Paris: Does the "affordable" restaurant still exist?

Courtesy Meg Zimbeck

Once upon a time, at least according to Paris legend, it was possible to dine exceedingly well for not a lot of money. Are those days over?

Since I began writing this blog series a year ago, I've become obsessed with finding "affordable" restaurants to share with BT readers. I've asked everyone from famous food critics to my local hairdresser, and the answer is always the same: "What do you mean by affordable?"

In a town where fine dining can cost hundreds of euros, many people agree that €35 is fair for a three-course menu—assuming that the meal is good. There are plenty of restaurants (let's say about forty) that are putting out special and memorable food for that price.

€35, however, is too steep for many people, especially those who are financing the fun with their declining-value dollars. As I wrote back in June, the weakened buying power of the U.S. dollar is presenting a serious challenge for budget-minded travelers. The €35 tab, which thankfully includes tax and tip, is now $51 for Americans. That's not something that most people can do every night.

In my food-obsessed opinion, every traveler should experience at least one special meal during their time in Paris. For that splurge, the Internet is full of good restaurant recommendations. Check out this selection of Top 10 Paris Food Blogs, as well as my new favorite, Paris Kitchen.

For all of the other meals, however, there's not a lot in the way of current and useful information. That's where Budget Travel is going to step in and help. In the coming weeks, we'll be adding a heap of affordable restaurant reviews to our site. In additional to my own suggestions, we'd love to investigate and publish your best ideas for affordable dining. And by affordable, we mean eating (not drinking) for under €20.

Can it be done? Tell us how in the comments.

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