Chic, romantic, atmospheric and expensive, there’s no way to dress up the fact that you can easily spend ridiculous amounts of money simply eating and drinking in Paris. If you’re heading to Paris for the marathon this weekend, here are three ways to ensure you’re not out of pocket by the end of it all.
Or dinner perhaps. If you think all the French do is dine out at exquisite restaurants or brasseries then I’m afraid your mistaken. They tend to head to Flunch. The décor is drab but the concept – canteen cum restaurant – is excellent. As well as offering a variety of “Formule” menus – normally a main dish say fish in sauce and potatoes or pasta and sauce plus drink – for the relatively modest price of around 10 Euros, they also have a massive selection of salads, which you can pile on your plate, desserts and mix and match plates. It’s amazing for veggies, who want more than “salads vertes”, the main meals are more often than not made to order and there’s not a burger in sight. No wonder the French love to Flunch for lunch. If you don’t mind being parked next to a family with kids while you munch on pretty healthy stuff, then make Flunch your purse-friendly choice. There is one based at Les Halles, which is pretty centrally located in Paris.
2. Buy a carnet of tickets
The visitor passes may seem like a good idea at the time but if you simply calculate how many times you will be using the metro, then I’m sure you’ll discover a book of 10 tickets for the Métro is way better value. At just 13,70 Euros for 10, that’s 1,37 a journey. A two day visitor pass will set you back around 16 Euros, if there’s two of you, that’s 32 Euros. Or you could buy 20 tickets for 27Euros. Essentially, it’s up to you to work out how many trips you will be making on public transport but we usually end up coming back with at least four tickets left over after our visits to Paris. You can buy both at any Métro station.
3. Head East of Pigalle
If you want to buy a souvenir of Paris or perhaps pick up a new item for your wardrobe, there are several shops between Pigalle and Montmartre that sell seconds of famous French names such as Kookai, 1-2-3 and Agnes B. If you’re after a bargain, they’re worth taking a look. One word of caution though: those who are not fans of TK Maxx’s lack of merchandising should avoid as there’s a lot of rummaging around to pick out a bargain find. Then there’s always Tati, which as the name suggests, is an emporium of well “tat” but you can sometimes find a treasure or two. Hell, this massive department-style store even sells wedding dresses. Your best place to start on your bargain shopping mission in Paris is Barbes-Rochechouart – which is my personal favourite Métro stop to try and pronounce properly. Just dive right in and go along for the ride.