Paris Restaurants for a Student Budget

Dec 23rd, 2002, 03:51 PM
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Paris Restaurants for a Student Budget


I am a college student who will be visiting Paris next week with a friend. We obviously don't have a ton of money, and was hoping someone could recommend a few decent restaurants in Paris that don't break the bank.

I'm hoping for something that is about 15 Euros per person for dinner (fixed price or a la carte meal). Ideally, I would like to try traditional french cuisine.

For lunch, I hear a good inexpensive option is sandwiches and street food? Any good value sitdown places for lunch? (in the ballpark of 8-10 euros?)

I will be staying in the 7th near the Ecole Militaire, so anything in that proximity is a plus.

Thanks. I'm looking forward to some recommendations.
Dec 23rd, 2002, 06:38 PM
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Go to the area around Place St Michele, just across the Seine from Notre Dame. Rue de la Huchette, rue de la Harpe and rue St Severin. The area is full of inexpensive restaurants which have two and three course prix fixed meals for under 15 euros. Most have a really cheap option (around 8 euros) that is only good until about 7pm, after that the other options which run about 10, 12 and 15 euros are still available. Most have steak and fries which is about as French as you can get. (Higher priced restaurant snobs will argue that point). There are also lots of Greek restaurants in that area (and all over Paris) and they are even less and really good if you like that kind of food. Order a "caraf d'eau" which will be free. If you just ask for "water" you will be given bottled water and charged for it - more in fact, than for wine. Soda is also more than wine and it's the beverages that can really add to the cost of meals.
Dec 23rd, 2002, 06:55 PM
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When my backpack-catering, low budget traveling "Lonely Planet Paris" refers to the r. de la Huchette area as "Bacteria Alley," it gives me pause.
Dec 23rd, 2002, 07:33 PM
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Stu, here are some notes from my month in Paris in May 2001. I'm always on a budget so picked some places that I thought were good. My favorite, Cafe du Marche, on Rue Cler in the 7th where I stayed, I understand is closed for renovation - too bad as this was my favorite. Maybe they've finished their renovations (?)

Lunch at La Bastoche on rue St. Antoine near the Bastille metro. Excellent scallops in truffle sauce. Carol had excellent salmon. We opted for the 2-course menu at 89FF plus ¼ liter of wine each. This would be approx. $12 + wine; I'm sure higher for dinner but I think they serve lunch fairly late.

Had lunch at Vesuvio on Champs Elysee which was excellent – prix fixe 3 course which ran around $18 including wine.

Café de le Depart at Place St Michel at the Seine for a wonderful New York brownie sundae.
Pizza Milano across the street from Le Depart. This area is a great rest stop – so much traffic and pedestrians to watch. I didn't make a note of the pizza price but I'm sure it couldn't have been more than $10 perhaps including wine. The pizza was excellent.

I'd like to recommend that you look at Rick Steves' Paris guidebook as he has very good restaurant recs.
Dec 24th, 2002, 02:53 AM
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Cafe du Marche is open when I was in Paris the first week December. There are great shops on this street to just buy some bread, cheeses or meats and make a sandwich which is half the cost. Great pastries too!

Pizza Milano should be reasonable as it's a UK chain that we have in Ireland as well and its tasty Pizza at a good price. Also there were lots of reasonable grrk/Kebab places in the Latin Quarter to eat. I found food in Paris relatively cheap compared to where I live.
Dec 24th, 2002, 05:22 AM
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Stu: Here is a chinese restaurant I went to last fall just west of the Luxomburg Gardens. Three course meal was about 11 euro.

La Florissant
53, rue de Viugirard
Paris, 75006
France I don't think you would require a reservation. I know this is not French, but the next one is.

I try to dine at "La Table d'Aligre restaurant" at least once when I am in Paris. This is a little more than your budget, but it is well worth it. 23 euro fixed price. This restaurant was mentioned in Bon Appétit Magazine a year or two ago and the food and service is exceptional. I feel it is the best buy in Paris for the price.

La Table d'Aligre
11, Place d'Aligre
75012 Paris
01 43 07 84 88 I would recommend reservations.
Metro: Ledru Rollin (this metro station was closed on October for repairs and I may not be open yet.) The restaurant is located about 3 or 4 blocks behind the Bastille Opera. They open for dinner about 7:30 and they also serve a lunch.
Dec 24th, 2002, 08:04 AM
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I live here and host a lot of people on a budget. I would suggest getting Time Out's guide to Paris and checking out the budget restaurant section. Avoid US-based guides and the rue de la Huchette area, which may be relatively cheap but which is poor value for the money. Also avoid pizza and bistro chains (Bistro Romain...) for the same reasons. The Champs Elysees area is probably the biggest rip off, while there are many excellent values in the 11th and 20th arrondisements. Sandwich shops such as Aux Pains Perdus and Le Pain Quotidien (both have web sites) have very good quick food for moderate prices. Open markets are excellent for picnic ingredients. Have fun and bon appetit.
Dec 24th, 2002, 08:21 AM
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Stu, yes, you can get really cheap sandwiches on the street. Lots of grocery stores have refrigerated cases with sandwiches for sale at lunchtime. Seems like they were in the 2-3 euro range and more than adequate. You won't have to look any place special for them. Also, just keep an eye out for places where people are queued up at a really tiny store around lunchtime. Those will be locals picking up a cheap lunch to go. Get in line with them.
Dec 24th, 2002, 09:18 AM
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The 7th is chock full of inexpensive eateries. There are two cafes at Place de l'Ecole Militaire - one has excellent sandwiches and salads. Across from Latour Maubourg metro stop is La Source with a large casual menu including sandwiches, salads, crepes. Across the street from that is Bistrot du 7eme (reservations recommended) which is more of a restaurant with wonderful food at low prices. If wander down that same street there are others as well.

