Paris Cheap Eats: Beyond baguettes at the boulangerie


Lunchtime at a boulangerie in the Marais. Photo by Tom Meyers.
Lunchtime at a boulangerie in the Marais. Photo by Tom Meyers.

For many people, living in Paris (or just visiting) conjures up visions of buying fresh baguettes and croissants every morning at the local “boulangerie.” But those delightful bakeries offer so much more than breakfast breads! They can also serve as a Cheapo-friendly lunchtime resource!

Here’s our guide to the boulangerie’s “other” baked goods, thinking beyond the baguette…

More “pain,” all gain

First off, there is much more to French bread (“pain”) than the baguette.

So many quiches. So little thyme. Photo by Yisris.

So many quiches. So little thyme. Photo by Yisris.

I’m a bit partial to the “tradition,” which is much softer than a baguette and tastes a little like sourdough. There are also “boules,” or round breads, and most boulangeries now offer whole-grain options. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any loaf of French bread that costs more than €2.

Similarly, it’s time to branch out from the standard croissant. Go for broke on the calorie-meter with a “pain au chocolat”, often mistakenly called a “chocolate croissant” in the U.S. (The word “croissant” implies a crescent shape, whereas a “pain au chocolat” tends to be somewhat square.)

Though not as extensive as a “patisserie” (a bakery that specializes in pastries), boulangeries offer a full range of “tartes” and other small pastries to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Baguette sanwiches on display. Photo by Yesris.

Baguette sandwiches on display. Photo by Yesris.

Lunch to go: Baguette sandwiches, quiches, and more

The boulangerie is a great place to pick up a quick lunch to eat on the go or bring to a picnic.

Small baguette sandwiches are reasonably-priced (around €3-4). A “jambon buerre” (ham with butter) is a pretty standard French option, although you’ll also find sandwiches with “thon” (tuna), “poulet” (chicken), “ouef” (egg), and more.  When the shopkeeper asks if you’d like your sandwich “avec salade,” she wants to know if you’d like one with lettuce and tomato or just the meat.

Other lunch options range from quiche to mini pizza to “croque monsieur” (a ham sandwich with cheese baked on the outside), depending on the bakery.

Formule: Make the most of your lunch money

Most boulangeries offer a “formule,” a lunch special that includes a sandwich, a dessert, and a drink. The price depends on the location and sometimes on the type of sandwich you order. Expect to pay between €5-7 for the meal.

As with all shops in France, the majority of boulangeries will be closed on Sundays, except for in highly touristed areas. If you do find a boulangerie you like open on Sunday, odds are it will be closed if you try to return on Monday.

Tell us!

Do you have a favorite boulangerie in Paris? Or a French bread product you just can’t live without? Tell us about it in the comments section.

About the author

About the author: Liz Webber is a freelance journalist living and working in Paris. She has previously worked for the International Herald Tribune and Budget Travel.

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4 thoughts on “Paris Cheap Eats: Beyond baguettes at the boulangerie”

  1. There is an incredible iPhone app called “Paris Bargain Eats”.
    Wonderful app. Showcases great places to eat, which were hand selected, for about 15 Euros per person.

    App has videos of each place, and still photos, so you can see what each place is like before you venture out…

    Highly recommended

  2. Nomadic Matt you are so right. High five! Especially when you’re with more people, it’s wise to buy one of the many gorgeous cheeses and bread and whatever else you like and enjoy it in one of the many parks ^^ picnic lunche

  3. Pingback: Paris Cheap Eats: Beyond baguettes at the boulangerie | Travel Deals Review

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