Visiting Paris seems to go hand-in-hand with good food, good wine, and good company. The finer things in life. But more often than I’d like to admit, I tend to visit Paris on a budget. So after a long weekend in the city last June I discovered five of the best, most exciting and most affordable places to eat in Paris to share with you guys here on the blog!
Because what would Paris be without great cheese and meat platters, intricate desserts and hip local hangouts?
And don’t worry, I will shortly be following this article up with the most affordable and best places to drink in Paris so you can make the most of your time in the city of lights no matter what your budget!
5 Exciting and Affordable Places to Eat in Paris
1. Freegan Pony
The concept behind Freegan Pony completely swept me away and instead of leaving the best until last I decided to place this Parisian restaurant at the very top of my list!
The founder, Aladdin, originally began the restaurant illegally – essentially he squatted in the building that simultaneously became the most underrated secret of Paris and home to the most creative chefs in the city. How?
Because their three course menu each night consists of food that would have been thrown away and wasted. At the end of each market day, Aladdin and volunteers source the freshest produce that hasn’t been sold, completely for free from stall owners that would have thrown the food to waste.
That means that each night the menu depends entirely on the chef cooking, and the produce saved from the market’s rubbish bins. What could be better? Well, you pay as much as you want. There is no minimum and no maximum, meaning that the restaurant depends entirely on the donations of its clients… but please be generous as this is an incredible project!
The meal above was presented as if I had been eating in a top restaurant… and eating a one of a kind meal that would likely never be served again was an exciting experience in itself!
Not to mention that the building that the ‘squat’ resides in is a massive warehouse – hows that for one of the most unique places to eat in Paris? All the furniture is second-hand and cosy, although the warehouse is quite cold so make sure to wrap up warm!
A quick check of the Freegan Pony website suggests that it’s currently closed for the rest of the summer while they work on the project (noooo…!). But it will be back up and running soon so keep an eye on their Facebook page!
Address: Place August Baron, 75019 Paris
Opening hours: When it resumes, normal opening hours are 20:00pm – midnight
Words can’t explain how much I have fallen in love with this mono-product store. I first experienced it on my tour with RobertPINK, and returned the very next day to the second store they have in Le Marais.
Why? Because their pâte à choux range is out of this world delicious! I definitely have more of a savoury tooth than a sweet one, but after one bite into these cream puff delights all I wanted was to try every one!
With flavours ranging from simple caramel to their intricately designed choux du jour (choux of the day), the staff and family members that run Popelini are more than happy to suggest their favourites for you to try.
In fact, on my second trip I’d dragged along Expat Edna and we both fell so in love with the concept of the store and the taste of the choux that the owner gave us a freebie! Now that’s customer service!
Although perhaps he was just trying to get us to leave because between taking photos and trying the pâte à choux range we must have spent at least half an hour in there!
Address #1: 29 Rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris
Address #2: 44 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00am – 19:30pm; Sunday: 10:00am – 15:00pm
This Parisian bar/restaurant is one of my favourite places to eat in Paris for three reasons:
- They serve great platters of Parisian meats and cheeses, with the perfect red wines to match
- It’s just around the corner from one of my favourite Parisian hostels
- You can play pétanque here at the same time!
Pétanque is very similar to boules. Each player has to throw their steel balls as close as possible to the ‘goal’ which is a wooden ball affectionally named the cochonnet (‘piglet’ or ‘Jack’ in English).
And Chez Bouboule has their very own pétanque boulodrome opposite the bar! Behind which stand the friendliest of French bartenders.
It’s a great place to hang out with friends and grab a platter of French cheeses and meats – I’ll definitely be returning soon!
Address: 0 Avenue Trudaine, 75009 Paris
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 17:00pm – 02:00am; Saturday: 10:00am – 02:00am
This market is the centre of Le Marais and whilst it serves regular groceries for you to cook at home, there is also a wide variety of incredible stalls to grab food and go.
My favourite is the one in the photo above! They make crêpes, but not the traditional kind that you cover with nutella. Their crêpes are filled to the brim with local meats and you can see the queue forming for the epic pancakes in the photo!
But if you aren’t in the mood for traditional French food, grab a Moroccan pancake! As someone who visits Morocco frequently, I can tell you that the traditional recipes have been handed down immaculately!
Although if you really want a great Moroccan msemen and don’t mind walking through a less traditional (read: more ethnically diverse) part of Paris then my highest recommendation on this list is to visit the market at Barbès-Rochechouart.
Of course, in the summer months the best thing to do is to just pick up some cheese and wine from Marché des Enfants Rouges and take it to eat and drink along the Seine. Of all the places to eat in the summer, the Seine is my favourite!
Address: Marché des Enfants Rouges, 75003 Paris
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 08:30am – 13:00pm & 16:00pm – 19:30pm; Saturday: 16:00pm – 20:00pm; Sunday: 08:30am – 14:00pm
Dessance offers a rare combination of fine dining and fantastic value for money. I hope these photos will convince you just how fine the dining experience is!
And when it comes to value for money, how does a three course Parisian meal sounds for €26? Pretty good to me…
I’ll be perfectly honest here, fancy food isn’t really my thing. In fact, if you’re looking for a fine dining expert then perhaps my friend Aftab over at Fresh & Fearless can help you out. I met him on my last trip to Paris and his Instagram is a fine foodies delight!
But, sat across from Aftab in Dessance, I well and truly fell in love both with the food and the service offered here. In fact, despite the incredibly exciting and tasty budget three course meal that they provide, it’s the friendly service that makes me want to go back!
My next trip to Paris will be spent hanging out with a chef I met almost two years ago now in Safestay Hostel in London. I’m going to drag him to Dessance and get his opinion!
Address: 74 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 12:00am – 11:00pm
So there you have it! My top 5 favourite, most exciting and most affordable places to eat in Paris!
And I hope that I’ve also included something for everyone! From playtime at Chez Bouboule, to snack time at Marché des Enfants Rouges; the fine dining experience at Dessance, to the vegan anti food waste experience at Freegan Pony; and last but not least the exquisite dessert for every occasion at Popelini!
Tell me: Which one do you think you’d like the most?!
Lots of love,