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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

French delights in the City of Love: what and where to eat in Paris while saving money

When I travel one of the things I love the most is trying the typical local cuisine, from sweet to savory, and let's say that in this sense Paris gives great satisfaction. The French cuisine is delicious and the offer is vast, from national to international: we tried as many things as possible while also paying attention to savings .. on the other hand, you know, the French capital is not famous for being cheap. So let's see what and where to eat in Paris and some tips to save money.


Boulangeries de Paris, Francia

Must-try foods in Paris that we loved:

  • Baguette

Let's start with the classic, perhaps a little obvious, but the Baguette is literally one of the symbols of Paris and France.. but there will be a reason, right? The Baguette you'll eat in the French capital is delicious, always soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, every day you will find it freshly baked in both boulangeries and supermarkets. Absolutely to try, and given the low cost (€ 1-1.50 each) it's an excellent solution to save money.

  • Croissant and Pain au Chocolat

Another French cliché, but what can I say? They are so good, nothing to do with ours. Parisian Croissants are giant, fluffy and full of butter: a perfect combination! In my opinion, Pain au Chocolat is even better, it's a croissant dough but in the shape of a square rolled on chocolate bars. Definitely delicious. On this trip to Paris they were my every morning breakfast, and I tasted the best Pain au Chocolat of my life, for sure. In some boulangeries you will find them in the variant with banana: absolutely to try, delicious! Croissants and Pain au Chocolat are perfect solutions for your breakfast in Paris, you will find them cheaply in all the boulangeries of the city, and they are substantial enough to fill you up for the whole morning.

  • Crêpes

Since I booked this trip to Paris I had been dreaming of the time when I would eat French crêpes again, and I was not disappointed. Crêpes are a symbol of French cuisine, both in sweet and savory versions: the savory ones are a little underestimated but in my opinion they beat sweets great, but maybe it's just a matter of taste. Maybe not everyone knows that the name derives from the ancient Latin "crispus", or rather "rolled up" precisely because the dough, once filled, must be rolled up on itself. In France it is certainly a traditional dish that tourists and Parisians love to eat in specific restaurants such as crêperies or in the many street kiosks present in every corner of the city. I recommend the second option because it's much cheaper without affecting quality!

  • Croque Monsieur or Madame

Here we are with another French delight: Croque Monsieur, or Madame for the sweet tooth. It's an exquisite grilled sandwich filled with ham and cheese, but in the more elaborate version it also contains béchamel. And to stay light, try it also in the Madame version, with a fried egg on top. I recommend this for lunch: it remains a bit heavy for breakfast, we guarantee.

  • Quiche

The Parisian version of the classic quiche lorraine includes, in addition to the pastry crust pastry, a filling of bechamel, smoked ham and gruyère. As you can see, French cuisine is not very light, but don't worry: you will walk so much that you will work off everything, so treat yourself to all these delicacies.

  • Macarons

Macarons are very famous biscuits all over the world, also thanks to the historic Ladurée pastry shop. For those unfamiliar with them, they are made up of two discs of almond meringue and filled with exquisite ganache of the most varied tastes. There are many colors, each matched to taste. They are not cheap sweets, but someone you should definitely try in Paris.

  • Fondue

Fondue is one of the most loved dishes by the French and I absolutely recommend you try it: it's very good, even if heavy, but it's definitely worth it. It's cooked by melting cheese inside a special pot, called caquelon, which will be brought to the table placed on a stove to keep the cheese warm. Served at the table, pieces of bread are dipped into the cheese using a special elongated fork.


For more great photos of French nibbled food, keep following this blog! P.s .: sorry but it was always everything too good to be able to wait to take pictures!


Useful tips for saving money while eating in Paris

  • At the restaurant, always ask for water in a carafe, it's free, drinkable and very good and will allow you to save € 4-5 per bottle.

  • For breakfast, always choose the boulangerie: here you will find many freshly baked baked goods, both sweet and savory, for a few euros.

