Eating cheaply in Paris can be a challenge. Paris is one of the more expensive cities in the world, particularly for those of us like me with a husband with a stomach that is like a bottomless pit and two little ones that seem to need constant nourishment and bribes to continue on without complaint.
Prices in Paris tend to run higher than many other European cities. Eating cheaply in Paris can be tough if you don’t know where to look.
With a little creativity, eating cheaply in Paris is completely doable (and I dare say enjoyable) if you shift your thinking. The more you can act like a local and eat picnics in the park and hit the local markets, the better your wallet will be!
Many travel blogs that write about eating cheaply in Paris set a baseline of 15-20 euros for a cheap lunch or dinner. This might be fine for a single budget traveler or couple or someone traveling with friends, but this is not budget friendly for a family.
Frankly, if we each spent 15 or 20 euros every time we ate out, our Paris trip cost would escape the boundaries of our budget pretty quickly.
Below you will find my best suggestions for eating cheaply in Paris. I try to keep all of my suggestions under 10 euros/meal/person, but some of the value minded “splurge” meals do go a little over this. There are also some neighborhoods in Paris where it is almost impossible to eat a real meal for under 10 euros.
Remember – in a pinch, you can get a cheap baguette sandwich from any boulangerie (bakery) in any neighborhood in Paris and still be under 10 euros.
If you enjoy this post about eating cheaply in Paris, check out these when you are done:
- Romance in Paris: Six Ideas for a Romance Filled Day
- Are French People Rude? Breaking French Cultural Stereotypes
- Paris Night Life for Adults: The Pigalle Red Light District
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How Much do Meals in Paris Cost?
A basic, sit down lunch in a simple restaurant in Paris (sandwich, drink, pastry) seemed to average around $10. A value meal at the McDo (what the French affectionately call the Mcdonald’s) ran around $8.
The dinner that we ate at a basic sidewalk cafe (like the ones that you always see in the movies, located in a non-touristy area) cost approximately $25 each for three courses (I had french onion soup, coq au vin and creme brulee, and it was worth every penny). Sit down dinners at nicer restaurants or in more touristy areas would of course cost more.
Starting to feel like the cost of a trip to Paris might not be within your reach once you take into account your nutritional needs? Here is what we learned:
A Map of the Best Cheap Places to Eat in Paris
Cheap Places to Eat in Paris – Paris Restaurant Suggestions (by Neighborhood)
Paris is laid out in sections called Arrondissements. If you are unsure about which Arrondissement you are going to be in while visiting Paris, here is one of the best Paris Arrondissement maps that I have found.
There are some expensive neighborhoods where eating cheaply in Paris is much harder then others. I tried to make note of those below. I also tried to note which neighborhoods were best for finding cheaper options for food.
I did extensive research and digging to save you time in finding good, cheap places to eat in Paris. These are all places that I would not hesitate to eat at with my own family. I hope that you find this list of cheap places to eat in Paris useful when planning your trip!
Bastille (11th Arrondissement)
Bofinger Brasserie: This restaurant is one of the oldest brasseries in Paris. It is located steps from the Place de la Bastille. I hesitate to put this on a list of cheap eats in Paris, because this is a sort of spendy place…buuuuut they do offer a prix fixe lunch menu for 19.90 euros that would be an inexpensive splurge meal if you were looking to eat a nice French meal while you are in Paris.
The CUT: This take out place makes asian style street food and is sure to please everyone in your party because you choose what you want in your dish. The cost is around 11 euros, but portions look like they should be big enough for average eaters to split.
The Marche Bastille (Bastille Market): This street market is one of the largest in Paris. It happens on Thursdays and Sundays on the Boulevard Richard Lenoir. This would be a top choice for us if we were visiting this neighborhood on one of these days to put together an authentic, cheap lunch and a bottle of wine for a picnic!
Luxembourg (6th Arrondissement):
Maison Mulot: This is one of the most popular patisseries in Paris, but they also have reasonably priced sandwiches available for lunch! You can get your choice of sandwich for a few euros with some of the best pastries/cakes/macaroons in Paris and take them to the nearby Jardin Luxembourg for the most wonderful picnic that you can imagine!
Funzy Cafe: This little cafe is down a quiet street and serves simple food at great prices. Salads and omelettes are about 8 euros. A great find that gets good reviews in an otherwise expensive area.
This is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Paris. For more budget friendly options, check out the nearby Latin quarter Paris restaurants below.
