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Things to Eat in Paris: Best Cheap Eats in Paris

It is well known that Parisians are “des bons gourmands”: we enjoy nice meals with fresh, quality products and eating out with friends or family is one of our main pleasures in Paris. However sometimes we just need something – something on the go to fill our stomachs, without spending a fortune (food prices in Paris are high). Luckily the city is well populated by Paris bistros, brasseries, bakeries and (lately) Paris food trucks proposing visitors and locals alike a large choice of cheap things to eat in Paris. Some of these proposals are not typically Parisian (or French) but over the years they found a place in the Parisians’ hearts (and stomachs).

What is a Paris Bistro? A bistro is a small, informal, neighborhood restaurant. Usually it is open at set times for lunch and dinner and propose simple food.

What are Parisians’ most loved cheap eats? Here are our favorite picks of best cheap eats in Paris, easy and quick proposals which should cost no more than 10€. This Paris street food (but not only) is perfect for budget travelers, but also for those with busy sightseeing schedules. If you are a self-proclaimed foodie you have to taste them!


Food Tours are a great way to discover Local Food in Paris


1. CAFE & CROISSANT

In Paris there is no better way to start the day than with a cafe & croissant and, if you are not in a hurry, your favorite newspaper. Most of the hotels in the city will propose cafe & croissant in their breakfasts. But it is also nice to take your cafe & croissant in a cute Paris cafe later in the morning. Replace the newspaper by some people watching.

 

cafe and croissant - best cheap eats in Paris

 

2. FRENCH OMELETTE 

Eggs, oil, salt, the right “tour de main” and not much more. The French omelette is an easy dish to prepare, loved by everyone. Omelettes can be folded around a filling such cheese (very popular), spinachs or mushrooms. You can find the French omelette in most of Paris bistros and brasseries.

French Omelette - best cheap eats in Paris

 

3. CROQUE MONSIEUR

A croque-monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, usually with a top of béchamel sauce. You can find croque-monsieurs in most brasseries and some Paris cafes and it is a quick and great hot staple. If you think it won’t be enough for a busy sightseeing Paris day, you can order a croque-madame, which adds a fried egg on the top.

croque monsieur - best cheap eats in Paris

photo courtesy: Julia @juliaencuisine

 

4. BURGER

There are burgers and BURGERS! On this article we are talking about burgers far from the fast food chains, made with local, fresh products and so loved by Parisians. Hipsters’ favorite names include Le Camion qui Fume, Le Ruisseau, Blend and many more but you can find good and cheaper classic burgers on the menus of any Parisian bistro or in food markets like Le Marché des Enfants Rouges at Le Marais.

Burguer - paris street food

 

5. KEBAB, FALAFEL

You can find good falafels anywhere in Paris but many Parisians will agree with me that rue des Rosiers, at Le Marais, is the place to go for eating the best Falafel (and a cool food street in Paris, by the way!). Apart from the world known l’As du Falafel (closed on Saturday), King Falafel, Chez Hanna and MA-VA-ME are also great options located within meters of each other.  I like to pick my falafel and eat it at Jardin des Rosiers, a calm and beautiful secluded garden accessible through a hidden passage on the same street.

kebab, falafel - Paris street food

 

6. JAMBON-BEURRE, JAMBON-FROMAGE

Jambon-beurre (also called Parisien) is the most Parisian of sandwiches and perfect for those who need something on the go for a couple of euros. Basically it is a half baguette sandwich sliced open, spread with butter and some slices of  “jambon de Paris”.  According to wikipedia, 2 million of jambon-beurre sandwiches are sold every day in France so please don’t underrate it! A slightly sophisticated alternative to jambon-beurre (sorry, I don’t like butter!) is the jambon-fromage (picture below) which comes with jambon de Paris and some cheese. A hot jambon-fromage sandwich is called “mixte” but it is made with a different kind of bread. You can buy your jambon-beurre or jambon-fromage in bakeries or at most Paris cafes. Definitely a very popular food in Paris.

jambon beurre - Paris street food

 

7. SOUPE À L’OGNION (FRENCH ONION SOUP)

French onion soup has always been linked to poor or modest families as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of this soup is made of beef broth and caramelized onions and usually comes with melted comté on top and croutons. This is a very cheap food, very popular among tourists, and it is especially good in winter time, when it is cold outside.

