Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Mar 4, 2013 03:43 PM

Good Cheap Places to Eat in Paris 2e

My daughter is studying in Barcelona this year, and I'm meeting her for a week in Paris at the end of March. We have an apartment in the 2e, near Reaumur-Sebastopol. I don't know this quartier at all. We aren't fancy-food people - when I was younger and worked in Paris, I lived with a family that cooked and ate together every night, and the food was out of this world delicious, but just well-made home cooking from the best ingredients. We like to cook but don't want to spend our short seven days doing a lot of cooking. We plan to eat lunch out, and pick things up for dinner most days. But some days we'll take a lunch with us and will want to eat dinner out. We are on a VERY tight budget - about 20 euros for our one meal out per day for each of us. Does anyone have suggestions in our neighborhood or near the most famous places? I worked at the Pantheon and love R. Mouffetard, but I know it is very touristy. Also love the Marais and look forward to discovering Canal St. Martin. But we'll need places all around the city that are affordable and tasty, and we like just about any cuisine.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Rue Mouffetard IS pretty touristy, but they do have some good food and wine finds there. Our apartment was not far from there, and we got our roast chicken from a stand there, (we didn't care too much for the potatoes - had to doctor them up a bit). and we had a good (not great) dinner at the Cafe Mouffetard for about 25 Euros for both of us! Copious amounts of food! Cafe Mouffetard has changed, if you haven't been there in 10 years. Used to be a couple who made all the breakfast breads in house... Not any more. It's much more a "regular" restaurant.

      1. I should have mentioned that we do not drink wine, which is part of how we'll survive on such a small food budget! Thanks for the Cafe Mouffetard tip. I've read about lots of good eateries around Canal St. Martin, but does anyone have any suggestions in the 2nd, particularly for lunch at 20 euros or less per person?

        3 Replies
        1. re: cynthiaj

          I have enjoyed the low key little bistro "Le Mesturet" on Rue Richelieu and it will fit your budget.

          1. re: Laidback

            Another vote for Le Mesturet.

            Near Réaumur-Sébastopol is my fave Banh Mi place, 7 rue de Volta. But it's takeout only, and it is Vietnamese.

            Under 20 euro, even without wine, is not realistic for dining out. But the above takeout place will do. On top of this big constraint, you specify 2nd arrondissement. How about streamlining your conditions and try not to give yourself so much limit.
            Can you up your budget?
            Can you go to other parts of Paris?
            Ptipois and I had a faab lunch recently at Dans Les Landes, no wine, 20 euro per person. It is nowhere near the 2nd.

          2. re: cynthiaj

            We've been to Les Petit Carreaux at the top end of rue Montorgueil near Reaumur many times. They have nice salades composes for about 14-18 euros. My hubby swears by the Caesar salad with the huge shards of parmesan and the soft boiled egg on top with all its runny goodness. I have had the planche campagnarde a few times and a decent blanquette de veau one cold November lunch. (oh, and the servers are not hard on the eyes, lol)

          3. One caveat about the suggestion I'm about to make: There has been a recent report from a Chowhound of being unimpressed with this place, but we really loved our meal at Domaine de Lintillac in the 2nd. I went there based on a positive mention on Chowhound.

            We had the cassoulet and the duck confit with pommes salardaises. Also paté de monbazailac. Prices are shockingly low and definitely fit your budget. If you don't stray far from these suggestions, I think you'll enjoy it a lot.

            Restaurant Domaine de Lintillac
            10, rue Saint Augustin - Paris 2ème
            01 40 20 96 27