Louvre (1st Arrondissement):
Foyer de la Madeleine: This restaurant seems to be based on an interesting concept. You pay a membership fee the first time that you visit (7 euros) and you get discounted meals when you return. Meals include an entrée, main dish and cheese or dessert (not beverages) and cost 9 euros. The restaurant is housed in a fascinating looking historic building…it would be worth a visit just to see this!
L’As du Fallafel: This restaurant is touted on Tripadvisor as being one of the best values in Paris, despite the occasional wait in line. A tip – the wait for dining in is often less, but sitting down to eat is more expensive. Bountiful, cheap sandwiches, amazing looking salads and luscious home made hummus await those who are patient and are looking for a cheap lunch in Paris. Trust me, you will thank me.
Self Service Tullieres: This centrally located, cafeteria style restaurant in the heart of Paris, next to the beautiful Jardin Tullieres and the popular Louvre Museum is a haven for those on a budget. Starters range from 3-6 euros. You can get a large salad for 10 euros. Main dishes are 11 euros. My kids could eat a starter and be happy, or easily split a main dish. Something to make everyone happy, and without the pressure of the normal long dining out experience in France. This is DEFINITELY going on our “short list” for our next visit to Paris!
Izakaya Ramen: This restaurant is noted in Tripadvisor reviews to have good food, generous portions at reasonable prices (for this area, which is notoriously expensive). The restaurant looks simple but adequate, and we would not hesitate to eat here if we were looking for a cheap, filling meal near the Louvre.
Latin Quarter / Rue de Moufettard (5th Arrondissement)
This area is an oasis for budget dining in Paris. It is located just south of the popular Notre Dame and Ile Cite area in central Paris, so there is a good chance you will be nearby a few times during your visit to Paris. This is a great area to save money by dining on inexpensive street food, but if you are looking for Latin Quarter restaurants offering a sit down dining experience, here are a few good options:
Le Volcan: This is an authentic, cozy feeling restaurant on the historic Rue de Moufettard that serves traditional French favorites at value prices. They offer a three course Menu (which includes appetizer, main dish and dessert) starting at 19 euros, which is a great value. You could also choose to order “A la Carte” for a lighter, more budget friendly meal.
Chez les Libanais: This restaurant was recommended by multiple people as I was combing over Tripadvisor reviews, which prompted me to dig further. A filling, quality meal for under 10 euros in Paris definitely fits on my list of cheap eats in Paris. Many reviews mention large portions, which means that you may even be able to split dishes to save a little more.
Little Breizh Creperie: This is a small, neighborhood creperie with a great reputation in the Latin Quarter. The pictures on the reviews were actually making my mouth water! Another bonus, service was noted as being quick, which is important to those of us traveling with kids.
Champs-Élysées (8th Arrondissement)
Unfortunately, there are very few true “budget” restaurants in this expensive area of Paris. You find boulangeries (bakeries) anywhere in Paris and get a sandwich and drink for less than 10 euros, but finding other true cheap dining options was a little more difficult. Here is what I found:
Leon Bruxelles: This is a chain restaurant that specializes in fish and seafood (so if this is not your cup of tea, of you area traveling with kids, this may not be the place for you). They do also have some worthy salad offerings. Barring this, they do offer a “menu” with a main and a dessert for under 20 euros (which for this area is pretty darned cheap!)
Suvarnabhum: Thanks to the Hip Paris blog for this suggestion. This is a Thai restaurant that is located just a couple blocks off of the Champs Elysees. You can eat a reasonable meal here for less than 10 euros, which is a rarity for this expensive area.
Restaurant Monte Carlo: This is a cafeteria style restaurant near the Arche de Triomphe that offers set menus in various configurations starting at 12.80 euros. They advertise traditional French favorites, and because everyone gets to choose exactly what they wish, it is sure to make everyone in your group happy!
Le Marais (3rd/4th Arrondissement)
Breizh Cafe Creperie and Cider Bar: I saw this restaurant and I felt like I had found a hidden gem! This neighborhood crepe cafe has been earning some high praise in the food world. Crepes are a quintessential cheap eat in Paris. You can get them with a number of toppings to please everyone in your group. Here, they raise the humble crepe to an almost gourmet level and you can round out your meal with a refreshing local cider. This is definitely going at the top of our list next time we make it to Paris!
Clark Hot Dog: Gourmet hot dogs would make for an excellent, cheap, fast lunch while sight seeing near Notre Dame in Paris. A simple lunch meal with a hotdog or soup, drink and dessert ranges from 6-9 euros (12 euros with hotdog AND soup). As a bonus hot dogs are ALWAYS popular for those traveling with kids!