French onion soup - cheap food in Paris

 

8. FONDUE

The traditional fondue is a boiling pot of melted cheese mixed with white wine. This pot is in the center of your table, cooking continuously over a little burner waiting for you to dip your piece of bread in and eat. This is a very popular and funny meal to share with friends or family in a relaxed atmosphere and it is cheap if you stay out of the touristy places. It is usually eaten in winter time.

fondue - cheap food in Paris

photo courtesy: Leila Victoria @leilavictoriam


 

9. MOULES-FRITTES

A simple and a cheap food in Paris, adopted from our Belgian neighbors. The food consists in cooked mussels (usually a kilogram per person) and French fries served on separate places. You can eat moules-frittes in many restaurants in Paris. There is a Belgian chain called Léon specializing in moules-frittes, with restaurants everywhere in the city. I personally go to La Petite Hostellerie, at rue de la Harpe in Paris 5. They propose a set menu moules-frittes + a glass of beer (or wine) for 10 euros.

moules frittes - cheap food in Paris

photo courtesy: Mary DMN @marydmn3

 

10. CHEAP INDIAN FOOD IN PARIS

Paris has its own piece of India in the 18th Arrondissement, not far from Montmartre neighborhood. The streets surrounding the Gare du Nord are full of sari clothes, bling bling jewelry, Indian groceries and, of course, restaurants with the best Indian Food in Paris. Walk around, have the look at the menus and just follow your nose and pick one, we are sure it will be a good choice. Little India in Paris is also a great place for buying good and fresh Indian spices for half price.

cheap indian food in paris

 

11. CRÊPES

We left one of the most famous food in Paris for the end. Even if they are originally from Brittany, Paris without crêpes wouldn’t be Paris! Easy to prepare and vegetarian-friendly, crêpes are one of the few native street food in Paris and France. You can eat cold or hot crêpes, sweet or salty, as main dish, dessert or just for an afternoon snack. Crêpes come with lots of different fillings, being Nutella or fruit jams the most popular ones. You’ll see food trucks and street stands selling the best street crêpes in Paris everywhere. Of course, you can also eat crêpes in a nice Paris crêperie or in many restaurants but prices are higher. For authentic Breton crêpes, go to any crêperie around the Gare Montparnasse.

French crêpes - cheap and famous food in paris -

 

I guess that after reading this post you must be hungry! Which of these cheap things to eat in Paris would you try right now?

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Paige W
    11/15/2017 at 5:03 am

    Oh my gosh, you’ve got me drooling here in Cambodia for that amazing Parisian food! I agree that having a cafe and croissant is the perfect Paris way to start the day. Plus, croque monsieurs are amazing as well. I cannot wait to have some food in Paris asap!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/17/2017 at 8:48 am

      Asian food is also very good! Different than Paris food but good 🙂

  • Reply
    Megan Jerrard
    11/15/2017 at 3:13 am

    My mouth is watering from the feature photo. I do love a good croissant for breakfast, but you can’t beat eating one in France! Had no idea that croque-monsieur was a French food – I had one this morning with my good ol toasted sandwich maker in Australia! Traditional fondue is something I would travel all the way to Paris for … and crepes. Crepes too!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/17/2017 at 8:49 am

      I agree that it is hard to beat French croissants. They try it, they try it hard in some countries but it is just not possible, lol

