Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral attracts millions of tourists to marvel at its beautiful sculptures and stained glass windows every year, but make sure to avoid the tourist trap. Read our guide to the cheapest authentic restaurants nearby, many offering three courses of fried squid, marinated mussels, frog legs, rabbit with mustard sauce, or goat cheese fondu for an incredible 10€!
Only a stone’s throw away from Notre Dame is this fabulously authentic restaurant, Onze Bar, whose unbelievably cheap menu (10€ three courses) is complemented by cobblestone walls, a rustic vibe, and enormous ornate clocks everywhere. Their smoked salmon or dried sausage makes a great starter, followed by steak cooked to perfection with french fries and crème caramel or Tarte aux Pommes for dessert.
If you’re after a wide choice of cuisine then Maison Blanche is a great restaurant, especially if you’re dining as part of a group. And again, it’s just around the corner from Notre Dame. Not only do they serve all the classic French dishes like snails or steak and chips, but they also have mussels and a surprising range of seafood on offer, as well as the mountain specialties of cheese fondues.While the menu is slightly more expensive at 15€ a head, this extra 5€ is worth it, given that seafood is always more costly to source. There’s also a gourmand deal on offer at 19.50€ for people feeling particularly hungry after scaling all the steps of the Notre Dame tower.
Seeking out those bargain 10€ three courses again, there’s La Petite Hostellerie, a cozy, authentic restaurant first founded in 1902. Their selection of starters is particularly impressive, with fried squid, marinated mussels, frog legs, and Lorraine quiche on offer, before you even get to the main course options. It’s a great place to find cheap drinks too, with white or red sangria on tap for only 5€ and a happy hour with cocktails and pints of beer at 5€ as well.
The giant chocolate fondue in the window at Le Grand Bistrot is clearly the highlight, and is very much part of the menu. It’s part of their specialty fondues that mainly concern the cheese they heat in copious quantities for the dipping of bread, meat, and gherkins.You can savor a goat cheese fondue for just 15€, or if you fancy something a little more luxurious, you can opt for the 17€ menu and order the main course of rabbit with mustard sauce.
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There’s a great selection of baked potatoes at La Harpe that can be served with anything from smoked salmon, camembert sauce, creme fraiche, Roquefort, or cheese raclette bacon for 11€ to 13€. But if baked potatoes aren’t your thing, then you can try the 12€ three-course deal, opting for a filet of herring in apple oil, grilled steak in pepper sauce, or simply an onion soup—followed of course by the world famous fondant au chocolat cake that simply melts in your mouth.
La Luge is probably the most expensive restaurant on this list, however, 19€80 is still incredibly cheap for a multi-course meal on the doorstep of the Notre Dame cathedral. The décor is strangely nostalgic of the French alp mountains, with snow sleighs hung from the walls (la luge means sleigh), which is a surprising find in the center of the city of lights, but fabulous to visit in winter. They do have a cheaper deal of 16€80 for three courses, but the 19€80 deal is their most popular winter special.
Perhaps you’re on a whistlestop tour and haven’t actually got time to sit down and dine for a few hours. If so, make sure to visit the best boulangerie in the area—Boulangerie Saint Michel. So much more than a boulangerie, this places also serves hot crêpes priced between 2€30 and 4€ with mouthwatering toppings like coconut or almond Nutella. They also sell sandwiches and waffles.
Eventually, you’ll tire of the snails and frog legs, the mussels and french fries, and start to fancy something a little different. If so, then Olympie is a popular Greek restaurant only five minutes from Notre Dame that promises to not disappoint. There’s a great selection of fresh meats and fish on offer as part of the 15€ three-course deal, including Greek salad, minced eggplant, prawns, grilled salmon, meatballs, chocolate mousse, and Greek pastries.
Another popular Greek restaurant on this street is Acropolis, and while most dishes are 10€, they also have luxurious delicacies on offer like oysters for 9€ for six or 17€ for 12, which are not available at some of the other places on this list. But there’s also the usual option of snails, 6.50€ for six or 12€ if you can stomach 12. The tarte tatin on the desserts menu is a good bet as part of the 14€ three-course deal.
If the above restaurants seem too fancy with their oysters, frog legs, rabbit, and smoked salmon, then Jardin du Roy is a more casual, no fuss French restaurant sure to offer something you’ll enjoy. They offer a great range of salads (salade niçoise, salade de chèvre chaud) and soups (oignon, tomate, poisson) with a particular penchant for using fish.