Noodle Corner: This authentic Asian noodle shop is a great place to eat a filling meal for under 10 euros. Reviews speak highly of the large portions and good value to be found here. Stir fried noodles with a variety of meat choices for 10.80 euros. Noodles soups are an even better value at 9.80 euros. Splitting meals is sort of a “faux pas” in Paris, but if one got this as takeout, could easily see two of us splitting an order of noodles and a couple of appetizers for a cheap, filling meal for two.
Monmarte (18th Arrondissement)
La Portena: This Argentinian hidden gem near Sacre Couer offers simple menu of tasty, homemade empanadas (sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike). They are very reasonably priced at 4 euros for dining in (3 euros if you get them for takeout.) Reviews on Tripadvisor also noted that they offer good Argentinian wine.
Bouillion Pigalle: DING, DING, DING…budget dining SCORE! Main courses for less than 10 euros. Sides and starters are 2-4 euros. Something else that I noted about this restaurant – the menu includes traditional French favorites, but also has some more hearty, “meat and potatoes” type fare. They have a nice selection of beverages in various sizes of pitchers at reasonable prices (to be shared….or not).
Île de la Cité/Île Saint-Louis: (5th Arrondissement)
Pom’Cannelle: A standout for great light lunch options as well as Berthillion Ice Cream (a local favorite). This modest yet popular spot serves main dishes that are simple yet classic and range between 10-13 euros with a salad. I read that the french onion soup is some of the best in Paris!
Le Petit Pois: This worthy yet inexpensive splurge restaurant offers a small, seasonally influenced menu near the lovely Jardin de Plantes. Lunch time menus are the best value between 21-25 euros.
Tacos Dore: This fast food take out place is located on a quiet street, just down from the Jarden des Plantes. You will find burgers, salads, tacos and wraps, freshly made and ready for you to take for a picnic in the lovely nearby garden. 10 euros will get you a plate that is easily shareable by two people (oh, and they have kids meals!)
Montparnasse: (14th Arrondissement)
This area of Paris is very diverse and it is awash with opportunities for finding cheap eats from all over the world! You won’t have any trouble staying on your food budget here.
Au Reveil du XVE: Recommended by one of my readers, this unassuming casual restaurant gets GLOWING reviews on Tripadvisor (I haven’t eaten here to verify this, but I was told that meals include free wine!)
Le Seiz’Maine: This small bistro is set off of the main tourist route, and has only about 20 tables. They offer a select menu each night (3 appetizers, 3 mains and 3 desserts) starting at 19.50 euros for three courses, which is a great value.
Boullion Chartier, Montparnasse: There is an outpost of this famous art nouveau style brasserie beloved by Parisiens and tourists alike in the Montparnasse neighborhood. It is well known for inexpensive French favorites, so I could not talk about cheap restaurants in this area without listing this, as I think it is almost a MUST to eat at one of the locations during your visit to Paris.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th Arrondissement)
Au Pied de Fouet: This simple French bistro offers simple fare at really reasonable prices in this expensive area. Main dishes are listed between 9-12 euros. Appetizers are between 3-5 euros and wine starts at 3.50 euros/glass. The tables are close, the wine is cheap and flows freely and the prices are really darned good. This is a winner in my book!
Le Petit Olivier, Paris: This restaurant is nothing fancy. It is more like eating a home cooked meal at your grandma’s house. They serve simple French cuisine in a casual, homey atmosphere (eating here is said to be an experience), but a 2 course meal for 10 euros plus an inexpensive pichet of wine in this expensive area is something to be celebrated, as long as you know what you are expecting when you go in.
Eiffel Tower/Champs de Mars (7th Arrondissement)
Again, this is another area of Paris where cheap restaurant choices are limited. Focus your search on the nearby Rue de Grenelle for the best value. Another thought – if we were looking for cheap eats near the Eiffel tower, a sandwich,bottle of wine and a dessert from a nearby boulangerie and a lovely picnic in the Parc de la Tour Eiffel would be high on our list. Nearby Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel wins a lot of votes for the best bakery in the area.
Gusto Italia 218: This little Italian restaurant offers 10-12 euro Italian dishes, as well as pizzas (which can often be split). They get nothing but glowing reviews on Tripadvisor, which also state that it is hard to get a table, so this must be a winner!
Le Royal, Paris: This small French restaurant is right down from Gusto Italia (so you can check out the specials at both to see which is better for you). They offer inexpensive, set menus (13 euros for starter or drink + main dish or 16 euros for starter + main + dessert + wine!) Food in this price range right near the touristy Eiffel Tower is rare. Definitely check this place out!
Au Cerises: 15 euro plat du jour or quiche du jour at this casual, budget friendly find!
