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catherine Feb 23rd, 1999 04:10 AM

food and francs
I am trying to work out a rough guide to how much money we will spend on our french holiday.I have guessed at about 250ff a day for food for both of us.We are not gourmets the thought of foie gras makes me want to hurl.Do any recent visitors know if this budget is realistic.

Lee Feb 23rd, 1999 04:33 AM

Catherine: Not being gourmets ourselves, we tend to eat at the less expensive places, also. Call me predictable, but I'd rather have a schnitzel and beer instead of say, pheasant under glass. <BR> <BR>When we were in Paris last year, we had our breakfast included with our room, so that was one meal taken care of. We were usually too busy for lunch, maybe stopping for a drink and a snack at a bakery that we couldn't pass up. For dinner, we would typically spend about $30.00 for both of us on the average. By today's exchange rate, that's about FF 180.00, so it would appear that your estimate will work, especially if you are conservative and/or your breakfast price is inclusive. <BR> <BR>I generally allow for things to cost more than I estimate and always come home with money. Well, at least some money. <BR> <BR>Have a good trip! <BR>

John Feb 23rd, 1999 06:34 AM

Catherine, I don't consider myself a gourmet, but I do like to eat and I have always sought out good food for a reasonable price. I've been to Paris many times and lived there for a year as well. My opinion is that 250 FFr per day is about right for one person and that dosen't include any elaborate breakfast or a sit down lunch. You can eat for 250 FFr for 2, but I don't think it will be very good and would only add to often heard complaints of not being very good and very small portions. A lot of this is very subjective. I suppose if eating is not that important to you and/or you don't eat much, then you can get by for 250FFr per day. The food and restaurants in Paris have always been a highlite for me and I wouldn't think of scrimping in that area. How often do you go to Paris? How much more is your trip going to cost if you spend an extra $20, $30, $40 a day? For a one week trip, the extra cost could be $200-$300 and could make the difference in having some very memorable meals. However, it is certainly a matter of personal preferences and choice.

elaine Feb 23rd, 1999 07:33 AM

I agree with John. 250 ff is not much for food for two people in a world capital city (assuming you are going to Paris). Yes, it can certainly be done. You can eat fast food from little snack bars, or eat Greek every day, or buy beer and cheese and eat in your room, but I agree that you will be missing out on an essential part of the France experience. You don't have to eat foie gras or pheasant to appreciate good food and even the average French person doesn't eat haute cuisine very often. But a nice neighborhood cafe in Paris with home-style cooking and a glass of wine will cost at least 130-150 ff per person for dinner, sometimes closer to 200ff. It will be less in the provinces. And it should be worth every penny. <BR>And despite what I said above, if you need to save here and there, you can picnic in your room once in a while with <BR>some good bread and cheese. <BR>

catherine Feb 23rd, 1999 07:59 AM

Oh no!Now Elaine and John you have dissapointed me!Lee,I liked your answer the best.We will be in France a whole month!!!I will have to revise my budget.Maybe I will have to visit the bank manager about a second mortgage.I am dealing with the lousy canadian dollar here.I think I am going to starve anyway.I don't know why people rave about french food.I love the bread,salads,and deserts but thats about it.I hate goat cheese,duck gizzards.I would never eat veal,rabbit or song birds.Last time I was in Paris,I lived on poulet and frites.The food in Italy was divine!I was born and bred in England and thats probably why I can't appreciate french food.I really would rather have fish and chips.Sorry for going on!

Lee Feb 23rd, 1999 08:15 AM

Catherine: I have to agree 100%. I travel on a budget, also. There are five of us going to Germany in May and with my shopping around, waiting and then changing dates (by one day!), we saved nearly $300.00 each on airfare. I'm proud of that! <BR> <BR>Yes, I would like to go and experience everthing in any city I visit, but I feel it is better to go to Paris and go hungry, than to not go at all. <BR> <BR>Why eat on the Champs Elysees when you can have the same meal (and ambiance) on Rue des Ecoles for half the price? <BR> <BR>There are many of us who could not travel if it didn't involve a bargain or two. <BR> <BR>Gute Fahrt!

