Five budget and free places to eat in Paris

Written by on August 20, 2013 in Paris

budget restaurants paris

It is absolutely true – that’s not just a catchy title with no substance!

There are certain restaurants in Paris that will serve a free meal when you buy drinks but you need to be careful where you go – they are not all of a good standard and it’s not worth a free meal if it’s almost inedible.

We checked out a number of restaurants offering free food with drinks and of all of them we could only really recommend two.  We also visited some budget restaurants in Paris and found three that we highly recommend which are regularly used by our Paris local experts.

Free eats in Paris

La Cordonnerie
A very friendly bar and as you’d expect very popular with the locals. The boss at La Coronnerie says “Come and have a good time without hurting your wallet!”. There is a good atmosphere with really friendly staff in this bar/bistro with a sun terrace and WIFI access.

Couscous offered free with drinks on Thursday and Saturday evenings from 8pm – and the drink prices are not hiked up as you might think. Address: 142 rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris, Metro: Etienne Marcel

Le Tribal Café
budget restaurants parisA friendly bar with an oriental setting. It has worn leather banquettes and a sunny terrace overlooking an almost pedestrian street. Again very popular with the locals, especially students, and is quite trendy. It is always packed when they serve free couscous on Friday and Saturday from 9pm and free fried mussels on Wednesday and Thursday from 9pm. The drinks are not expensive. Address: 3 rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris; Metro:  Chateau d’Eau

Cheap Eats in Paris

La Bonbonnière de Marie

In the Champ de Mars gardens, in the shade of the Eiffel Tower, La Bonbonnière de Marie serves fast food such as salads, crêpes, hot dogs, pizzas, sandwiches, waffles, candyfloss and ice cream.

It is a little oasis of greenery in the heart of Paris, like a secret garden where you can play on the hundred year old swings and relax and watch the world go by.  Address: 1 allée Adrienne Lecouvreur, 75007 Paris

As far as we know, the only place in Paris (maybe in France!) where you can buy a freshly made sandwich for 1 Euro. The first shop opened in 2009 and they’ve been so popular (we can tell why) that they have become a successful chain. Prices start at €1 for a basic sandwich such as ham, cheese and salad, egg and go up to €3 for something much more exotic like chicken Caesar salad and Parmesan cheese.

The three shops are at:

Palais des Congrés, place de la Porte Maillot, Paris 17th Arr
11, Rue du marché saint-Honoré, Paris 1st Arr
51 rue Pelletier, Paris 9th Arr
Website: Goutu

Oh! Ma Mie Café
We chose this chain because you can get a decent meal for a very reasonable price in the heart of Paris. A bowl of soup, pizza and a drink will set you back €10, whilst a generous serving of a pasta dish is just €7.50. There’s a wide choice of cosmopolitan style dishes and you’ll find them not too far from the Eiffel Tower at 17 rue Desaix, 75015 Paris; website: (English version)

And if this is not enough, check out this excellent website which is a great guide to Happy Hours Paris – you can search for happy hour by time, district or drinks all over Paris (in French).

See our Low Cost Paris feature for more budget saving ideas
Insiders Guide to the best walks in Paris
The best places to picnic in Paris

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