Opera (9th Arrondissement):
Boullion Chartier: A Paris favorite of locals and tourists alike. Good, solid French cuisine at reasonable prices in an elegant, historic dining room.
Mam Thai: This is more of a takeout Thai place with a couple of tables in front, but don’t let that put you off. This little hidden gem serves respectable Thai food at amazing prices. 3 euro starters and 9 euro mains means that two people can eat with a beer for 30 euros or less.
Rôtisserie Stévenot Cadet: This takeaway restaurant is a true find for a cash strapped traveler. This is also a great place for families, because you pick your meat and sides, so everybody gets what they want (and takeaway meals are less than 10 euros!) The only thing that is missing is a nice park nearby to eat them at, so you will have to improvise…but definitely a solid budget value.
Other Places to Look for The Best Cheap Eats in Paris
Our Favorite Cheap Meal in Paris
One of the great blessings in Paris (and indeed the whole of France) is the cheap, abundant goodness of fresh baguettes, cheese and wine. This quickly became our favorite cheap lunch in Paris.
You can buy premade sandwiches at almost any boulangerie for 5-7 euros. If you are in a hurry, this is a great option. If you scored some fruit from the market or from breakfast, you might be able to get buy with splitting a sandwich between two people. Even at this level, spending this much for lunch every day for 3-4 of us would not have fit into our budget, so this is what we figured out.
A baguette from any boulangerie (bakery) in Paris should average around $1.20 (enough to make 2-3 sandwiches). Bottles of decent french table wine in the grocery store (which always seems to be the cheapest place to buy alcohol) ran around $5-$7. Keep in mind that the cheap wine in France is equivalent to a $15-$20 bottle of wine here in the US…the quality is much higher.
We bought a HUGE wheel of Brie cheese at the store for about one half the cost of the same wheel of brie in the US. Cheese all over France seemed to be about 1/3 the cost of what we pay at home at the discount warehouse store. Come prepared to include many great, fresh varieties of cheese into your daily diet.
Put the three together, and you have some cheap, filling calories and a great picnic lunch (or dinner!) to eat in one of France’s beautiful parks!
The Best Crepes in Paris – Inexpensive Street Food
When you want to switch up your baguette and cheese routine, crepes are a must try food in Paris! They are cheap and can be savory (think ham and cheese) or sweet (think Nutella and banana….yum!) depending on your mood. For 3-7 euros you can fill up on this French food staple.
I hear that these restaurants are on the hot list for having the best crepes in Paris! Make sure to hit one of these spots up on your next visit!
- Marche Ou Crepe: The Tripavisor reviews say it all about this simlpe favorite. Inexpensive. Fast. Friendly. Tons of toppings. My mouth is watering just thinking about eating here!
- Breizh Cafe Creperie and Cider Bar: Any place where I can get good, cheap, filling crepes AND cider is a win in my book! Definitely check out this little crepe restaurant if you are in the area.
- Ti Jos Bub Breton: This little place has a huge list of galettes and crepes at great prices. I saw it mentioned on a few different lists of “the Best Crepes in Paris”, so I don’t think that you will be disappointed. Round out your crepe with a salad for a filling meal for around 10 euros.
Budget Dining in the Latin Quarter
Street food is generally cheap everywhere in the world, and the same is true in Paris, particularly in the Latin Quarter. The Latin Quarter is a diverse neighborhood just across the Seine river from Notre Dame. Its central location means that you are sure to be in this area to pop over for a cheap lunch a few times while visiting Paris. This neighborhood contains a lot of ethnic restaurants that have inexpensive options for food.
We dined more than once on kebab (pita sandwiches with roasted chicken or lamb, lettuce, onion and a delicious garlic sauce) and fries for about $7 each. These were enough to fill up even the hungriest in the group. The cost might have gone up a smidge since we were there a few years ago, but I am sure it is still one of the cheapest areas to eat in in Paris.
The fries and kebabs, while filling, did get old relatively quickly because of their high grease content. I also saw other budget finds to be had in various Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese restaurants as well as other ethnic variations.
Feast on Poulet Roti – Rotisserie Chicken in Paris
Poulet Roti, AKA rotisserie chicken, is always a budget friendly meal that is readily available in any big city in France. 5-10 euros gets you a beautifully roasted-to-perfection, juicy chicken. Add in a few more euros for sides and a bottle of wine, and you have a filling meal for a family for 20-25 euros.
Here is some more information about where to find the best Poulet Roti in Paris.
