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Paris on a budget?

Hi all--

I've been reading the recommendations and they have been helpful. My question is this...what are your recommendations for eating in Paris on a budget but still enjoying the Parisian experience? (of course understanding that the dollar to euro exchange sucks).

I will be in Paris Nov 13-15. I'd like to aim for $100 per day or less, and I think thats doable, but wanted to get ideas advice and any specific recommendations you might have. We are staying in the 18th but I feel comfortable with being able to get around the city using public transportation.

Thanks for any thoughts or advice.

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  1. Are you sure you want to stay in the 18th? Well, at least you'll have a lot of bargains up there.
    My recommendation would be to go to any finer dining spots for lunch, as it's usually cheaper. You may be able to get away with lunch for 25-35 euros. At least one day, you should do a nice/fanicer lunch. Try L'Epi Dupin...their prix fixe lunch includes a glass of wine and a coffee. Really great!!
    You can get away with grabbing a croissant or baguette for breakfast from the bakery and eating in your hotel room, then stopping at a cafe for a coffee or tea later. Don't pay for breakfast at the cafe.
    Also consider street food like crepes for lunch and just have a seat on a park bench. The weather could be a problem...it is the rainy season.
    Also consider visiting the markets for some roasted chicken. Pick up a bottle of wine, a baguette and bring it back to wherever you are staying. Wine and chicken are staples in Paris!
    For cheaper dining options, visit the 5th. Lots of students there, and the prices reflect that. Also, in the 7th, there are a number of places around the Am. Univ. of Paris that are well priced.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChicagoKat

      We are travelling on a package so the 18th is where the hotel is, I didn't really have much choice in the matter, thanks for your advice! It sounds a lot like what I was planning, good to have my ideas echoed by someone with experience

    2. Dear Caseykay68 - I was planning on posting an identical message! We will also be in Paris November 15 -17 and I have been reading these boards dreaming of the lovely meals. However, with the dollar/euro exchange rate, we must be really careful with our budget. Hope you don't mind me jumping in on your post.

      Our hotel is in the 5th - across the street from the Pantheon. We plan to spend one day at the Louvre, 1 day trip to Versailles, and 1 day just walking around. Any more recommendations on restaurants in the 5th?

      Not to sound negative on the advice, as the bread, cheese, crepes on the park bench sound fun, but the weather may prohibit that. Second, we have a tiny hotel room with only a bed, so not sure about eating roast chicken and a baguette on the bed - too many crumbs.

      Ethnic food is okay....Just really want decent food.

      Thanks for the L'Epi Dupin recommendation. and thanks in advance for other recommendations!


      2 Replies
      1. re: debkamp

        Hello - It is very possible to do a nice restaurant for dinner or to do a nice lunch, if you are careful about the other meals of the day. In the 5th, there is a restaurant called Le Petit Pontoise. I believe we had a dinner for two, with a bottle of wine, for like 80.00/euros. There are many restaurants in Paris where this is possible. Of course, you may not want to do this everyday as then you would basically be saving all of your budget for one meal. But, I think if one is to go to Paris, it is nice to enjoy a lunch or dinner in one of the many great bistros in the city.

        Also, there are many great bakeries in the 5th where you can pick up something for breakfast.

        1. re: debkamp

          No problem at all...I am so looking forward to it, we will both have to report back on our trips.

        2. Cafe Mouffetard on the rue Mouffetard (5me) has divine breakfast food... the very best brioche I've ever eaten and gorgeous croissants and pain complet as well... all house made.

          One of my favorite places for dinner is Les Fontaines on the rue Soufflot between Blvd. St. Michel and rue St. Jacques. It looks more like a bar from the outside, but inside they serve really delicious, reasonably priced food.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune

            ChefJune, do you have an address or a cross street for Cafe Mouffetard? Based on your enthusiastic recommendations, their croissants are on my 'to try' list for my upcoming trip

            (I tried a Google search and PagesJaune and could not come up with it.)


            1. re: shortstop

              I don't have the book with me, but I can check tonight. However, it's down near the base of the street, where the market is located.

          2. I agree with the idea of just picking up a pastry for your breakfast ... no matter how cold it is (and I doubt it will be prohibitively so), you can still walk with it - kill two birds with one stone - get breakfast and see beautiful Paris while having breakfast. I'd also recommend having a falafel for lunch one day at one of the places on Rue Rossiers. Delicious, and it will set you back less than 6 euros. I had a fabulous lunch at Fish (in the 5th on Rue Seine) for around 40 euros - starter, main and dessert cheese plate, and a glass of wine to go with each course.

            A wonderful free thing to do is walking around Pere Lachaise cemetery.

            Hope you have a great time.

            1. To stay within your budget, you should plan to have a nice lunch each day and a simple dinner. Ze Kitchen Galerie in th 6th is a wonderful lunch choice, One day you could have a cheap lunch and have dinner at l'Os a Moelle in the 15th. 5 courses for 36 euros and the food is wonderful. Reasonable wine list too.

              Wine tip: Stay away from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Overpriced. Choose wines from the south and southwest (Rhone valley, Provence, and Languedoc). Much better value.

