the Sorbonne.
Near the Eiffel Tower there’s nothing to eat except for crepes and waffles. Another food option is to go to the Champs de Mars, turn left and you’ll find several grocery stores (like Carrefour City). You can buy a baguette, French ham and cheese, a bottle of wine or beer and go back to the Champs de Mars and eat on the grass. A picnic with a view of the Eiffel Tower: what could be better?
Don’t want to eat cold? Many French supermarkets (for example Monoprix) have a microwave corner. If you choose a ready-made lunch in a cassalette, you can immediately reheat and eat it.
In what areas of Paris can I eat cheaply?
On Champs Elysees – McDonalds
There’s a McDonalds on Champs Elysees. Don’t laugh. In reality, Champs Elysees is the most popular tourist place in Paris where you can find the most expensive shops. The price for a square centimeter of space will make you sick. The cost of food is quite high. For example, a cup of coffee could cost you 40 Euros!
So you’ll at least know how much you’ll be spending on food in chain cafes like McDonalds and Quik. There’s also a McDonalds near the Louvre, in the Louvre, in the Latin quarter and elsewhere.
This neighborhood is around Saint Michel fountain. Did you get hungry while walking around Notre-Dame? Go to the left bank of the Seine, then to the left of the fountain or the right of Notre-Dame. You’ll end up in the area with the cheapest tourist restaurants in Paris. Here you can try real French food for, let’s say, 10 Euros.
But it’s true that it won’t be really real for this money. We recommend being on guard and picking a menu that’s a bit more expensive, and don’t hope to meet a French chef. Once more, be very careful! Here they might try to sell you water, which should be free if it’s in a pitcher, or they may recommend microscopic portions.
The whole hill of Montmartre is covered in various cafes, bars, and restaurants. There are many more touristy restaurants closer to Tertre Square, like on San Michael. They may be inexpensive, but they’re not always tasty. You’ll also find expensive restaurants that have their own history from when they were a dive bar where impressionists hung out.
On the hill’s slopes you’ll find an abundance of French cafes and bars, Italian pizzerias and restaurants with foreign food. All you have to do is turn from the metro and go down the hill. Just don’t go up to Sacre-Coeur.
The Bastille isn’t just a former royal fortress or a modern opera theater. The Bastille is where Paris’s nightlife is! There’s an unbelievable number of discotheques, bars, and cafes where you can eat, drink, and enjoy life.
Shawarma and falafel in Paris
Parisian kebabs are made with flatbread, filled with cut meat, vegetables and sauces. You can also add French fries to it. In the end, you’ll get fairly tasty, filling and absolutely inexpensive food that you can eat quickly while sitting on the stairs of Garnier Theatre. There are kebabs everywhere in the city, for example, near Place de la Republique or near Saint Michel.
Another real Parisian experience is falafel in the Jewish quarter. Marai has had a Jewish community for several centuries, and there’s a pair of streets (the main one is rue Rosiers) that sell flatbread with chickpeas and vegetables. It’s quite good, inexpensive and authentic. You should definitely try Parisian falafel on your trip.
Sushi and Chinese cuisine
Parisians look at these foods as a quick and inexpensive office lunch. The standard menu is made of soup, salad, rice and a set of sushi and poppy seeds. It’s enough to fill you up all day! Like kebabs, sushi and Chinese cafes are all throughout the city, like on Rue de Rivoli and near Saint Michel and Defense.
Of course, you shouldn’t take these tips as a gastronomic guide. Nevertheless, they will help you get through a few hours or even days. But you can be craftier.
If you want to eat on a budget and are willing to spend some time on theoretical preparation, visit Les Petites Tables. It’s in French, but it’s generally intuitive, and you can use an automatic Google translator.
Les Petites Tables was created by two gourmet friends. They collect on their resource eateries and restaurants, where you can really have a good meal for less than 10 euros. The main advantage is that you can find small, family-run French restaurants with low prices and eat normal food, not fast food.
If you’re on a limited budget, these tips may help you survive a few hours or even days! There’s lots of wonderful food available throughout Paris at affordable prices if you know where to look.