Budgeting for vacation can be tricky, especially in a city with so many options.
In Paris, there is no upper limit when it comes to how much you can spend, and exercising restraint can often be a challenge. But you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time—or a good meal!
To help you figure out the average cost of food in Paris per day, we’ve broken down what some of your costs might be at every meal. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well you can eat even on a small budget!
If it’s not included at your hotel, don’t worry! Breakfast in France is the lightest meal of the day, and you can pick up a handmade croissant at any of the thousands of boulangeries in the city for around €1. And there’s no need to worry about missing out on precious sightseeing time, either. Breakfast pastries are eaten on the go, or on a public bench—rarely in a café or restaurant where they can often be three times the bakery price.
Coffee can be a little more expensive, especially if you want a café crème on the outside terrace (a coffee with milk is never called a café au lait by locals). In bars and restaurants, you pay for your real estate—there are generally three different prices for drinks. Standing at the bar and sipping an espresso will often only cost you €1; if you want to sit inside, it will be €2, and sitting outside can often run you more than €2.50 for the same cup of coffee.
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s a good idea to eat at home or eat street food at least once a day. Don’t let that once be lunch!
At lunchtime in Paris, you’ll find some of the city’s best deals in the form of the formule, a fixed-price meal with one, two or three courses. Served strictly between 12 p. m and 3 p. m, the formule will usually be written on a chalkboard, changed daily, and cost under €25 for three courses. If you simply want the plat du jour, or dish of the day, it will cost around €15.
Dinner can be more expensive, with the majority of restaurants serving a cheaper plat du jour only at lunch. Main courses will start around €20, and that’s not including a drink.
If you’re on a budget, dinner is the best moment to check out Paris’ best street food. Alternatively, grab a baguette, some cheese and a bottle, head down to the banks of the Seine, and join the local crowds enjoying a picturesque picnic on the riverside.
The cheapest alcoholic beverage in France is—you guessed it—wine. You can get a cheap bottle in the supermarket for around €3 if you’re on a budget, and if you’re not, well…there’s really no upper limit!
Generally, a bottle of wine in a bar or restaurant will start at €20–25. Beer is expensive—usually around €7 a pint—but happy hours exist all over the city from 6–8 p. m. Spirits are rarely drunk by the locals and are very expensive. Cocktails usually start around €12.
What’s the total average cost of food in Paris per day?
We think you can eat your way around Paris for around €50 per person per day. Going for a picnic and eating only street food will save you even more, but in the city that invented the restaurant, we think you’re wise to spend some of that hard-earned cash eating out!