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    11/14/2017 at 6:45 pm

    I absolutely love French onion soup. Unfortunately for me, it’s nearly impossible to find in Bordeaux (where I live)! I also love moules frittes and in the curry sauce is usually my favorite. And a ham and butter sandwich sounds odd to a lot of people, but good French butter can be like eating a creamy cheese. I love to grab a ham and butter baguette to take to the park for lunch, while reading for a bit.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/14/2017 at 11:37 pm

      I don’t like butter so I pick the ham and cheese sandwich instead. No onion soup in Bordeaux? How come?! :-O

  • Reply
    Silke
    11/13/2017 at 9:08 am

    There is one thing that I absolutely love about the French: They can cook! I dined in so many restaurants all around the country, touristy ones and not so touristy ones, and I was never, ever disappointed. What I find most intriguing is that the French have this skill to turn even simple dishes and cheap ingredients into something tasty and enjoyable. Take onion soup. Not many ingredients needed. Yet, it’s always a classic that never disappoints.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/14/2017 at 11:38 pm

      Same with French omelette! Apart from this, I totally agree with the link France and good cooking, good for us!

  • Reply
    anto
    11/12/2017 at 8:18 pm

    I love croque monsieurs, we actually call them tosti here. Plus we sometimes add pineapple too, and the typical sauce to eat it with is barbecue. I would not say no to a nice fondue either, by the way 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/14/2017 at 11:39 pm

      Hey, a croque monsieur with pineapple is not a croque monsieur any more 😛

  • Reply
    Cody Biggers
    11/12/2017 at 10:23 am

    Loved the Croque Madam at Coquelicot in Montmartre. It was hard to choose anything else for breakfast. It was much heartier than the Croque Monsieur in the picture above!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/17/2017 at 8:50 am

      Yes, croque madame’s egg on the top adds an extra boost on the breakfasts, lol 😉

  • Reply
    Marcus and Mel
    11/11/2017 at 7:27 pm

    Some great suggestions, love french onion soup and the classic JAMBON-FROMAGE, what would the French do without ham and cheese. The quality and freshness of the local food you can get in Paris are very good.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/17/2017 at 8:51 am

      Totally agree 🙂

  • Reply
    Louise
    11/11/2017 at 4:04 pm

    I really enjoyed this post – so often I read about top-notch very pricey restaurants in Paris and lots of dishes with complicated names – it was really refreshing to read about the more basic but classic french dishes explained in a simple way. Great article!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/18/2017 at 10:12 pm

      Thank you! Next time you go to Paris you know what to taste 😉

  • Reply
    Janine Thomas
    11/11/2017 at 3:05 pm

    The food in Paris is amazing. My favourite is without a doubt moules-frites. I have to have at least one portion when I am in Paris 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/18/2017 at 10:12 pm

      I say the same thing every time I go to Paris 5 🙂

  • Reply
    Hannah
    11/11/2017 at 3:01 pm

    I love eating and drinking in Paris – the variety is fantastic, and there are so many cheap options (compared to the UK). I loved this list, especially your tip on Moules Frites at La Petite Hostellerie! I’ve always had wonderful vietnamese food in Paris – at the little dumpling shops in the 5th – when I was backpacking in Paris in 1999, I lived on half a baguette from the hostel, and 6 dumplings and some carottes râpées 🙂 Can’t wait to be back in Paris for more of these yummy cheap eats!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/18/2017 at 10:14 pm

      Yes, some great Vietnamese eats in Paris 5! My favorite one is Ho Chi Min, close to Place Monge. If interested, drop me a mail and I give you all the details 🙂

  • Reply
    Fiona Maclean
    11/11/2017 at 12:27 pm

    I love croque-monsieur – so much better than a straight cheese toastie. And Moules Frites – I also like a steak frites, which is a little over the ‘cheap budget’ but so much nicer in Paris than in London

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      11/11/2017 at 2:58 pm

      It’s long time that I don’t eat a croque monsieur, I would like to have one right now! 🙂

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