  • For lunch, take advantage of the kiosks in the various gardens or those of Crepes scattered around the city

  • Consider the alternative of a nice picnic in one of the Gardens or perhaps on the steps of the Sacré Coeur if you catch a beautiful sunny day. We went to the supermarket and bought a baguette, ham, brie cheese and salad: spending a total of € 7 we had lunch for two and ate very well!

  • When / If you go to Disneyland, bring a packed lunch: the restaurants inside the park are quite expensive even if you plan to limit yourself to a sandwich. Click here for more useful information on how to make the most of your visit to Disneyland Paris.

Boulangeries in Paris

Boulangerie Laurent B, Parigi, Francia

Boulangerie Laurent B

La Boulangerie Laurent B is a real gem hidden in the alleys between L’Esplanades des Invalides and Champs de Mars. If you follow our itinerary (click here for the article), Laurent B is an excellent idea for your breakfast before going to the Eiffel Tower. The place is splendid, very rich in furnishings and offerings: I really didn't know what to choose, I would have taken everything, not to tell you about the delicious scent that was inside. It's very popular with Parisians, and there may be a queue outside, but don't give up! It deserves more than a few minutes of waiting, trust me! In the end we made up our minds and took a Pain au Chocolat (€ 1.90) and a giant Palmier (€ 2.30): total breakfast € 4.20 for two.


Du Pain et Des Idées

Du Pain et Des Idées is another delightful boulangerie, located near Place de la République and the République Metro stop (super convenient from our apartment), making it another great option for breakfast. Be careful because they are closed on weekends, but be sure to drop by because here you can find the best Banana Pain au Chocolat in Paris for € 3.90. The prices here are a little higher than average, but it's one of the most famous and oldest boulangeries in Paris, and their products are exceptional so they are well worth the money. Outside the restaurant there are some tables where you can sit down to eat if you want (no table service). However, the total of breakfast remains at € 7.60 for two, which is at least half of what you would spend in a café.


Le Moulin de la Vierge

Le Moulin de la Vierge is a boulangerie located in the Louvre area, very close to the Palais Royale. We stopped to grab something for lunch to eat at the Tuileries Gardens before entering the Louvre Museum, but next to them there is also the café. This Boulangerie is splendid, beautiful to look at even if small, and has many sweet and savory products, so it's also suitable for a breakfast. We took a Croque Monsieur to share (whole is a bit heavy) and a mini quiche each for a total of € 14. We were definitely fed up and it was all delicious!


Caffè in Paris

Ladurée

Ladurée, Champs Elysées, Parigi, Francia

The Ladurée Café is located on the Champs Elysée but you will also find other outlets scattered around the city, one is located in Marais opposite the Marché des Enfants Rouges. In Ladurée on the Champs Elysées, you will find both the sales point at the counter, without consummation at the table, and the actual Café with table service. Honestly, I do not recommend the second option because the prices soar a lot and it's not worth it (we are talking about € 50 in two for two hot teas and sweets). We queued for counter service (no more than 15 minutes) and took 5 different Macarons at your choice in the paper bag and spent € 11 in total. I do not recommend paper boxes although beautiful, they cost a lot and are useless unless you intend to bring them home as a souvenir or as a gift. You can choose from many desserts, including small cakes, pastries or baked goods, but Ladurée is very famous for Macarons so I recommend you stay on these also because they are very good, certainly among the best in town. There are 18 flavors but I recommend you absolutely try the red fruits, passion fruit, salted caramel and coconut and caramel: they are the best.


Odette

Odette, Quartiere Latino, Parigi, Francia

Odette is a small patisserie and café in the Latin Quarter, very famous for its Cream Choux (€ 1.90 each): rather large puffs filled with all kinds of creams. As with macarons, each color has a corresponding flavor and filling. They say that the best Choux in town are eaten here, and I can guarantee you that they were actually very good. We went there for breakfast and having some time to spare, we stopped at the table, accompanying 6 different Choux to a hot tea and a hot chocolate, spending € 21 in total. Here, too, I recommend those with chocolate, salted caramel, the classic ones with cream, passion fruit and we also tried the special edition for Valentine's Day with cream and strawberries: all exceptional!


