2-3 Weeks in Paris, What MUST I Eat?
So I have 2-3 weeks in Paris on a budget. I'm obviously planning to live mostly off of grocery/markets, though I could use a few suggestions on where I should go for that.
However, what are the things I must have? Not really fancy sit down places, just little places like in the East Village of NYC.
Where should I get my fresh croissant? Baguette? Etc. etc.
Or just point me to some threads/links/sites.
It's not like NYC, as hard as food critics try to make you believe it is. What exists only a Paris is a network of small exceptional food artisans. Where should you geat your croissants and baguettes? From the recommended places on this board that are in your neighborhood or in the neighborhood you're in. Bakeries are the basis of any Parisian foodie on a budget. There's bread and croissants, but also their pastry, sandwiches, sometimes even coffee. Less budget but no less musts are the great pastry and chocolate stores --- Génin, Hévin, Constant, etc.
Other budget musts definitely include farmer's markets -- see their list on paris.fr . Some of the best ones include Raspail on sundays, Poncelet, Cler, Saxe, Lenoir, Blanqui.
I can't think of a bistrot I would recommend to anyone on a budget (not that you asked...). Maybe Au Dernier Métro, if it's not too far for you.
Like you said but one small correction: do not use the term "farmers' markets" in Paris because they are not that. US readers may believe that they are farmers' markets US-style while they are really street markets (permanent or mobile), run by retailers and a minority of producers, and they might expect them to be 100% producers. This never was the case with French markets. This is not to say there are no producers' markets but you'll find them in the regions and at certain dates along some Paris streets ("Marché des producteurs" and the like). I have become extremely cautious about that point because I spent one long thread on another board trying to explain how French markets really worked. I failed; after three pages they still wanted to believe that they were being gypped in French markets because they were not 100% producers.
I agree, Ptipois -- so many people just don't understand...a huge number of these folks are legitimate greengrocers, butchers, cheesemongers, etc...their storefront just happens to be a mobile cart, a tent, or a stand in a market hall, rather than a full-on store of their own.
Doesn't mean that the quality is any less, or that the price is any more, than a regular storefront (and actually, usually better quality and lower price!) -- or buying direct from the producer. (Producers of fruits and vegetables, by the way, usually have 'maraicher" somewhere above their stall -- that means they're the actual producer.)
If you were to search using the window marked "Subject, Topic or Question" above using "cheap eats" I think you will find a wealth of information on good food at inexpensive prices. Amongst this advice you will find answers to your questions. If you still have some questions or want advice on an itemized plan, please post again and we'll have at it.