If you're a student studying abroad in Europe, how can you say no to a weekend in Paris: beautiful architecture to pose by, sparkling lights at night and mouth-watering restaurants, cafés and markets on every block. However, after booking train tickets and reserving a place to stay, your trip already nears three figures. 

Parisian food can be the best part of your trip, yet as tempting as those Michelin-starred restaurants are, your wallet will not thank you. Based on my personal weekend trip to Paris, here is a guide for how to eat in Paris on a budget while still enjoying the best foods the city has to offer.


Local Boulangerie

If the place where you're staying doesn't offer breakfast, your best option is to find the nearest boulangerie (bakery). This shouldn't be too difficult considering that there are boulangeries on nearly every street in Paris. You can get a croissant, pain au chocolat or pastry for €1-2. I have yet to experience a bad bakery in Paris, and the earlier in the morning you go, the better selection you'll have.

Some well-known Paris bakeries include Eric Kayser, as pictured above, Pierre Hermé and Le Grenier à Pain. These may be worth stopping at if you're near any of their locations, but again, you really can't go wrong with any place that offers freshly baked bread.

#SpoonTip: Always say bonjour when entering a café or restaurant and merci, au revoir when leaving. Even if this is the limit of your French speaking abilities, these greetings are basic manners and custom to say any time you enter or leave an establishment.


If you're not a fan of bakeries, street markets are nearly as abundant and will have seasonal fresh fruit. You can choose your favorite fruits and shouldn't end up spending more than a euro or two. Depending on the district you're in, some famous markets worth visiting include Marché des Enfants Rouges and Marché Bastille.



If you have to sit down and get a menu for a sandwich, you're doing it wrong. There are sandwicheries everywhere in Paris, and you don't need to pay much to enjoy the fresh bread, meats and cheeses that will come with any Parisian sandwich. You should be able to order a foot-long sandwich or panini for €6 or less.


If you aren't in the mood for a sandwich, your next best bet is a crêperie. Most crêperies offer galettes (the equivalent of savory crêpes) and dessert crêpes. I've found that galettes tend to cost upwards of €8 depending on where you go, while dessert crêpes cost anywhere between €4-10 depending on the amount of toppings you want.

Many reviewers and travel sites recommend Breizh Café or La Crêperie Contemporaine for some of the best galettes and crêpes in Paris, but you will most likely need a reservation. As with the other places mentioned above, you won't have to look hard to find a nearby crêperie.

#SpoonTip: It is considered rude to ask for a to-go box at a sit-down restaurant, so make sure you come hungry and don't order more than you plan on eating.

Picnic Lunch

bread, cheese, wine
Savannah Carter

If you're in Paris on a nice day, enjoy a picnic in a nearby park or, if you're trying to get an Insta-worthy photo, in front of the Eiffel Tower. You can buy ingredients at a street market and enjoy fresh baguettes, cheese, fruit and wine. Depending on the ingredients you buy, this shouldn't cost more than €10 per person.



steak, filet mignon, sauce, wine, beef
Jenna Moxley

Dinner in Paris will definitely be your priciest meal of the day, but it is still possible to enjoy fine cuisine for under €20. I would recommend using Foursquare to look up restaurants nearby and filtering the selections by price. Restaurants with the €€ sign won't be too expensive, and you can check the ratings and reviews as well.

Parisian bistros typically feature a variety of foods, including appetizer plates, salads, cheeseburgers and a variety of meat and fish dishes surrounded by fresh vegetables. To further save money, skip the overpriced restaurant drinks and buy your own bottle of wine to enjoy before or after dinner.

#SpoonTip: In France, waiters will not bring you the check until you ask for it. Tipping is a nice gesture but unless the service is exceptional, it is not necessary.

While you'll inevitably end up spending more in Paris than you would in a smaller European town, there are ways to budget your weekend while still enjoying the cuisine. Bon appetit!