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Budget Eating in Paris

Updated on December 7, 2015

Eating In Paris

Café "les deux magots" Paris 6ème , France.  Here you will pay around 20 euros for a salad as a main course.
Café "les deux magots" Paris 6ème , France. Here you will pay around 20 euros for a salad as a main course. | Source

Eating In Paris

France is well known worldwide for its gastronomic tradition. While you are on vacation in Paris one of the things you need to do is to taste the traditional cooking. French cooking varies from region to region and according to seasonal produce which means that you will find a wide variety of foods and restaurants if you want to taste French food.

If you are on a budget but still want to have a taste of the French gastronomy I recommend you choose carefully your eating places in Paris. Do not be fooled by fast food restaurants, in Paris like many other cities you will find Mc Donalds, Burger King and similar places to eat. However, bear in mind that eating at a fast food restaurant you will not be saving that much money and you will miss out on a very important part of France; its gastronomic tradition. To give you an example, in a fast food restaurant you can find a child’s meal for as little as €4. Not very much, yes; but in a traditional French restaurant you can also find a child’s menu for as little as €5 with a much wider and richer choice than the one offered by the fast food place.

eating at a creperie in Bercy Village
eating at a creperie in Bercy Village | Source

Things To Look For When You Are Eating On A Budget in Paris

  • If you have a limited budget I suggest you head towards the quartier Latin. You will find a wide choice of restaurants there at very competitive prices.
  • Look for set-price menus especially the ones including starter, main course, dessert and coffee. At least you will know exactly how much you will be paying before you sit down. Eating “a la carte” can very soon mount up without you noticing as some restaurants charge separately even for the bread.

Foie Gras
Foie Gras | Source

Things To DO If You Are Eating In A Budget In Paris

  • Drink the house wine, it is usually good. If you are on a budget avoid asking for bottled wine from the wine list. A bottle of wine can cost you more than your entire meal.
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled water. Bottled water is very expensive in French restaurants. You are better drinking plain water from the tap (just ask for a carafe d’eau) . The house wine can also be cheaper than bottled water.
  • Look at the prices before you sit down. Restaurants have their prices at the door so do not be embarrassed to stop and look before you sit down.
  • Avoid expensive areas such as the Champs Elysees. A coffee in a terrace there can be more expensive than a whole meal somewhere else.
  • Look for the Formule du Jour, it is usually a set menu that includes a starter and main course; main course and dessert or starter, main course and dessert. The prices are usually very affordable and you might have a 3-course meal from under 20 euros.
  • If you are in a budget avoid taking the aperitive. If the waiter asks you if you want a drink before you order just say NO. Drinks can add rather a lot to your bill. Ordinarily the French would just ask for a "carafe d'eau" to drink with their meals.
  • Beware tea drinkers. While a cup of coffee after your meal might set you back 1 or 2 euros, a cup of tea can be as much as 5 euros to add to your total bill.

At A Colombian Restaurant In Paris

At A Colombian Restaurant In Paris
At A Colombian Restaurant In Paris | Source

Free Restaurants In Paris

As amazing as it might sound, there are several restaurants in Paris that offer you a free dinner if you buy the drinks. The menu usually consists of a unique dish which varies from day to day. Some sample dishes are couscous and French fries with mussels. .

Some addresses offering a free dinner for the price of the drinks are:

  • La Cordonnerie at 142 rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris, 01 40 28 95 35. Usually, they have couscous every Thursday and Saturday at 8:30 pm. To top it up, very often they have a live band playing.
  • The Tribal Café at 3 cour des Petites-Ecuries, 75010 Paris, 01 47 70 57 08. The speciality here is mussels with french fries on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 pm. Don't forget the cheapest mojito in town at 5,50 euros. Usually, people wait on the street as the bar is very popular and trendy.
  • La Chope du Château Rouge at 40 rue de Clignancourt, 75018 Paris, 01 46 06 20 10. Here the clients enjoy a couscous every Friday and Saturday night.
  • Le Bal Perdu at 2 rue Charles-Graindorge 93170, Bagnolet. To book your free dinner call 0143629337. Open every day from 7 to midnight. Here you can enjoy a free couscous the last Sunday of every month. Count to pay 2,50 euros for a glass of wine, 2 euros for a beer and 1 euro for a coffee.

It is highly recommended to book your table before you arrive. If you cannot book in advance, at least try to arrive early!

