We are planning our first trip to France, but the reported coast of dinning there is a little offputting. Is it possible to keep the daily cost of eating down to two hundred dollars a day for two people?
I haven't been to France, but if I can't eat somewhere for under $100 a day, it's not a place I want to go. Especially considering that many decent hotels include breakfast, I simply cannot fathom spending that much on food unless you are talking dressy, fancy, white tablecloth fine dining type of restaurants. Eat breakfast at your hotel, get some street food or eat at a cafe frequented by locals for lunch (b/c it'll be better and probably cheaper anyway), and splurge for dinner if you feel the need (but I live in a city where dining is very expensive - LA - and the best food is at the cheap hole-in-the-wall places anyway...). I just can't imagine that 2 people can't eat for $200 a day - and immensely enjoy their food - anywhere in the whole world.
I've never spent more than $50. Breakfast is either included with the hotel, or picked up at a bakery. Lunch at most cafes (or in museums) is typically 10 - 15 Euro. The plat de jour at the cafes in the evening tends to run between maybe 12 - 35 Euro. The big, "white tablecloth" places are expensive, of course, and the meals on boat cruises start around $100 Euro.
France is not that much unless you are eating in the top places in town!
Example 25-30 Euros in paris can often get you a three course meal!
We ate dinner in a little town in north-eastern France for 22 Euro for two people. This included a glass of wine and 3 courses. You can pay a little or you can pay an awful lot -- it depends on where you go and what your expectations are.
The quick answer is: stay away from the touristy restaurants (e.g., in Paris, I am talking about the the ones near the major sites, such as Eiffel Tower, also the overpriced restaurants along the Seine and in the Latin Quarter). Menus (by law, in France) are posted "outside" the restaurant, along with prices. Want a cheap eat? Don't hesitate going to a "brasserie" - good local food, good prices, and you get to dine with the locals.
One more thing...if you feel the need to splurge, do so on "lunch"...lunch is generally always a better value (and otherwise, just less expensive) than dinner/supper.
Get Rick's guidebook. He always has loads of great restaurant choices from cheap to a justifiable splurge. Remember, Paris is a big city - it is expensive. Out in the countryside you'll get a much bigger meal (and oftentimes better meal) for considerably less money. I would echo the earlier posts - don't look for restaurants right around the tourist areas - go a couple of blocks further for the real finds.
If you are in Paris... I wouldn't know, but for the rest of the country, you'd have to try very hard to spend that much money in one day. Although good meals are rarely dirt cheap, they can be surprisingly inexpensive when comparing to similar quality in the US- Paris excluded, of course. The rest of the country is surprisingly affordable.
Where in France? Paris will be more expensive than other areas. Just returned from Paris. I agree with some of the previous posts. Eat breakfast at the hotel or purchase at a cafe. Stop at small shops and make a sandwich.
There's no need to spend that much money. Picnic lunches are easy - a fresh baguette, some cheese and salami, fruit and you are good-to-go. Breakfast is a croissant with coffee - cheaper if you go to a local bakery. Rue Cler is a cute shopping street near the Eiffel Tower. As indicated in others, brasseries are a good option. The exchange is higher now than when we were last there, but even with that you should be able to spend $25 - $40 for dinner (we usually are closer to $15 - $20). Outside of Paris is considerably less expensive. Another option is to have your main meal at a fixe pris lunch and picnic dinner (walk away meals available around Paris and eat in a park).
I have been to France 4x and agree with the other posts. Our last trip in 9/06 was 3 weeks and food was the least of our costs. Outside of Paris you can have fantastic meals, 3-4 courses, with apertif, bottle of wine, coffee for 20 - 30 EUR for 2 people. We travelled from the Loire, Lanquedoc, Provence, and Burgundy and it was the same everywhere. Even Paris can be inexpensive if you stay away from the touristy (places with menus in english) restaurants. The food is usually better and the experience is always better. Our big splurge in Paris is dinner our last night at Altitude 95 on top of the Eifel Tower, its touristy but great food and views. Enjoy!
Thank you for the reassurance.I can't believe how many typos I had in my first post. I'm glad to know my husband's fears were groundless. We usually spend under $100. a day for the two of us when we travel. Thanks again.
No need to spend anywhere near that much. We don't spend that much anywhare in France for lodging and meals together. In Paris there are lots of delis and gourmet carry-out places and you can picnic, or lots of little ethnic places that are cheap and good. The open air markets are fun all over France and you can get bread, cheese, olives, fruit ,etc and eat well for not much. Get Rick's book on France, Paris, etc. The Rue Cler area in Paris is a great place to start.
I agree with the previous poster. Plan on doing picnics! Hit the local market in the morning and get your picnic supplies. You have so many wonderful choices for picnic sites...such as the Jardin de Tuileries, the Champ du Mars beneath the Eiffel Tower or the many riverbanks along the Seine...I understand there are some lovely places to picnic near Notre Dame and Ile de l'Cite. Rick Steves recommends the Rue Cler Market in the 7th. He also suggests skipping the hotel breakfasts unless they are included in your bill. You can get a coffee and croissant for cheaper at a restaurant. Also, he advises to choose restaurants that are mom and pop type places. He always looks for places with a chalkboard indicating the Plat du Jour, you can't go wrong!
Rue Cler is special. Rick Steve's book "Paris" a must. Real Onion Soup w/ bread not expensive. Save your money for one big night.
I was in Paris earlier this month. A nearby cafe had plat du jour at lunchtime ( noon to 2:30 pm ) at 15-16 Eu. Dinner with the same menu was 22 Eu. Do most of your "dining" during the lunch hours and save a bundle. Eat lightly (crepes, bakery stuff, etc) the rest of the day. Your hotel will usually charge 5-8 Eu for breakfast. Last fall the Hotel Republique wasn't charging anything for breakfast--a very good deal, considering they are a Rick Steves budget hotel anyway. I like to have at least one falafel meal in Paris--the take-out falafel (it's huge) from one of the falafel places on Rue des Rosiers is 4 Eu. I also frequent the Asian eat-in or take-away places. The food is inexpensive, filling, and delicious. I've never paid more than 10 Eu for a meal there. And, the places are open all day starting at about 11 am.