Paris for Students – Where to eat (for cheap)

Cheap eats in Paris

A typical meal out at a nice French restaurant will cost around 15€. This is pretty steep. But if you really want that typical French restaurant experience..

1. I recommend eating lunch out and staying in for dinner – lunch menus are generally cheaper than dinner. Plus it is usually less crowded!

2. Eating in the restaurant will cost more than getting things to go, too – unlike in North America, Parisian restaurants charge a premium for people to eat in, even in places like MacDonald’s. I think it makes sense, since there is limited space in the city but this is a good-to-know fact so you don’t get mad when you see the price difference.

FYI

Vous allez…(Are you going to)
Manger sur place – Eat here?
Prendre à porter – Take it to go?

3. My friend took me to the Vietnamese district around Place d’Italie (Metro stop: Place d’Italie, Line 5,6 and 7), on Avenue d’Ivry, which you get to after walking down Avenue de Choisy and passing the Parc de Choisy. If you are looking for an amazing pho place, I highly recommend Le Lotus on Avenue d’Ivry. A bowl of pho will be around 8€. And in case you were looking for some hard-to-find ingredients there are also a lot of Asian grocery stores in the the area.

Yummy beef noodle soup!

4. I’ve heard 13e arrondissement is China Town, but I never got around to exploring the neighbourhood. It’s the area around Place d’Italie, but it seemed more like a mini-Vietnam than a Chinatown.

Bonus Tangent!

French people don’t seem to know the difference between types of Asian people yet, so you see a lot of ‘Asian’ restaurants which are, upon closer inspection, not Chinese but Vietnamese. I’m not complaining because I love Vietnamese food, but after growing up in Vancouver, a very Asian influenced city, I know and appreciate the difference between Asian foods and don’t like to see them grouped together: Sushi ≠ Korean BBQ ≠ Pho ≠ Pad Thai ≠ Chow Mein, and should therefore NOT be generalized.

6. And if you’re starving near the Louvre, get some ramen at the mini-mini Japanese district on Rue Sainte-Anne (Metro stop: Pyramides, Line 7 and 14). I went to Sapporo Ramen, and it wasn’t too bad but it definitely wasn’t as good as anything I could get in Vancouver. Not bad for around 9€ though.

There’s usually a line going around the corner, but it goes fast!

7. If Asian food’s not your thing, shawarma/donair and crepe places are almost everywhere.

Oh crepe nutella, how I miss you so.

8. And finally, if you want French baked goods on the go, the popular bakery franchises that sell baguette sandwiches are Paul, Brioche d’Oree, and Pomme de Pain and they are always decently priced – around 4€ for a baguette sandwich. If you wanna be spectacularly French, eat that baguette while on the Metro gawking at gorgeous Parisians – t’es trop cool.

Went to this one at Charles de Gaulle everytime I got back from a weekend trip. Good sandwiches. Good times.

 

Bonus tangent: A little known fact: All European students can get into most museums in France for free! It worked with a one year international HEC Paris student card, anyway 🙂 You’ll read all over the internet that all the museums are free on the first Sunday of every month, but they will also be VERY crowded – and with a student discount, museums are usually between 5-15 euros. So skip the crowds and enjoy them properly!

Happy eating!

Shiv 🙂

Paris for Students – Best places to people watch

One of my favourite things to do in any city is people watch. I don’t find many places to do this peacefully in Vancouver – usually I’m getting the death stare from the waitresses for sitting for hours with a coffee, or it’s too cold and wet to sit on the grass and watch people jog by with their dogs.

But Paris is the perfect city for sitting and watching people! It’s not only acceptable, but it’s a part of parisien culture: just sit, relax and watch the world. You will have the best time, if you let yourself. Oh, but a little warning – don’t gawk at the gorgeous people and outfits walking by, and at least wipe the drool from your mouth once in a while. Parisiens are hot. You have been warned.

I had a couple of favourite haunts in Paris that were great for people watching. Maybe you like them too 🙂 So, in no particular order…

**Warning: Almost all of them involve food because food always makes the experience better – no exceptions.

Buy some wine, cheese, a baguette and grapes to have a picnic on the grassy part below the Sacre CoeurYou will be looking at the best view of Paris.

paris views people watch students

The view from the Sacre Coeur. Sometimes, you'll be serenaded by French artists here too!

Bring blankets and a couple beers to enjoy on the lawns of the Champs de Mars, near the Eiffel TowerWatch the hordes of tourists go buy and watch the lights of the beautiful metal symbol of Paris 🙂

paris for students champs de mars

The grassy parts you're allowed to sit on...and stare at the glorious metal tower 🙂

Sit on the sloped cement area near the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges PompidouYou’re in the heart of Chatelet Les Halles (my favourite area of Paris, great for shopping and loitering around pop art stores). And you can watch the people walk around the crazy museum tubes.

centre georges pompidou people watching paris

Join the pigeons. They know what's up.

Drink a coffee or a glass of wine in any cafe on the street. Is there any way to do soak in the culture than a good book, a glass of something delicious,  fresh air, a good street view and your own thoughts? No. There isn’t.

paris street cafe people watching

Aren't you jealous? Yeah, me too.

So to get you even more immersed in the street life of Paris…Here is an introduction to what you will hear on the streets! Enjoy!

Happy creeping,

Shiv 🙂