La Favorite Saint Paul

Surely one of the corners of Paris that I loved the most: you absolutely have to go there, even if you don't intend to eat anything. It's a decidedly Parisian building, beautifully decorated with pink flowers, both inside and out. The place is really beautiful, and while I can't tell you it's a convenient place, it's definitely one of my favorite cafés in Paris. Here you can either have breakfast, brunch or stop for lunch or dinner: they have various appetizers, salads, poke bowls, pizza and traditional savory dishes at average prices by city standards. Otherwise, you can stop for the happy hour which runs from Monday to Friday from 18:00 to 20:00 to take advantage of the offer of a pint of beer for € 7 or a cocktail for € 8.


Le Consulat, Montmartre, Parigi, Francia

Le Consulat

Le Consulat is a very famous Paris café located in the Montmartre district, a few steps from Place du Tetre. It's a small bistro located in one of the oldest houses in Montmartre, where painters and artists met: from Picasso to Monet, from Toulouse-Lautrec to Van Gogh. We didn't stop at the end, but the reviews are great and it was on the list of places we wanted to try. If you pass by let me know how to eat!


Café de Flore

Café de Flore, Parigi, Francia

Café de Flore is perhaps one of the most famous and oldest in Paris, it opened in 1887, it's impossible not to have ever seen a photo of it around. Located a few steps from the Luxembourg Garden, it's one of the most popular, now mainly by tourists who queue very long to sit. It is also known as the Café of the literati: it was frequented by great cultural figures including Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Sartre, Simon de Beauvoir, Picasso, Camus and many others who have transformed this place into a real cultural institution. We passed by but we didn't stop: it was very crowded, there was a lot of queues and the prices are quite high: € 20 for a salad, € 22 for a club sandwich and € 6.80 for a bottle of water: if you want to go, opt for breakfast, it's the best way to experience eating in this historic café without spending a fortune!

Boot Café

The Boot is a Café in the Marais district, a few steps from our apartment, which I absolutely wanted to go to, but unfortunately it is only open Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 so we were unable to fit it into our itinerary. The place is small but very nice, once it was a shoemaker's shop.

Boot Café, Parigi, Francia

Restaurants in Paris

Le Marmiton de Lutèce

Le Marmiton de Lutèce is a lovely little restaurant located in the Latin Quarter which we happened upon by chance without booking and we were thrilled with it, highly recommended. Here we tasted the famous 3 Cheese Fondue, very good. The dish is for a minimum of 2 people, but the portion is still very generous and can be served accompanied by a plate of cold cuts, potatoes and salad. As per tradition, it was served in the classic caquelon on a lit stove that allows the cheese to be melted and warm, and is eaten by dipping bread that you can ask for at will. The place is particular, a little old but still welcoming. We spent 32 € each with an accompanying dish each and a coke each: excellent value for money, however not too high for Paris. If you are planning to spend an evening in the Latin Quarter, this is an excellent alternative, frequented by many Parisians and students, ideal to then stop for a drink in the narrow streets full of clubs.


The Frog & Underground - FrogPubs

The Frog & Underground is definitely not a typical Parisian restaurant, but more American-style: the place is very nice and extravagant, very welcoming and youthful, a real pub. We stopped for a beer before returning to the hotel returning from Montmartre, to rest a bit, but then we were tempted by the dishes that were served at the tables next to ours and we had dinner there too. The menu is quite international and offers mainly burgers and American dishes, all abundant and very good. There are multiple locations around the city and if you want to try something that is not typically French or you just want to drink some great beer, these Pubs are a great alternative. For 2 liters of Frog beer, a bacon cheeseburger and a portion of BBQ ribs, both with sweet potatoes or classic, we spent € 31 each.


