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, Paris Food Festivals with some new ideas 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 coffee in a cute Paris cafe later in the morning. Replace the newspaper by some people watching.
2. FRENCH OMELETTE
Eggs, oil, salt, the right “tour de main” and not much more. The French omelet is an easy dish to prepare, loved by everyone. Omelettes can be folded around a filling such cheese (very popular), spinach or mushrooms. You can find the French omelet in most of Paris bistros and brasseries.
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.
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 much 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.
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 Paris 4, 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.
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.
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 with tourists, and it is especially good in the winter when it is cold outside.
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 the winter time.
A simple and a cheap food in Paris, adopted from our Belgian neighbors. The food consists of cooked mussels (usually a kilogram per person) and French fries served in 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.
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 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.
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 the 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.
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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