Free Trendy Restaurants In Paris

La Cordonnerie:
142 Rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris, France

get directions

The tribal Café:
3 Cour des Petites Ecuries, 75010 Paris, France

get directions

La Chope du Chateau Rouge:
40 Rue de Clignancourt, 75018 Paris, France

get directions

Cheap Off The Track Restaurants And Take Aways

If you are going near the Moulin rouge and Montemartre I would recommend taking a detour along rue Lepic (just off the Moulin Rouge) where you will find some tantalising fruit shops and Asian restaurants and take-aways at very good prices. Most of the time, sitting down places are very basic but the food is delicious and cheap.

Rue Lepic For Asian Restaurants And Take Aways

Rue Lepic, Paris:
Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France

get directions

Cheap Creperie in Paris

La Crêperie Bretonne Fleurie De l'épouse Du Marin is the perfect place to try some good crepes sweet or savoury. Prices go from 2,70 euros for a crepe aubeurre to 10,40 euros for a crepe with goat cheese and bacon.

Where? At 67 rue de Charonne, 11e Paris. Closed on Sundays.


Crepe from La Crêperie Bretonne Fleurie De l'épouse Du Marin
Crepe from La Crêperie Bretonne Fleurie De l'épouse Du Marin

The Food Lover's Guide to Paris

Try Some Indian Food With A French Touch at Passage Brady

Passage Brady, like its name suggests is a narrow, unassuming street on the 10th arrondissement. A covered passage built in 1928, where you will find numerous Indian restaurants housed on buildings dating back to the 19th century. Be prepared to spend around 10 euros per person eating a set menu during the day. At night time, set menus start at around 15 euros per person.

Inexpensive dining in Paris: Passage Brady

Rick Steves' Pocket Guide To Paris

Picnic In Paris

If you are travelling to France during the warm months I would suggest that at least once you enjoy a picnic in one of the several parks and green areas in the city. Paris has many bakeries offering the most delicious pastries, both salty and sweet. Buy yourself a few patisseries and a good bottle of wine and enjoy it under the shade of the trees.

Picnic at the Hippodrome d'Auteil

If you are a horse lover or you are travelling with a young family I would suggest a picnic at the hippodrome d’Auteil (Bois de Bologne) or Longchamp (Bois de Bologne). They are both open for free during the weekends from mid Mars until mid May. The Parisians love coming here to have a picnic or a barbeque and to enjoy the play areas and shows for children. There are also horse shows, pony trekking, trampolines, etc; and all that for free, including the 4pm snack for children offered by Mc Donalds!!!

For more information you can visit their official site in French Au Galop

Paris: the Capital of Fine Food

© 2011 Wendy Iturrizaga


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    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Well I like having a drink and free food if you do sounds like a really good incentive :-). Nice Hub Princessa

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have never been to Paris but someday hope to make the trip and when I do I will remember reading all the great tips that you have written in your hub.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      7 years ago from France

      alocsin: Paris can be very expensive, but if you take a little time to plan your trip you can find some amazing bargains and excellent rapport quality/price.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Good advice for Paris eats. Linking this to my Paris hub and voting it Up and Useful.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      cherry the chef: thank you, I hope you can take advantage of it at some point.

    • cherry the chef profile image

      cherry the chef 

      8 years ago

      Really lovely sight. You have some great idea. I like it

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      KoffeeKlatch Gals: Yes, there is always next year :-)

      I cannot assure you that the same places will be offering a free dinner for the price of a drink; but at least the restaurants on the Latin Quarter will still offer a very good option for dinning at very competitive prices. The same goes for the take away and epiceries on Rue Lepic, they have been there for a very long time and the chances are that they will continue to offer a good choice of eating places.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Princessa, wonderful information. I wish I had it last year - I could have used it. Oh well, there is always next year.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      Simone: Please do, there are many ways to see Paris without breaking the bank. You can even have a try at the most up market eateries if you choose to take away rather than to sit in as it is the case of having the famous Ladurée macarons or Fauchon's cakes -do not miss them!

      ocbill: Glad to hear that you enjoyed your Paris trip :-)

      Denise: You are welcome!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Princessa- Your hub brought back memories of the trip I took years ago with my oldest daughter. She's a hubber here now, also: cardelean. We followed many of your tips and have some great photos and stories! Thanks

    • ocbill profile image


      8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      I had Chinese food when I took a trip there. It was good but it was gunny as all I could do was point at the menu item. Still, I loved the trip, the scenery, architecture. the countryside, and the metro, but I wish I went in June for the French Open.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, Princessa- this sounds great! I'll be in Paris the June, and shall certainly keep these things in mind!!


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