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Jan 19, 2008 08:45 AM

Budget food shopping

My partner and I are moving to Paris in a few months (I can't wait!) The only downside is that we'll be on graduate student salaries paid in USD (meaning that we really won't have much money). I'm looking for markets, shops; etc where I can get a good deal on food items. I know the Barbes market, and in the past I've shopped around La Goutte d'Or, but I don't know any of the specific stores there (I've just walked in whenever I saw a place selling grains and beans by bulk, for example). I'm looking both for places where I can stock up on basics, like grains and beans, as well as other possibly cheaper markets for fruits and veggies. We'll be living near la place des vosges, but i'm willing to travel. We don't eat much meat - but if you have suggestions for a reasonable boucherie or charchuterie, bring it on! Thanks!

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  1. Wow. On the one hand, I'm totally jealous - I miss my grad-student-in-Paris days.
    OTOH, I sure am glad the dollar was strong when I did live there. (2000, 2001). Made a lot of things doable that I couldn't really do now.
    My main suggestion would just be to economize when you can - pack lunches, drink your coffee at home, etc. but you probably knew that already.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Loblaw

      I know - I lived there in 2000-01 as well, and have spent several summers there since, and it's never been so difficult! oh well - at least i get to be in paris :)

    2. Have you been to the Passage Brady in the 10th? I go there to buy bulk items--lentils of all sorts, basmati rice, nuts, Indian pickles & chutneys, spices etc. For "ethnic" ingredients, especially, you will pay less than at the regular supermarkets. And if you are a man, you can get a haircut for 6 euros (my husband hasn't tried that yet). The grocery is called Velan; its website is

      1. You are very close to to the Bastille Market on Boulevard Richard Lenoir it is on Thursday and Sunday mornings. It is pretty big with a wide range of stalls and I always found the prices to be quite good.

        There is a very big Auchan hypermarket in the shopping centre at La Defense which is on Line 1 so easy from the Marais. It has a very big range. I believe the prices are good - better than the city centre Monoprixs or G20's. There are bound to be other large hypermarkets in reach of the metro but I am afraid I am not that knowledgeable.

        Also it may be a good idea to head out to Tang Freres (Porte d'Ivry metro in the 13eme), this is Paris's Chinatown and Tang is a big supermarket, there is also a rival just along the street. Both are good for cheap Asian foods and ingredients.

        1. Thanks PhilD and henricat! I've never tried the passage Brady, but it sounds perfect. I'm glad to hear the Bastille market isn't comparatively expensive (i wasn't sure how the prices compared the last time i was there - this weak dollar makes everything seem so expensive!)

          3 Replies
          1. re: patz

            <this weak dollar makes everything seem so expensive!)> imho this weak dollar makes everything REALLY so expensive! scary!

            1. re: patz

              Just one clarification about the shop Velan in Passage Brady: you won't find bulk items, but, rather, large packages of staples (rice, lentils, spices), for less than you would pay at mainstream groceries (Monoprix, for example). And I believe someone else suggested Tang Freres in the 13th. I have shopped there, but without an automobile, I find it less convenient than Passage Brady.

              1. re: henri cat

                that's fine - our apt is so small, that we won't be able to handle much in bulk anyhow!