Where to Eat in Paris on a Budget: Two Fancy but Affordable Restaurants

Hello, it’s me. No, not Adele, but moi: Roselinde. Who’s blog do you think this is anyway? Anyway, I am here to surprise you with the most ultimate Parisian food log that ever existed in the history of the human race. That may be a slight exaggeration but you can’t sue me for my claims. Because taste is not debatable, right? OK, back to the story. If you’re wondering where to eat in Paris on a budget, I’ve got you covered. I’m sharing my two favourite fancy, yet affordable restaurants in Paris.

Champeaux brasserie in Paris.

Where to Eat in Paris on a Budget?

Last week, I was lucky enough to go on a 2-day trip with the Paris Tourist Office and Thalys. I charged my camera battery to its fullest capacity and successfully executed my self-imposed mission of capturing (almost) everything I ate. I’ve been doing travel food logs for a while now, but I can confidently say that this one is on another level.

Although I’ve visited Paris many times before, I never really paid attention to the restaurants. I think I was too young to care. And whenever I saw a crêperie, I only had one goal in mind (to eat that crêpe asap). I mean; can you blame me? Well, that all changed on this culinary trip to the French capital.

Chef Bruno Brangeo at Champeaux restaurant, Paris.
Chef Bruno Brangea.
Soufflé at Champeaux restaurant in Paris.
Pistacho soufflé with caramel filling and ice cream on the side.

Option 1: Champeaux by Alain Ducasse

After admiring the newly renovated Les Halles shopping mall, which reopened in 2016, it was time for lunch at Champeaux. The new “Champeaux” brasserie by Alain Ducasse is located in Les Halles as the flagship restaurant of the mall and is a pretty foolproof option if you’re wondering where to eat in Paris on a budget.

Ducasse made a name for himself with his international chain of Benoit Bistros in cities like Paris, Tokyo and New York. He was the first chief who owned three different restaurants around the world with three Michelin stars. Talk about an overachiever, right?

The Champeaux restaurant has a new concept: “the brasserie of the 21st century”. The interior certainly looked very modern and retro-inspired. I would personally describe it as “industrial chic bordering on hipsterlicious”. The waiters were even wearing asymmetrical denim aprons.

We caught a quick glimpse of the chef on duty: Bruno Brangea. Thankfully, he happily agreed to pose for a photo. My personal favourite at the restaurant was the pistachio soufflé with warm caramel on the inside (€12). Does it not look like the perfect fluff of eggy delight? Several courses can quickly add up, but you can definitely match the prices to your budget. The dishes at Champeaux range between 6-32 euros.

Option 2: Les Fables de la Fontaine

Option two for those wondering where to eat in Paris on a budget: consider Les Fables de La Fontaine. This tasteful place is an updated restaurant in the chic 7th district of Paris. You’ll find it in the same district where you can visit the Eiffel Tower and Orsay Museum. It’s a small space that specializes in excellent seafood dishes of top quality, but anyone would feel at ease. The interior is tastefully decorated, but in a ‘no-fuss’ kind of style that appeals to all. You don’t need to dress up to book a table.

I had to board the train back to Rotterdam around 5 in the afternoon, but thankfully we still had plenty of time to have lunch before heading to the train station. The restaurant has a longstanding reputation, but has recently also been turning heads with its new chef Julia Sedefdjian. Update in 2019: there are now new chefs at Les Fables de la Fontaine, but it’s still really cool to hear about Julia’s story.

Cod fish dish at Les Fables de la Fontaine in Paris.
Cod fish aïoli, steamed seasonal vegetables, and olive oil.

The Youngest Michelin Chef in France

Sedefdjian (21) is not only one of the few women decorated with a Michelin star, she is also the youngest Michelin chef in France. I asked her how old she was and she’s a year younger than I am! Well, if that doesn’t motivate you to work harder, I don’t know what will.

I can see why she’s already a Michelin chef. I don’t think I’ve ever consumed anything prettier than that lemon shortbread. To be honest, I almost felt like a criminal when finally convinced myself to eat it. Don’t be too alarmed by the Michelin star, the prices have recently been reduced by almost 50%. The lemon shortbread costs €10, for example.

Affordable Restaurant in Paris

In a brief interview after lunch Sedefdjian shared that she was initially only interested in crêpes (I completely understand), but still decided to go to culinary school when she was 14. That’s when she got hooked on the culinary arts. When we asked her whether she has had to overcome many obstacles as a woman in professional kitchens, she replied “no”: “I’ve never had any problems, it’s a new generation.” Well, that’s a big yay for gender equality!

Transport tip for Travellers in Europe: Take the Thalys to Paris

The morning of the first day I got up at 4:30 to catch the first train from Breda to Rotterdam. Thruth be told; I wasn’t even mad about it. I boarded the Thalys at Rotterdam central station and off I went on my Parisian adventure. It was nice to travel by train for a change. It was really relaxing; no taking off your shoes at customs or worrying about getting motion sickness.

I had breakfast on the train as well. Any day that starts with a croissant is bound to be a success. The train ride from Rotterdam to Paris took about 2.5 hours. You get off at Paris Nord and step out right into the city. So if you’re travelling to Paris from another city in Western Europe, this is a golden transportation tip.

That is all! I hope you enjoyed my Parisian food log. Can I just ask you one thing: are you not proud of me how this time 50% of my diet did not consist of crêpes? My personal record is eating four crêpes in three days time. I feel like this food log really shows how I’ve grown as a person.

More from me about Paris:


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