Paris, whatever you may say, is an expensive city. Not everybody can afford to eat out daily – especially, in luxurious restaurants. Here we’ll share a list of places, where you can eat fast and cheap.
A district, around the Saint-Michel Fountain. Imagine you were walking near Notre Dame and felt hungry? Cross the River Siene, go to the left bank (rive gauche) and head off left from the Saint-Michel Fountain (or the right from Notre Dame). You’ll get to the district which has the cheapest Parisian tourist eateries. Here you can try “real” French cuisine for… let’s say, €10. To be honest, it will not be “real” for that price. We would recommend you beware, choose from the slightly more expensive menu and don’t expect to be cooked by a French chef. To put it clearly: be VERY cautious. Here they can make you buy water (it should be free, served in a water-bottle), or offer you portions, that are too small.
The whole hill is full of variety of cafes, restaurants and bars. Not far from the Tertre Square there are lots of touristic eateries, just as in Saint-Michel, the food there is cheap and (sometimes) tasty. There are also expensive restaurants – former taverns, where famous impressionists used to carouse. The slopes of the hill are covered with French cafes and brasseries, Italian pizzerias and restaurants boasting other foreign cuisines – you just have to take any street from the Metro station and not go up to Sacre Coeur.
Only a few steps away from Rambuteau Metro station (line 11), near the Centre Pompidou there is a fast food restaurant called Flunch (21 rue de Beaubourg). The prices are about the same as in McDonald’s, at Flunch you can have a steak and a salad for a reasonable price. Again, be VERY careful: you take the food first and only then pay at a cash-desk. This means, that it is very easy to over-pay, if you decide to have a second course, coffee, bread plus a salad and a dessert. By the way, side-orders are free, you choose them in the dining-hall, after the cash-desks and can take as much, as you wish. You can find another Flunch in Montmartre (1-3 rue Caulaincourt).
At the exit of Tuileries you’ll find a stall selling crepes – French pancakes. You can choose different fillings: sweet (sugar, chocolate, marmalade) or savoury (cheese, chicken, eggs). In fact, there are lots of such kiosks in Paris, choose any one.
You won’t find a cheap snack near the Eiffel Tower – apart from the above-mentioned crepes and waffles. You can always go a little further, to Champs de Mars and turn left – there you’ll find several groceries (for example, Carrefour City). Buy a baguette, a pack of ham, a piece of cheese and a bottle of wine or beer, come back to Champs de Mars and sit on the grass. There is nothing like a picnic with a view of the Eiffel Tower.
McDonald’s in the Champs Elysees – and it’s nothing to laugh at. In fact, the Chapms Elysees is the most crowded tourist area of Paris, where the most expensive boutiques are situated and the cost of one square metre of ground space goes off the scale. As a result, the food is hugely overpriced, for example, a cup of coffee can cost as much as €40! So, when you go to fast food chains, like McDonald’s and Quick, at least you can be sure how much your dinner is likely to cost. There is also a McDonald’s near the Louvre (and in the Louvre itself), in the Latin Quarter and in other parts of the city.
The Bastille isn’t only a former royal fortress and a present day opera house, it’s also the principle night-time district of Paris. There is a great legion of discos, bars, cafes and snack bars, where you can have a drink, eat something and enjoy your time there!
A Parisian kebab is a roll, filled with minced or cut meat, vegetables and sauces, it usually comes with fries. As a result you’ll have a quite tasty, filling and very cheap meal, which you can chomp your way through sitting on the stairs of the Garnier Theatre. Kebabs like these are sold all over the city, in all the districts – for example, not far from Place de la République or Saint-Michel.
Sushi and Chinese cuisine
Parisians see sushi as a quick and cheap business meal. The average menu includes soup, a salad, rice and a set of sushi – it will be enough to give you energy and strength for the whole day. As with kebabs, sushi and Chinese restaurants are located in all the districts of Paris, including Rue de Rivoli, Saint-Michel, la Défense.
Finally, try a real French sandwich! Pop into any baker’s, buy a huge sandwich, made from a baguette, ham, tomatoes and cheese. Add a cup of coffee – and you have the everyday lunch of a Parisian Sorbonne student.
Of course, this list doesn’t pretend to be a gastronomic guide. Nevertheless, it can help you to survive several hours or even days!