Cheap restaurants, hotels and bars in Paris
See Paris on a budget
Whether you're catching the Eurostar from London to spend a weekend in Paris or changing at Gare du Nord, before catching a train to Amsterdam or Brussels, you can eat, sleep and rave on the cheap around the station and neighbouring Gare de l’Est. We're talking €2 beers, €19-a-night stays in listed buildings, free-entry clubs, and €4.50 meals. Here are 12 cool, yet affordable, places you can walk to from Gare du Nord.
Where to eat in Paris
La Pointe du Grouin
This Breton wine bar doesn't take reservations, so you'll have to just turn up - it adds to the spontaneity! Small plates are the name of the game here, with everything from hot sausage in buckwheat crepe to lobster risotto. The bill comes in surprisingly low here - hors d’oeuvres start at €6, while things like desserts and drinks range between €2-4!
Don't be surprised if you get a blank look when handing over euros to pay here though. The bar deals only in its own currency, the affectionately named "grouin coins", which you can get out of the on-site currency exchange machine. Don't worry, no need for mental maths, €1 is worth 1 grouin. Luckily, there's no need to fret about exchange rates when booking on our trainline.com site, as you can pay in six different currencies - pounds sterling, euros, dollars (US, Canadian, and Australian), Swiss francs and Swedish krona!
15 minutes south of Gare du Nord in the gentrified Faubourg Saint-Denis area, Chez Jeannette is what you’d expect an old Parisian bar to look like. The zinc counter, neon sign, red banquettes and lampshades haven’t changed since the 1940s. Chez Jeannette is an all-day meeting place for coffee, foosball games and evening drinks, it also offers honest bistro food.
Mains, such as tuna steak with ratatouille or beef tartare with fries, will come to €14, and beers start at €3. It seems like the prices here are stuck in the old times, compared with other places in the area.
Who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread or croissants? Not us, that's for sure! Paris has countless boulangeries and even the shortest stroll down the street will grant you a waft of something delicious in the oven. Just 20 minutes from Gare du Nord, the Rue des Martyrs has some of the best bakeries. It's hard to pick just one, and we'd recommend sampling a few.
But, if you're tight on time, Maison Landemaine makes pretty special fruit tarts (from €3.20) and is also famous for its golden crusted baguette (€1.10). Stuff it with slow-cooked Paris ham and comté cheese and you've got yourself a tasty picnic.
Du pain et des Idées
Head baker here, Christophe Vasseur, switched profession from fashion to baking, aged 30. Luckily, his skills in kneading won him the crown of Best Baker 2008 by Gault Milau restaurant guide. His pretty 1889 boulangerie is a top pick in the charming Canal Saint-Martin area, 15 minutes south-east of Gare du Nord. Grab a Pain des Amis (€5.30) or an Escargot pastry (€3.30), yep that's snails - if you're brave enough!
Taverne de Zhao
Five minutes from Du Pain et des Idées (above), off the Canal Saint-Martin, the Rue des Vinaigriers is sprinkled with cafes and restaurants, and even Paris' first ever fish and chip shop. La Taverne de Zhao specialises in Chinese cuisine from the Shaanxi province.
If you're lucky to get a table (it’s small and you can’t book), warm-up with dumplings (€7.80), followed by spicy soups and stews (€9.50) traditionally cooked in a pot. Refresh yourself with their famous translucent noodles and cucumber salad (€7.50) and a bubble tea (€5.50). Or, for food on the go, take a meat-bun (€4.50) for a snack as you walk along the canal.
Tucked between Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, this tiny Algerian bar-cum-eatery is a gem. It’s well-liked by the locals for its Berber hospitality, varied live music events and delicious, generous portions of tagines and couscous (€13.50).
Don't expect The Ritz, but the place has its own charm, boosted by its cheap pints and cocktails (€5-6) and lively atmosphere. No frills, all the chills.
Where to stay in Paris
BVJ Opéra-Montmartre Hostel
This hostel is based in a beautiful 18th-century building. Stay here and you can enjoy a night's sleep and all-you-can-eat breakfast for €19/night - you can't say fairer than that!
It’s ideally located between the shops of Opéra, the hilly cobbled streets of Montmartre and the hip hood of Pigalle, 25 minutes west of Gare du Nord.
Vintage Hostel and Budget Hotel
You'll feel at home at this hostel/hotel, just 10 minutes from Gare du Nord and Montmartre Sacred Heart Basilica. For the low-cost price of €17,50/night you can work out in the gym, play a game of foosball, or chill out in the communal space and meet some new travel pals. Vintage is owned by HipHopHostels. They manage other cool Parisian accommodations worth checking.
Where to drink in Paris
10 minutes south of Gare du Nord, L’Ours – which means “bear” in French – is a pretty bear-themed cocktail den. Sip quirky drinks, made with things like earl grey-infused gin and rosehip vodka, against a backdrop of wallpaper decorated with bears sipping cocktails.
Join them for the Happy Hour, where cocktails are €6 from 5 to 9 pm, €8 after.
This welcoming wine bar is 15 minutes north of the train station in the up-and-coming Goutte d’Or area, known as “Little Africa”. Bring your own glass/bottle or borrow the bar’s. This ecological and economic system reduces prices down to €3-7/75 cl. Stock-up on Côtes-du-Rhône and other carefully picked tipples, contained in stainless steel tanks. Line your stomach with soupe du jour (€4,50), tinned sardines (€6), platters of cheese, cured meat and other frencheries (€10-18). You can also join workshops to make your own wine. Cheers to that!
Découverte de #EnVrac ce soir avec la @greener_family 😍🌿 #SlowLife #MySlowLifeBlog #HealthyLife #HealthyFood #Vrac #Bio #ZéroDéchet #ZeroDechet #ZeroWaste #ZeroWasteBlogger #ZeroWasteLife #ZeroWasteLifeStyle #ZeroWasteHome #MoinsdeDechets #NoMoreWaste #GoGreen #Minimalism #Refuse #Reduce #Reuse #Recycle #Rot #Ecology #Planet
Paris is no Provence, but you can still enjoy a jolly game of pétanque (French boules) on the buzzing banks of Canal de l’Ourcq. Play with one hand, while the other one holds a €2.50 beer. DJ decks spin 'til the wee hours in the summer and during winter, locals cosy up inside and play board games.
Where to party in Paris
Doors open at 11.30pm and the party lives on until 6am at the underground basement club, Chez Moune, just 20 minutes from Gare du Nord. Plus, there's free entry on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
There's only one Paris, but if you want to eat, sleep and rave in other French cities, Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est are good gateways to get you started at exploring France and the rest of Europe. You could jump on a train to Lille, a vibrant student city and the beer capital of France, or to Strasbourg, which has sweet Alsatian timbered houses, an enchanting Christmas market and the cheapest pints in the country!
Remember, download our Trainline Europe app and access your bookings, cards and saved passengers in a tap to make booking travel in Europe easy.