Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Mar 29, 2011 08:31 AM

We're going to Paris for three nights. We are on a budget. Where can we eat?

If this topic has been done before, please feel free to point me to appropriate threads!

We have £400 between the two of us to last us for the holiday - this is about 450EUR. For reasons too dull to go into we can't pull out more cash whilst we're there, so we're needing to stick to the budget. Where are some great but cheap/mid-price places to eat? It's my birthday on one of the nights so any nice bistros very welcome. FURTHER CAVEAT: boyfriend is allergic to pulses, so this rules out falafel, vegan and Indian food.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh - anywhere in the centre is fine. We are staying in Porte D'Orleans but will travel around, just as we do in London when we want to do something.

    Also, should mention I speak little French.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JiveBunny

      Chez Denise is centrally located, festive, with a nice menu and reasonable prices. It is possible to have a grand time, with dessert and wine, and get out under 100 Euros. I can't foresee visiting Paris again without going there. Open all night, closed weekends, people speaking English are welcome.

      1. re: JiveBunny

        If there are some PdO locals here, there are probably some local places that are very correct and not too pricey there. Of course, there is La Regalade.

      2. Here is a current thread on the topic of cheap eats:

        You should be able to stay at/under 150 Euros per meal for 2 at most nice bistros and even some restos if you don't go crazy with the drinks; esp. if you stick to the prix fix menus.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DaTulip

          The £400 has to cover everything, not just food. 150EUR per meal is about £130 which we would never spend in London - at least, not three nights in a row.

        2. Life in Paris is expensive. Bakeries are your best friends. You also want to try some of the cheap eats, eg crepes. If you eat out every meal and sit down, your budget is very tight -- it is hard to eat a sit down meal for under 35€ per person. Indeed check out the cheap eats thread. Asian food is your friend but you need to pick them up wisely. Went to Délices de Shandong yesterday and it was awesome, but hardly very Parisian. Feast for 23€pp.

          Picnics are also your friend: get some cheese (be careful as some are expensive) and good bread, eat in a park, bring your pocket knife, and life is good.

          Drinks in cafés are not cheap either, so be careful with them too -- better to buy bottles from a supermarket and carry them in your backpack.

          Your basic choice: do one splurge meal and be on a very tight budget the rest of your three days, or just be on a less tight budget the whole time.

          I don't think bistrots are worth the price. For me, I would focus on cheap food and save some money for the exceptional stuff -- be it fancy pastry at Génin, Marletti, Hermé and others or even lunch at Le Cinq while teatotalling.

          1. Yesterday evening I had a Salers Burger with Cantal cheese at the "Bar des variétés chez Jean", right in front of the Passage 53. With a terrine as an appetizer and a quarter of wine, I paid less than 20 bucks. However my stomach still feels bloated from all the grease... (I can feel all those people at Passage 53 laughing at me...).

            Those kind of places do exist, you get a pretty good deal, for some food that can be ok if you're lucky, but usually is pretty bad.

            However, if my calculations are correct, you have a budget of approximately 37,50€ per meal (if you don't count breakfasts), which perfectly fits into souphie's "35€ per person" mark.

            Considering, for lunch you often have some prix-fixe deals which can be even a bit cheaper, I think if you plan this right you could eat pretty well during all your trip.

            Let us know where you end up going!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Rio Yeti

              Hi - the money isn't a budget for food only, it's for the whole holiday. So we were thinking picnic lunches during the day and a bigger meal in the evening (or vice versa).

              1. re: JiveBunny

                150 euro for all 3 days? When you say it covers all, does it cover all meals, or does it cover all? Including transport and lodging?
                25 euro per day per person?

                1. re: Parigi

                  As I said in the first post, £400 for all three days. To cover transport, food, shopping etc. (We have the hotel sorted.)

                  1. re: JiveBunny

                    My advice is to target one great meal rather than have three average so target your spending by following the recs on others posts.

                    It is far easier to eat badly in Paris than London, in London poor places are obvious (often chain based or bad pubs) in Paris the ambiance and general tourist hubris that comes with the classic neighbourhood bistro often disguises pretty poor cooking. If you really appreciate good food you will see through this and end up disapointed.

                    My advice for budget Paris is to eat breakfast at a bar (leaning against it) and simply have a coffee and croissant from the basket - not the best but better than most countries. For lunch in good weather simply picnic, buy good bread and a some cheese (but only one or two) and maybe some pate and meat and relax in a park. For the cheaper dinners follow the advice for the set €30 meals - and don't drink a lot.

                    Best transport is by foot or buses. And save the shopping for the upturn in the economy.

            2. Well Jive B, Paris is full of good average priced restaurants - you don't necessarily have to go to a three star affair to feel you have had a good meal. Stick with the local bistros in your neighborhood or a brasserie and of course check out the menu before heading on in. I have a blog that might help you a little bit, feel free to see whats what: