By Evie Carrick
June 26, 2019
Bruno De Hogues/Getty Images

There’s a certain magic to Paris — no matter where in the city you visit, the streets are lined with beautiful buildings and filled with beautiful people. On every corner, Parisians sit back, eat, drink, and watch the world pass by. They make it look so good that it’s more than a little tempting to join them; but even a modest snack — a couple glasses of wine and a charcuterie board — can get expensive fast.

There’s still a way to enjoy the city’s famed cuisine without blowing your budget on a couple meals. Below we list some true Parisian dining experiences at prices that will won’t leave you broke.

Grab a falafel sandwich and eat on the Seine

Cost: 6.50 euros

Location: 4th arrondissement

It’s hard to top a summer evening on the Seine river — but since everything is better with food, we suggest you swing by L'As du Fallafel before settling in. There’s usually a line at the to-go window of this beloved falafel shop, but you’ll be rewarded with a hearty pita stuffed with veggies, sauce, and of course, freshly made falafel. The trick is walking the eight minutes from the restaurant to the Seine without devouring it.

If you want to extend your evening, drop by Lot of Wine for a bottle of wine. If you let them know you’ll be dining al fresco, they’ll set you up with to-go cups and open the bottle — this is Paris after all!

Enjoy a Parisian cafe experience in Montmartre

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Cost: 14.50 euros

Location: 18th arrondissement

Even though it can be pricey, every visitor to France should experience a leisurely meal at a traditional French cafe. At the Le Relais Gascon, you can dine the Parisian way — outside on the terrace, of course — without forfeiting good prices and hearty portions. And the latter is important, as you’ll likely drop in after climbing around 300 stairs to reach Montmartre’s iconic Sacré-Cœur. Once you’ve found your perch at Le Relais Gascon, try the steak with pepper and Roquefort cheese sauce or the tagliatella pasta with salmon.

Escape the crowds of the Louvre with a visit to Little Tokyo

Cost: 11 euros

Location: 1st arrondissement

If it’s your first trip to Paris, the Louvre is likely at the top of your to-do list. Once you’ve searched out your favorite artists and pieces, lunch at the nearby Sanukiya is in order. There may be a line at this popular udon restaurant, but the hot soup and hearty noodles will keep you full till dinner — and the price tag is a welcome change from the pricey cafes near the Louvre. For the best deal, the Kitsune Udon is 11 euros.

Eat in Paris’ oldest covered market

Cost: 9.50 euro

Location: 4th arrondissement

Step off the main thoroughfares in Paris and you’ll discover hidden enclaves that many tourists overlook. This is the case with Marché des Enfants Rouges, a bustling covered market right off Rue de Bretagne. The market is packed with food vendors and nestled among them is Chez Alain Miam Miam. If you’re willing to wait — and trust us, it’s worth the wait — you’ll be rewarded with a gallet (savory crepe) or grilled sandwich overflowing with cheesy goodness. When it’s your turn to order, go with your gut or stick with a customer favorite — the whole wheat gallet packed with ham, parmesan, basil, and tomato.

Have a pizza picnic on Canal Saint-Martin

Cost: 14.50 euros

Location: 10th arrondissement

If Paris hasn’t won you over, then sitting on the canal under the stars will do the trick. When dusk settles in, locals head to the canal to meet with friends and crack a post-work beer. And while friends and beer are great, not much beats pizza.

Located just off the canal, Pink Flamingo serves up unconventional pizzas made with high-quality ingredients. We suggest La Basquiat, a pizza topped with gorgonzola cheese, figs, and cured ham. They deliver, so you can set up on the canal (or go buy a bottle of wine at the nearby Le Verre Volé) while your pizza is cooked to perfection.

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