Erin Feb 23rd, 1999 08:56 AM

Just because you are in France, doesn't mean you have to eat French food. In London, we've found that Chinese and Indian food is really good and much more inexpensive than British/continental cuisine (except pub grub). My mother and I are going to Paris next month and we are on a mission to find Parisian restaurants that don't serve pork. Most likely we will have to patronize North African may not be "French cuisine", but at least it's not McDonald's!

elaine Feb 23rd, 1999 10:40 AM

the problem with asking for opinions from strangers is that you end up with opinions from strangers! <BR> <BR>Sorry to disappoint, but please don't assume that responses indicate that some of us don't have budget concerns just because we want to enjoy a simple French meal. We all decide to cut corners in different ways, some skimp on the hotel, some on the food, some on the frequency of travel, and some on all three. <BR>For some of us the food of the country we are visiting is part of the experience. The comment "just because you are in France doesn't mean you have to eat French food" is a sentiment that is outside of my realm of interests and opinions. <BR>Certainly having to budget expenses for a whole month must be a daunting exercise, and I would certainly find myself also having to look for ways to save. <BR>But I assure you that I have eaten in France many times and have never eaten songbirds or "duck gizzards" and when I have eaten veal or goat cheese or rabbit it has been voluntarily, not because I had no other choices. <BR>For the other poster, pork is hardly a <BR>requirement for eating in most French <BR>restaurants, there are always other choices unless you are eating in a charcuterie. If for religious reasons you want a Parisian restaurant kitchen that handles no pork at all, than certainly you should head for a vegetarian restaurant, one that caters to followers of Islam as you seemed to suggest, or one of the <BR>Jewish places in the Marais section. <BR>Good luck. <BR>

John Feb 23rd, 1999 10:44 AM

Catherine, I didn't mean to disappoint you with my answer. Now I have a question. Why would you ask how much to budget per day for eating if you've been to Paris before?

Catherine Feb 23rd, 1999 01:58 PM

John, no answer ever dissapoints me. It's just my way of phrasing things! I was really interested in your way of looking at eating out. It has been six years since we have been in Paris, so I am out of touch!

Vincent Feb 24th, 1999 12:24 AM

Some reassuring thoughts, Catherine : all the prices that the previous respondents have given are for Paris ; in the provinces, you may divide them by two (almost), which gives more "mileage" to your budget. Since you seem to like salads, one cheap way to have a good meal is to order a "salade composée", i. e. a big salad with lettuce, ham, cheese and... sometimes delicious duck gizzard (but I shouldn't have said that, even though you probably wouldn't tell which piece it is ! . Those salads go by the name of : salade paysanne, salade auvergnate, etc. In Paris bistros, their composition is usually written in English also. But actually, if food is not an issue, why bother : just go plainly to junk food places. Don't try to be politically correct if you don't appreciate it, and save your money for something you care more about.

catherine Feb 24th, 1999 04:11 PM

Hi Vincent, thanks for not being offended about my remarks on french food.If You said the english eat nothing but greasy stodge,I wouldn't be offended either.Each to his own. That salad idea sounds great.I have written it in my trip notes. The problem we had last time especially in Provence was not being able to read menus so we would guess at something.Consequently we had lots of duck gizzard and yucky goat cheese.Now I have been breaking out in a cold sweat about a popular dish in the Loire, eels in a cream sauce, The very thought makes me shudder ha ha.Vincent you have no idea how much I love every thing else about your beautiful country.The Art,architecture, history,landscape,the people.I love France better than my own country.If I won the lotto I would move there in a minute.An apartment on the isle St Louis is my idea of heaven.My only wish would be that the French would cook like the italians.Catherine de Medici did try to teach you ha, ha. .

greg Feb 25th, 1999 01:32 AM

This is not helpful to your question but I just have to respond: "yucky goats cheese"!! goodness me! A goats cheese salad with the cheese warmed under the grill and served with beautiful provencal tomatoes and lettuce is one of my favourite light meals. "yucky"? never! <BR>I have to say it is amusing to hear all the tips for enduring a seven hour flight - have some sympathy for us Australians - Melbourne - Paris about 22 hours.

