Do you love to travel and have dreams of going to Paris but hesitate when you read that it is one of the most expensive cities in the world? Was Paris on your bucket list until you realized you could spend a fortune on a trip to the City of Light? Don’t worry… you can enjoy all Paris has to offer without the fear of ending up in debtors prison. It is possible…and very easy…to experience Paris, especially the food…on a budget. Neighborhood PATISSERIES and BOULANGERIES offer overwhelming selections of beautiful pastries and breads at reasonable prices. Tiny grocery stores carry inexpensive foods of every kind. Very drinkable wines start at €4 a bottle and there are hundreds to choose from. Baguettes that practically melt in your mouth are €1 in most boulangeries. Great cheeses are affordable if you purchase small quantities…how is all this sounding so far? When I go to Paris I am always on a tight food budget and I don’t suffer one bit. I like to save as much money as I can so I can to go to E. DEHILLERIN and buy another copper pot to add to my collection. In my journal of travel notes all my price notations are in euros and that is what I used in this post Today one euro equals $1.28 American dollars.
Let’s start our tour at an outdoor food market…Marché Boulevard de Grenelle, located a few blocks southwest of rue Cler, our favorite neighborhood where we stay when we are in Paris. The selection of wonderful things to eat is enormous and prices are very good. This market is open Wednesdays and Sundays from 7:00 am to 12:30 pm. If you plan to visit an outdoor market be sure to check the days and times it is open. They all differ.
We purchased a little basket of veggies and greens, along with olives, tabbouleh, cheese, and a baguette. I’m working on a post about this market and you will see how large it is and all the wonderful produce and prepared foods you can find there.
The little grocery around the corner was a good source of deli meats and wine. All of this, wine included, was about €20 and was a generous dinner AND lunch for two. Very reasonable in my opinion.
You will find cafes and bistros everywhere. One of our favorite places to eat is Café du Marché in rue Cler. They pride themselves on good food at great prices and they don’t disappoint. The seating is crowded but comfortable and it’s a great place to do a little people watching. Salads are fresh, creative and filling and are a fantastic value at around €12. Our favorite is this BRICK SALAD, fresh pickled vegetables, couscous, and cheese and herb filled brick (a North African pastry similar to phyllo). Chevre cheese is wrapped in brick pastry and fried until crispy, then served hot on top of the cold vegetables. I swear, I could eat this salad every day.
I can’t imagine going to Paris and not eating at L’AS DU FALLAFEL…at least once. The food is so, so, so good. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. At 11:00 am it looks deserted.
At 11:30 when the metal shutter goes up the crowd assembles in minutes.
I’ve seen the take-out line go clear down the block.
In Paris there are different prices for different situations. The above prices are for items bought at the take-out window. If customers wish to be seated inside the restaurant items are several euros more. 34, rue des Rosiers (Métro: St. Paul); Closed Saturday.
I always order the fallafel plate at L’as du Fallafel. Pickled red and white cabbage, grilled eggplant, cucumbers and tomatoes, hummus, baba ganouch and a large serving of crispy, hot fallafel. €12.
My son and daughter ordered the schawarma plate: thinly sliced lamb instead of falaffel.
I’m having that next time. €14.
The lunch and dinner hours get very busy in most Parisian cafes. They eat dinner late so we planned on around 6:00 pm most nights and didn’t have any problem finding a table.
Salads are on the menu in every cafe and, no matter what we ordered, it was always delicious.
This hearty salad is a mix of crispy fried potatoes, bacon, sliced ham, tomatoes, lettuce and broiled Camembert cheese.
The small cheese was cut in half, placed back into its little container and broiled until it was bubbly with a golden brown crust. The melted cheese oozed out onto the potatoes and ham and made a delectable dressing for the greens. €12.
The ubiquitous CROQUE MONSIEUR was especially good here. A generous sandwich with potatoes and salad was €10.
If you are shopping in one of the large department stores such as GALERIES LAFAYETTE or PRINTEMPS you will find little cafes with delicious and very inexpensive food. Wonderful baguette sandwiches are about €4 each with a selection of ham and cheese or vegetarian. A French favorite is just ham and butter…but with their amazing breads and butter that’s all you need.
SPECIAL NOTE: French butter is unlike anything we have here in the USA. It is so delicious and needs a post all of its own. It has a definite tang and nutiness that is absent in butters found in most American supermarkets. The main difference is the amount of butterfat used in its production. We loved it so much that we spread it on our still warm baguettes and forgot about the cheese. Just couldn’t get enough of it. You will find French butter in Paris cheese shops. If you would like to know more about French butter you can find information HERE.