            1. Under 20€ is very do-able for lunch but limits you to ethnic or takeaway for dinner.

              The immediate area around Réaumur-Sébastopol is kinda blah so, instinctively, I'd head east on the rue Réaumur for 1) the café inside the Musée des Arts et Metiers (love the space, love the ambiance) for lunch and/or dinner but only feasible if you have a Paris Museum Pass to get in without having to pay the 6.50€ entrance fee, 2) the trendy North African restaurant le 404 on the rue Gravaillers for the under-20€ lunch deal but much more expensive for dinner, and (maybe) 3) the basque restaurant Au Bascou on the rue Réaumur for a 2-course lunch with no bottled water or coffee but you'd have to check the current menu to see if it's do-able for you. For hang-out cafés, Les Arts-et-Metiers on the rue Réaumur and Café Léonard on the rue Turbigo both have great terraces for people-watching and are probably fine for simple snacks. Going north on the boulevard Sébastopol, you can also investigate the ethnic eateries in the Passage Ponceau ... I've never tried any but friends say some are quite decent. And a mild warning: Although its warren of small streets and passageways have all the ingredients for charm, the patch between the boulevard Sébastopol and the rue Aboukir north of the rue Réaumur can seem somewhat tacky in places.

              In a 5 to 10-minute walking radius, prospects improve considerably. For ultra good-value ethnic, the tiny Chinese resto Le Lac de l'Ouest on the rue Volta and the Banh Mi (black shopfront, no sign) joint next door for Vietnamese sandwiches. Although I haven't been for a long time, Le Vertbois on the rue Vertbois is usually a good bet for excellent-value trad cuisine (15€ lunch "formule")... they can seem a little insistent on wine but just smile sweetly and refuse. The trad and very cutesy Le Taxi Jaune on the rue Chapon for an excellent lunch deal (with a caveat for hippophagie-phobes: Trigger in one form or another is a choice on the menu) and might even be a candidate for dinner if you share a starter and a dessert. For takeaway for dinner in your apartment, the Duc de Montmorency deli on the rue Montmorency or the mini-restos and stalls in the Marché des Enfants Rouges on the rue Bretagne... there's also a good selection of cafés and brasseries/bistros on the rue Bretagne where you can probably get away with a one- or two-course dinner and certainly a decent lunch in your budget range: Le Sancerre @ rue des Archives, Le Charlot @ the rue Charlot and (my favourite) Le Progrès on the corner of the rue Vieille du Temple.

              Going south on the boulevard Sébastopol or rue St Denis, the first decent restaurant in your budget range is probably Le Pas Sage (clever name, no?) in the Passage du Grand Cerf off the rue St Denis... food is not exceptional and not even very French but the ambiance is very Parisienne. I'd also check the menu at the somewhat overpriced Chez Mémé on the rue St Denis to see if there's any "formule" that might fit your budget... great trad cuisine, lovely ambiance, appealing décor but I fear somewhat too expensive for you. L'Apibo on the rue Tiquetonne does a plat du jour + coffee lunch special for under 20€ and is usually quite good for the price.

              Canal St Martin. Lots of choices: for a non-fussy carnivore's delight at great prices, Bang! at 112 quai Jemmapes; the cutesy Michelin-Bib Chez Marie Louise on the rue Marie-et-Louise... a fab 2-course lunch for 14€, 3-course for 18€; Bistrot des Oies on the rue Marie-et-Louise... haven't been in a year or so but seem to remember a 15€ lunch formule; Chez Prune on the quai Valmy/ rue Beaurepaire for a salad and peoplewatching; le Petit Cambodge on the rue Alibert/ rue Bichat for cheap and cheerful but not terribly authentic sample of Indochine grub (and the stools are very uncomfortable).

              Notre Dame. On the Right Bank on the rue Lavandières-Sainte-Opportune in the 1st, the sleek and modernish BAM and the cutesy and trad Au Vieux Comptoir both have under-20€ lunch formules.

              Louvre. Bistrot des Victoires on the rue Vrillière between the gardens of the Palais Royal and the place des Victoires... cheap and very crowded with local office workers; Café de l'Epoque on the rue Croix des Petits Champs/ rue Bouloi. Au Petit Bar on the rue Mont Thabor ... tiny cantine for lunch and early dinner... very old school, very affordable... if no table available, get takeaway for eating in the Tuileries gardens

              Musée d'Orsay. 10-minute walk required: Le 122 on the rue Grenelle... 2-course lunch for 18.50€... excellent nosh; La Laiterie Sainte-Clothilde on the rue Bellechasse... lovely bistro du quartier (and you can hook up your daughter with a young leftie "deputé" on a lunch break from the nearby Assemblée Nationale)... probably 20€ for lunch. If you are too tired for a walk, la Frégate on the quai Voltaire/ rue du Bac... 18€ lunch formule or just a salad... standard brasserie fare... lots of tourists.