              1. We went in April/May and had an excellent time without spending a fortune. We bought the book "Paris on $95 a Day" by Frommer's and found it extremely helpful (great tips on how to save on other things too, not just dining). My son had recently moved there so he also had already scoped out great places without killing the wallet so we weren't typical tourist learning as you go.

                My favorite meal was a pre fix of 32e dinner at Le Clos des Gourmets (just around the corner from eiffel tower, so we got to watch it shimmer for 10 min, - every hour after 10pm). Other great meals/deals: Le Pre Verre (great pre fix lunch deal 12e-20e, dinner might be 25e), Au Trou Normand - excellent and great deal both lunch and dinner, Ribouldinque - excellent pre fix dinner ( under 30e). Definately enjoy a falafel in Le Marais. Lots of great food in the markets too. You'll have a blast, I can't wait to go back.

                1. I have been compiling from Chowhound boards and other sources for the same idea. You can easily find many bistros/brasseries for dining on a budget with a simple search. Thought I would give you some of the places with unique experiences that I plan on trying. This is my first trip with my kids--I thought I had done it all-but there are many fun eateries that are different and interesting. Here you go:
                  Ambassade d'Auvergne www.ambassade-auvergne.com-features a mashed potato/cheesy thing called aligot they whip up and stretch tableside in a theatrical fashion. Also great lentil salad. Cous-Cous at Chez Omar, Wally or Le Souk. Academie de la Biere-for moules and frites. Seems kinda like a french sports bar? Flams for an alsacian flatbread like pizza-www.flams.fr. Flo Brasseries www.flobrasseries.com. Company owns many large brasseries like la coupole and bofinger--not the MOST amazing, but good and 20% off if you book online. Pizza Vesuvio www.vesuviocafe.com. And an unique looking pasta bar, Curieux Spaghetti Bar, www.curieuxspag.com. Of course l'As du Falafel which is recommended constantly on CH. Don't forget to go to the outdoor markets and pick up stuff-that can be great. Also, any cafe for lunch for a croque-monsieur or salad, there is no need to go to a "restaurant" for lunch.

                  1. I leave for Paris in the afternoon on the first! Our fourth trip in four years!

                    Do the Falafels, have roasted chicken and wine, baggette and whatever with coffee in your room, buy wine at the grocery store, buy cheese there, too. However, I'd stay away from street vendors and bakery sandwiches... many friends blame several days of food poisoning on these guys. Instead, go to the grocery stores and buy their deli take-out stuff and some fruit. I like the open air markets, too!

                    And now, here ....drumroll please!... are my three favorites ... not the best, but I have gone back each time and will again... # 1.) L'avant Gout in the 13th 26 rue Bobillot...call ahead 0153802400 ...just a great place for really great food that won't break the Federal Reserve...a short hike south of place de Italia; #2.) Le Canton 0143265186 ...French twist to Chinese...get a soup, an appetizer and two main dishes... I tend to stay with the shrimp and fish dishes and a Sancerre... in the 6th at 5, rue Gozlin, a tiny street off St. Germaine... best Chinese outside of San Fran! ...and, close to several Metros; and, #3.) last, but not least, Bistro de Breteuil in the 7th, which is a real value...lot's of choices, lots of wine with your choices, a really upscale Parisian neighborhood, with lots of locals...place your reservation early at 0145670727 3, place de Breteuil, which is directly south of Napoleon's Tomb and close to the Metro.

                    I have all this info at my fingertips because my wife made sure that I packed their cards in my passport pouch.

                    1. I gotta say some more to qualify my suggestions.

                      I like good food.

                      I am not a pig.

                      I am not interested in meals that cost more than ten Africans make in ten years. Done that. Got sick. Re-thought the process. Changed my mind about "power eating."

                      I fill my suitcase with salad dressings from the Paris grocery stores.

                      Which reminds me, if you ditch the water glasses, that tray in your room makes a great platter for salad for two...discovered that eating TJ's salad and dressing with meat and cheese in the Mark Hopkins in SF! (We were sick of eating out and wanted a night alone...drank some white 2 Buck Chuck, too!)

                      1. i live in the 18th. there are some great snack and lunch options: incredible tarts at Les Petits Mitrons on rue lepic (try the apricot + berry); good sandwiches, pastries & stuffed breads at the old-fashioned bakery on abbesses heading toward lepic (not the one on the place des abbesses); hearty, cheap fare at the wine bar Aux Negociants (27 rue lambert near the rue custine) - they give you the whole terrine, cheese, etc. and are open mondays (closed weekends); if you're up for takeout, the rotisserie chickens at Chicken Family on abbesses are great, as are the 2-euro gratins - pick up a hazelnut sausage @ nearby butcher jacky gaudin and you're set; for breakfast, head down rue des martyrs to the rose bakery and get a bacon and tomato quiche: perfect. and if you're really adventurous (and hungry), i have to say the touristy, rollicking fondue place Le Refuge des Fondues on the rue des trois freres is fun once you let yourself get into it. the whole meal, wine included, is 16euros. plus, they're open till midnight. have fun!