joel Feb 25th, 1999 02:11 AM

Catherine, my wife and I travel regularly to France on business. This always involves one or 2 days in Paris, then up to a week in a small city in central France. <BR>We agree that you can do 250FF/day, but it will require careful planning. It will be much more difficult in Paris. In Paris, for example, it is quite difficult (in our opinion) to find breakfast included in the price of your room. <BR>If you are determined on this, I suggest you ask your hotelier for the location of a modest restaurant in the vicinity and focus on eating lunch and dinner there each day because if you try to find something on the fly while you're on the rue de Rivoli, for example, you will take a lot of time looking and probably get less for more. <BR>We also suggest that for lunch, an excellent alternative that will drastically reduce your costs (and permit a better supper) is to simply pop into a boulangerie and pick up a baguette, then a corner grocery store for some cheese or cold cuts (you can see them in their wrapper just like popular North American brands (Hormel, etc.). Personally, I like the idea of a do-it-yourself lunch on a park bench. <BR>As to gourmet food, I think you may mean food prepared with "parts" that we North Americans stick up our nose at. Personally, having lived there, I learned to appreciate it, but it took a lot of time to do. I would simply opt, as I suggested earlier, for that simple restaurant the hotelier might suggest, and eat there. You may already know that French menus are set up such that the entire meal is listed at a set price and the tip is virtually always already factored in. So you will have on the menu a variety of combinations at, say 80FF, 150FF, etc. That includes exactly what is listed. It may include a small pitcher of wine, but it's unlikely. I won't include coffee. <BR>I think you've got a great idea, to eat smart on a budget. We feel that our suggestions will work for you. Good luck!

catherine Feb 25th, 1999 01:56 PM

Thankyou all very much.Including Elaine and John.I find it wonderful that we are all different and able to share our thoughts with each other.I have learned a lot from this forum.Isn't that a sugary statement? Joel, you are lucky to be able to travel to France so much. If ever you need a good typist ha,ha!!Greg, <BR>22 hours in a plane! I bet you ignore the don't drink alcohol advice.I would need to be a little inebrieated for that one!

greg Feb 25th, 1999 11:32 PM

Actually the advice about limiting alcohol on long flights is the one that I do follow - lots of water instead. Unfortunately, from where we live there is no alternative if we want to visit Europe - and I do! <BR>I agree with the advice to buy a baguette, some cheese or pate for lunch, or just buy 'un sandwich' (which is a filled baguette , not a sandwich. <BR>That way you have more latitude when choosing somewhere for the evening meal

tina Feb 27th, 1999 08:00 AM

I agree that there are ways to cut costs without minimizing the experience. If you are worried about the budget or all the money you are overspending that is no fun either. My suggestion is to switch to the main meal midday and light meal in the evening, even a sandwich or fruit and yogurt. I always sleep better on a light meal and the same food at lunch will be less expensive than dinner. I am probably the reverse of you though, my mom always taught us to order something we couldn't get at home when we were in restaraunts (no hamburgers). Since I never serve fois gras or gizzards I expect I will be eating crazy foods for two weeks.

John Feb 28th, 1999 06:45 AM

Tina, I don't disagree with you. I personally will not go on vacation worrying about the cost of everything. I've travelled enough to know the expenses involved and I am not typically surprised how expensive things are wherever I go. Yes, there are ways to minimize the costs, but you can only minimize so much. However, someone has pointed out that she would rather go to Paris and schrimp then not go at all. Although this is against my own personal preferences and practice, the person does make a point and I can't criticize anyone for having that view. In the end, it is a personal prefernce. Some will only go if they can stay at the Ritz and others don't care where they stay. Who is right? Everyone. I also enjoy foie gras and gizzards as well, but if someone else does not that's ok too.

Ann Lloyd Feb 28th, 1999 10:09 PM

Hi, You can eat in Paris for 125 ff a day if you eat on the street or in your room a lot. A baguette is 4 francs, a bottle of evian is 15 F if you buy it from a kiosk, but about 3 ff in the grocery store. You can buy wine for as little as 7 ff a bottle. Most boulangeries have pizza or sandwiches that they will nuke for you for about 22 -30 ff each. Eat in the Latin Quarter, around metro St Michel there are some streets full of cheap student places, lots of atmosphere after 9 am.... <BR>And you can get a lunch menu for 60 francs in more out of the way places if you look, and the food is good everywhere. Grocery stores always have sandwiches and nukable stuff. Ask at the hotel if they have a microwave you can use to reheat stuff, and bring your own cutlery from Canada... French people want you to eat well, they are willing to help you out! Bon Appetit!

deepa Mar 1st, 1999 12:09 AM

Hey Catherine, Just an idea. The way my husband and I work on our budget while in Europe is that we like to keep our daily average for all expenses (excluding hotel room rates) at say 250 -350 USD per day. And we do a daily total each evening in a diary with small fun descripions(cute restaurant with funny waiter, fun shop with ..., special dishes we tried..) and then also do a average so far at the end of each day. There are certain days when we spend much more than the required average maybe because we ate at a special restaurant or we shopped something big but we keep track of the average and then cringe for the next day or so. In this way we get to eat at expensive places too and then balance it out on the average. Hope this helps! <BR>

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