A very popular dining destination in the 7th is Le P'tit Troquet (reservations essential), with very good food at very low prices, on rue de l'Exposition.

You'll find all sorts of others just by wandering through the neighborhood and perusing menus. Whenever you spot an appealing place, make a reservation.
Dec 24th, 2002, 09:47 AM
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The crepe stand on Rue Cler offers a very filling and delicious meal for just a few Euros.
Dec 25th, 2002, 11:16 AM
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there is a traiteur halfway down the pedestrianized area of rue cler which grills sausages for luncheon sandwiches- very good/fresh/cheap. right at the end of rue cler at motte piquet is a boulangerie/patisserie with very good raisin danish and small quiches that they will warm up for your snacking approval.
Dec 26th, 2002, 06:49 AM
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My wife and I ate at the Claude Sainlouis, 27 rue du Dragon a few years ago. It's in the 6th Arr., and it's a quintessential nieghborhood restaurant (even though the neighborhood is touristy). The matre d' seemed to know eveyone who came in, and according to Fodors the current prices are EUR12 to EUR38. I had the special--tuna steak in Basque sauce-- and my wife had steak frites. Both were excellent.

Another good bargain restaurant, and a little funkier, is Trumilou on the Right Bank near the Hotel de Ville. You sit at long tables with eveyone else, and the waiters I've had have been brisk (I've seen them described as brusque in guides) but funny and helpful.

Good luck,


Dec 26th, 2002, 10:36 AM
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No student on a budget should miss the experience of dining at Chartier, not only for the food, but also the unique ambiance. You'll see plenty of French students on a budget eating there as well as lots of old habitués. It's in the 9me, at 7, rue de la Faubourg Montmartre.
Dec 26th, 2002, 11:19 AM
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I;m not at all familiar with Chartier, can you say more about it?
Dec 26th, 2002, 11:41 AM
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Elaine: Chartier is a venerable Paris institution, a huge place jammed with tables and decorated à la early 1900s that has existed to serve good (not fancy) food for people on a budget for decades. You may be seated at a large table with complete strangers, the waiters positively fly around the place writing your orders on the paper tablecloth and doing the math for your bill there too, and the place is always packed with a nice combination of young people on strict budgets and old-timers for whom it is a home away from home. Last time I was there, a typical meal of house pâté, filet of salmon with lemon butter and vegetables, apple tart, and quarter pitcher of wine was about $10. That was about 4 years ago - prices may be higher now, but will definitely be a bargain.
Dec 26th, 2002, 11:54 AM
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For the 4 years I was a student in France, I would eat a lot at the Restaurant Universitaire (or "Restau U") as many French students do. If you have your student ID with you, go to one of the Facultes that has one and you can get a quite decent lunch or dinner (depending on the Restau U) for next to nothing. It's not haute cuisine, but it's fine. If you can't find one, ask some university students on the street.
Dec 26th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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Hi Stu. I second StCirq's recommendation of Chartier. As she noted, the ambience is unique, you will likely be seated at a large table with strangers (the two times I've eaten there I've ended up having nice conservations with French people), and it's very entertaining to watch the waiters zip around.

Another relatively inexpensive restaurant I like is closer to where you'll be in 7th, the Restaurant des Beaux Arts, in the 6th, across from the Ecole des Beaux Arts, at 11 rue Bonaparte. As the name and location suggest, it has long catered to students at that school and is decorated with paintings that students allegedly did to pay for meals. Like Chartier, it serves simple but good French food.

Close by is another inexpensive place I ate at once and really enjoyed: Orestias, which serves French and Greek food, at 4 rue Grégoire-de-Tours. As at Chartier, you will likely share a large table with happily masticating strangers.

All three of the above restaurants are listed under "The Top 10 Places to Eat (Inexpensive)" at the website below:

Not traditional French food, but if you happen to be in the Marais, check out L'As du Fallafel at 34 rue de Rosiers, for what the article ("Cheap eats in Paris") at the website below calls a "truly transcendent sandwich" . . . but if you sit on the bench outside to watch the parade of people as you descend into your transcendent falafel sandwich watch out for the pigeons which roost on the light above the bench!

Dec 26th, 2002, 01:41 PM
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great websites, thanks
Anyone been to Le Mabillon 4 recently?
12 rue Clement, in the 6th. Years ago it was pretty cheap, with excellent food
Dec 26th, 2002, 09:22 PM
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Capo, Thanks for the websites! They were full of great information. My family will be staying on Rue Cler this summer, so I am also interested in inexpensive but good restaurants that are nearby. Thanks again! Laurie
Dec 27th, 2002, 12:33 PM
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There is a rotisserie on the rue cler that had the best darn chicken my friends & I have ever ate! Great stop for lunch. There is also a crepe stand there with a gruff old guy, his crepes are stuffed and are cheaper than the skimpier ones near Notre Dame.

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