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Mar 28, 2009 07:14 PM

Poor and hungry visitors to paris

Hey chow hounders - hoping you can help us out. We are traveling to Paris next week with our kids - age 14 and 16. We're New Zealanders en route to the UK. Our NZ dollars go NOWHERE when converted to Euro's. I've read the blogs on brasseries and Bistros but think thats going to be too expensive for the 4 of us. My kids are eaters - very keen on patisserie, charcuterie and bread...We are staying right in the tourist centre near the louvre in a cheapy hotel. We'll need to buy all our meals for 4 days - I'm thinking we can do pastries or macaroons for breakfast, crepes for lunch ( have copied the threads on good cheap crepes - if there are any more suggestions I'm eager to read them) and buy fruit and bread... No idea what to do about dinner and have skinny teenage boy who is always hungry. Don't want to waste our hard earned savings by going to some dumb tourist place when I know there is superb patisserie, cheese etc out there.
Please help us - all suggestions appreciated - specially with directions from city centre!!! There are some threads about morroccan food that sound really good - can we easily get to those areas from city centre? We've never been before and its hard to get a sense of where these places are in relation to where we are staying - Hotel Pontpensier, Rue de Richelieu.
Thanks for your time.

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  1. A few recommendations- visit the rue du buci market on the left bank- they have fresh and prepared foods that are outstanding and not too expensive. Do some research, there are several open air markets and they are great places to buy cheese, wine, cold cuts (which are wonderful) and prepared goods. Also, you are not too far from the galerie lafayette, which has an entire floor of food - huge, huge selection. A lot of prepared dishes, not quite as cheap as the outdoor markets, but quite reasonable. A nice splurge would be Fauchons, they have prepared food that is a bit pricier but top rate. Their breakfast pastries, especially their savory madeleines, are great. Also, they have salted caramels, a unique french candy.
    Two restaurants fit your bill - La table de fes is on 5 rue saint beuve, not too far from saint germaine du pres, but hard to find - make sure to print off a google map. They have great, inexpensive couscous. Huge portions, get one lamb tagine and 2 vegetable couscous dishes to split between 4 people. don't bother with the appetisers. A corny favorite of mine that is somewhat reasonable and is near you is La Souffle. What is the point of going to Paris without trying a soufle, they have main course and dessert ones. It isn't cheap but I remember it as being reasonable. But in general, middle eastern and north african food may be the way to go.

    1. One of the places that we plan on trying is L'as du falafel. They are known for hearty and delicious falafel and are located in the Marais.

      1. My husband and I have also been trying to eat more frugally, and we have "discovered" the Cafe (cafeteria, really) on the mezzanine at the Louvre. It is not really chowhound-worthy, I suppose, but last Sunday we had a sumptuous lunch of braised ham with creamed cauliflower and green beans, for 8,90 euros each, plus wine. They also offer a salad bar, a selection of pizzas, charcuterie and cheese plates, and desserts. At any rate, you can fill up on fairly good food at cheap prices. A bit like eating in a school cafeteria in terms of ambience, though.

          1. re: hychka

            thanks all, I'd already taken on board phyllis cohens sensible suggestions but good to re read them. . I've marked out a couple of markets that we can walk to and will google map la table de fes and Fauchons. If too wet to walk to the market we'll do the cafeteria.
            Thank you so much!!! I can hardly wait.

            1. re: destitute gourmet

              You're near rue Ste-Anne which has a lot of cheap-ish Japanese noodle restaurants. Higuma at 32bis rue Ste-Anne is popular, cheap and hearty.

              1. re: Cookingthebooks

                Second that. Also Jujiya at 46 or 48 is an excellent Japanese fast-food.

                1. re: Cookingthebooks

                  higuma is our favorite cheap noodle joint. usually a line out the door but it moves pretty fast

            2. If you're budget conscious, just don't eat or drink out in Paris. It's never, never a good deal.

              And stay away from luxury shops such as Fauchon, and fake affordable places like La Table de Fes (an excellent couscous, at 35€ pp for the couscous itself).

              The only way to eat out for cheap is to go Asian (and not even in your neighborhood). Even sitting for a coffee will easily cost you 3€ at least in the center of town. Au Dernier Métro last saturday, we ate and drank for 28€pp and felt like it was dirt cheap, which it was.

              Your friends are the supermarkets (esp. Monoprix), the cheese shops, the bakers, the markets, the butchers.... Try crepes if you like but they're really not that great anywhere in Paris.

              How long are you staying? Get in touch if you'd like some help shopping (

              Close to you is Julien, the baker (rue Saint Honoré). There's also the market on rue Montorgueil, very exciting.

              1 Reply
              1. re: souphie

                Souphie, that was a very generous offer you made (to a CH family with the ravenous teenager going to Paris). Because I work all over the world and am normally not a tourist and don’t like spending in restaurants in expensive cities (prefer to spend at home on my daughter), your advice is very close to what I do: try to find markets, bakeries, grocery stores, and more with good, healthy, plentiful foods at affordable prices.