Finding a Cheap Breakfast in Paris
Managing a hearty, man sized breakfast seemed to be a harder task in Paris. There are restaurants in touristy areas that advertise “American” breakfast..usually for about $10/person, which is generally out of our budget.
Hubby can’t survive on pastries and yogurt until lunch. When breakfast is too fou-fou, Mcdonalds has become his go to for a quick, filling “man” breakfast.
When we visited, the typical American breakfast at Mcdonalds in Paris (sandwich, hash browns, coffee) was non existent. It was replaced by the standard French breakfast of pastry and espresso.
If pastries and espresso were all that we could find we would roll with it and round it out with some fruit and yogurt from the market. Chocolate croissants, while not particular nutritionally sound, do have a lot of calories to keep you going while you walk around Paris. Not an ideal situation for hungry folks, but workable.
Pastries and espresso were cheap and abundant. These usually cost about 3 euros or less for a pastry and shot of espresso, and about 1 euro for a pastry.
More Tips for Eating Cheaply in Paris
If you are looking for more tools in your tool belt for eating cheaply in Paris, here are some tricks that we came up with during our visits to Paris.
Get Your Food To Go Instead of Sitting Down
Many casual restaurants in Paris will give you the option to eat your food there, or to take it to go. If you order at a counter and the person serving you asks, ‘Sur place ou à emporter?’ (Sur please means “here”, emporter means “to take away) always get your food to go if you want to save money!
The prices if you consume your food onsite will generally be higher than if you get it for takeout. Just take it over to one of the many beautiful Paris parks for a picnic!
Splurge at lunch, not at dinner
Many restaurants in Paris offer a Prix Fixe lunch. This is a set menu that includes a starter, main course and dessert. This can cost between 14 and 25 euros, but if you choose your restaurant wisely, this little splurge will be a meal to remember.
If you are looking at eating cheaply in Paris, get off the beaten path
Look for the safe looking restaurants with English menu front and center and other tourists eating there and head the other way!
Get at least a block or two away from major tourist attractions and look for less touristy looking streets and alleyways. When you find a restaurant that has no English menu, with lots of people speaking French that makes you feel like you are a little out of our comfort zone, you are heading in the right direction.
You can also ask your hosts or your hotel for suggestions. We have found that interacting with local people and asking for their suggestions has given us some of the most fulfilling dining experiences while traveling!
Getting by Until the NEXT Meal
My husband came up with another slick idea for eating cheaply in Paris. He brought protein powder from home and carried a couple packets with us during the day. Because he generally starts getting hungry before the rest of us, he would buy a small carton of milk from the market and mix up a protein shake to help meet his nutritional needs. This would help get him by without resorting to junk food until we were all ready to stop and eat. Many protein powders also have some extra nutrients to help balance out your travel diet.
One could also bring with them a box of protein bars when you come over from your own country and eat one in the afternoon when hunger hits (the plus side of this is that it will leave more room in your suitcase for souvenirs on your return trip!)
Book a Hotel that Includes Breakfast
Booking a hotel that includes breakfast in the price is always an easy way to cut your meal costs down. Filling up on the typical European breakfast of meats, cheese, yogurt and pastries could save your family $20-$30 dollars per day.
In addition, it allows you to make efficient use of your limited vacation time by getting going straight away to check off the first itinerary item for the day without taking extra time to find a restaurant and eat. This is one of the easiest ways to practice eating cheaply in Paris without too much sacrifice.
Stay in an Apartment
Staying in an apartment and cooking your meals will bring the cost of a trip to Paris down significantly. As an unintended bonus, shopping at the lovely outdoor markets in Paris (or even at the grocery store) will give you a much more immersive, authentic experience. We love apartments for this very reason!
Look for Dining Discounts
Groupon France is a great place to look for dining discounts. You do need to plan a couple of days ahead, as the vouchers that you purchase are not usually usable immediately, but this can be a great way to save money on dining.
We have also saved money in large European cities by joining a dining club. This is a great restaurant dining club with low monthly feed that you might try.
This is another restaurant club. This card gives you discounts at many restaurants in Paris. It costs 27 Euros for three months and gives you 20-50% off or 2 for 1 deals at a variety of restaurants in Paris. If you are traveling with a family, this card could pay for itself after just a couple meals!
Make at Least One Dining Splurge While in Paris
My final bit of advice is to make sure you plan at least one splurge. You will regret coming to this amazing piece of culinary heaven and not eating something that really, truly makes your heart sing.
Set aside enough to eat at a nice restaurant and enjoy some great french food. Towards the end of the trip, we did eat dinner at a moderately priced Paris cafe for about $25 each for a three course meal, and it was WONDERFUL.