              Eiffel Tower. Again, walking required. 1) Au Dernier Métro on the boulevard Grenelle across from Dupleix métro in the 15th... although prices have risen significantly, still ok for a very good lunch under 20€. 2) Aux Marches du Palais on the rue Manutention in the 16th... lovely little bistro on a side street that leads up from the river to the Palais de Tokyo... I usually go for dinner so not sure if they still have an under-20€ lunch formule.

              Champs Elysées. Pas possible to find good and cheap so hop on the #73 bus to the Argentine stop on the rue de la Grande Armée for a short walk to La Maison on the Place St-Ferdinand... better than average brasserie and lots of fun... you can easily get a shared starter, main course each, and a shared dessert to keep within your budget.

              Latin Quarter/ Rue Mouffetard. 1) Lilane on the rue Gracieuse just off the place Monge... really good cuisine and great lunch formule... my favourite resto in the quartier. 2) Cave la Bourgogne on the rue Mouffetard across from St Medard Church ... a really above average brasserie... a little pricey but, since it's a brasserie, you can pick and choose... maybe two starters or a shared plat ... and great location perfect for peoplewatching.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Parnassien

                Thank you for these wonderful suggestions! I've mapped them all, along with a few I've found from other sources, and now we have a custom map of places to eat in Paris that are affordable for someone on a budget. When we return, I'll give a report of the places we enjoy. One question: I read about Au Dernier Metro somewhere else and would like to add it to my map, but Google maps can't find it, and I don't find it by googling it, either. Do you know if it is still in business? If so, do you know a cross street to help navigate to it? Thanks again for your very generous post!

                1. re: cynthiaj

                  110 Avenue de Suffren, 75007 Paris

                  1. re: cynthiaj

                    (click on the map to expand
                    it) I've seen reviews as recent as this past January, so it's probably still in business.

                      1. re: cynthiaj

                        Glad to be of help.

                        And two more adds for your neighbourhood: 1) Jolideli on the rue Borda just off rue Réaumur on the other side of Arts-et-Métiers... a very good and very affordable salad-&-sandwich place but they also have great stuff for takeaway... not a traditional épicerie/traiteur so no cutesy factor and some non-French products; and 2) Picard Surgelés at 35 rue Réaumur... branch of a very famous frozen food chain... products are actually quite good... so much so that lots of cheap restaurants, cafés, etc (especially in the tourist zones) serve Picard/other frozen food or sous-vide brands like Métro to their unsuspecting customers... if you have a microwave in the apartment, you can save a few euros by cutting out the restaurant mark-ups and just eat the same food at home.

                        I would have suggested a lot of bar à vins as a great option for relatively cheap light meals. But, since they make their profits on the wine, I'm not sure how they would react to non-wine-drinkers. I was afraid you'd get dose of our traditional French sarcasm and feel stung and uncomfortable. But, if you post your map link here, maybe I can add them for others.

                        Actually, now that I think about it, La Cloche des Halles on rue Coquillière @ rue Coq Héron in the 1st is a wine-bar with fab charcuterie/ cheese platters, great tartes, and more-than-nice owners who'd probably be more welcoming to non-wine folks... and quite café-ish during the day in any case... around a 10-min walk from Réaumur-Sébastopol, and a few minutes less from the Louvre.

                      2. re: Parnassien

                        Well, I did just find Au Dernier Metro on the web - there are lots of positive reviews on Trip Advisor. I was searching for "restaurant" and found it under "bistrot" so please ignore my last post!

                        1. re: Parnassien

                          Thanks, Parn, for another of your thoughtful and considered proposals. Keepers, all.