A Few Tips on How to Budget for Food in Paris, France
The economy in the land of wine and cheese is based on the euro, which was adopted as the official currency on January 1, 1999. From 1795-1999 the national coin was the franc. Since the exchange rate fluctuates daily, check your country’s conversion charts. When it comes to buying or ordering some of their famous cuisine, sometimes the portions will be smaller and it will be hard to judge how much it really costs to eat while you are there. Yet, Paris is friendly to all budgets.
The City of Lights is quite a paradigm shift in terms of scales and measurements, they use the metric system. Whether it be buying a soda or gasoline, you will have to get used to the differences and the lingo. A funny example would be from the 1994 American crime movie Pulp Fiction, we’re reminded that the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder has a much different name - "Royale with Cheese" (Royal Cheese). Keep this in mind if the kids demand a stop at a familiar place.
During your Paris tour itinerary, you will more than likely have at least one top-tier establishment you'd like to visit. It’s good to know that a Michelin multi-star rated experience can set you back about $105+ for Prix Fixe lunch and $250 - $1,500 per person during the evening. Choose the very best restaurant with a great reputation, or just cross it off the list if it’s out of the budget. Don't feel like you would be missing out. You can find excellent traditional cuisine at many of your other options. Additionally, if you're in search of an organic or raw meal, you will pay a premium - just like anywhere else.a
Wherever you travel, there can be taboos regarding money. In the service industry, tips are automatically calculated into your bill. The staff is paid a salary. Any extra “showing of appreciation” should be left on the table in cash or coins as a gesture to your waitstaff that you were more than satisfied with their service.
If you choose to pick up some eats at the supermarket, fromagerie, boulangerie, or patisserie, you will probably find items inline with prices in the United States. It’s a great idea to live like the local people on occasion and pick up some cured meats, cheeses, and wine to enjoy during a day in the park or back in your hotel. Honestly, you can find items within your budget if you think like a Paris native. Go to a grocery store to create your own charcuterie platter.
No matter where you go, you can always eat while you walk and save money. For a light breakfast near your hotel, grab a 2 euros ($2.50) crêpe or croissant with coffee. They can often carry you through the morning hours. For lunch, try a baguette sandwich for 5 euros ($6.15) or an open faced sandwich called tartines. Parisian bakeries and patisseries are much beloved, there you’ll find tasty items to take on the go. For dinner, locations away from the big attractions will always be more budget-friendly than those near the Eiffel Tower. Lunch with a formule or Prix Fixe menu $15 and evenings $25. Supermarkets in France can provide easy access to pre-cooked, ready to go meals, including rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, hot soups, salads, and produce.
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