Le Petit Marché

Le Petit Marché is perhaps the place where we ate best on our trip to Paris: it was one of those places where as soon as you finish the dish you say "cabbage that's good!". This is a little bistrot in Marais, about 10 minutes walk from our apartment, where we had booked about a week before departure for Valentine's Day, relying on online reviews. It's a restaurant mainly frequented by Parisians and where you can eat excellent French cuisine. The menu isn't huge but it has super interesting dishes. We took a fillet of black angus, a caramelized duck breast with a total of 4 side dishes, a creme brulè and a charlotte, all accompanied by a bottle of wine for a total of € 45 each. It's the place where we spent the most but it was definitely worth it all: excellent value for money, excellent service and the place was really nice. Super recommended especially if you are looking for something not touristy.


La Maison Rose

La Maison Rose, Montmartre, Parigi, France

Towered over by an ivy-covered Art Deco villa in Montmartre, the very famous Maison Rose was an unpretentious trattoria frequented by penniless artists of Montmartre. The exact year of its construction is not known, but it seems that it has been there since before 1850, in 1905, it was bought by Laure Germaine Gargallo, wife of the painter Ramon Pichot and model of Pablo Picasso, as well as his former lover. Maurice Utrillo, who lived a short distance from there, dedicated more than one painting to La Maison Rose, greatly contributing to its fame. Frequented by several generations of artists, including Picasso and Modigliani, and later by Edith Piaf, Barbara, Aznavour, Camus, La Maison Rose represents an important piece of the history of Montmartre. If you happen to be there at the weekend, I recommend brunch: for € 29 you will have a cold drink, a hot drink, canapés, a savory mixed dish of your choice and a dessert. For whatever meal you decide to go to, I recommend that you book in advance on the official website.

Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole

This hidden restaurant on the île de la Cité, a few steps from Notre Dame Cathedral, is very special but also very characteristic: it was at the top of my list of places to try but unfortunately we couldn't find a place. The place is splendid on the outside: covered with a wisteria plant (in spring it's crazy) while the inside is very retro. Definitely a different experience than usual .. everyone talks about it very well. If you manage to go let me know if it's worth it, so we won't miss it next time.


Pink Mamma

I heard about it for the first time on TV, in Little Big Italy, and before leaving I had done some research, and I also heard about it very well from Italians living in Paris. The place is splendid, and the pizza looks great. We haven't been able to try this either, but if you were in the mood for Italian surely this is where I would go.


Chioschi di cibo, Parigi, Francia

Food Kiosks around the city

A great way to buy time and save money by eating in the French capital is to stop at the various kiosks scattered around the city. We had lunch with savory crepes on the fly in Montmartre, in line for Le Murs de je t'aime, for € 5 each (almost half the price you can find them in cafes). There are also very interesting ones in the Jardin de Tuileries but you will find them in every garden, in the main squares and near the most touristic places.


Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

Located in the Marais district a few steps from our apartment, we found the Marché des Enfants Rouges, so called in memory of an orphanage near today's market, for the children who lived there, dressed in red. It's a very characteristic market frequented above all by Parisians, where it's possible to buy fresh products but also to drink and eat without spending an exaggeration, buying food in one of the many ethnic counters and then consuming it in the public tables located at the end of the market. Opening hours: Monday closed Tuesday - Thursday 8:30 am - 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday 8:30 - 13:00, 16:00 - 20:00 Sunday 8:30 - 14:00


Passage des Panoramas

I have already mentioned the Passage des Panoramas when talking about our itinerary in Paris, but it deserves a mention here too, being on the subject of culinary advice. Here, in fact, you will find many restaurants and bars where you can have a drink for happy hours: not very touristy, certainly the atmosphere is more intimate and quiet than in many other areas of Paris.


Other areas of Paris that I recommend to eat or drink:

  • Marais

  • Latin Quarter

  • Montmartre


Now that you know what and where to eat in Paris, you are definitely ready to leave for the City of Love.

  • If you are planning your itinerary in the city, here are some ideas and a 2-3 day itinerary → Paris Itinerary

  • If you need some useful information on the logistics for your trip instead, such as where to stay or how to get around the city, here you will find the necessary information → Planning Paris

  • If you are planning one or more days at Disneyland Paris, here you will find all the useful information → Disneyland Paris

Bon Voyage!



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