Le Fournil St. Michel – situated on a side street off of Boulevard Saint-Michel, this bakery offers quality for cheap in the otherwise expensive 5th arrondisement. Ignore the paint-chipped building and untidy display cases and join the line of hungry students who’ve hopped over from the Sorbonne, ready to pig out on generous portions. Whether planning a picnic at the Jardin du Luxembourg or looking to escape the commerical restaurants along the Seine, stop by to stock up on fresh sandwiches, paninis, crêpes, gaufres and desserts.
Coquelicot – a few steps from the Place des Abbesses, this boulangerie à l’ancienne has served homemade French staples since 1978. Choose from a large selection of fresh and cooked pies, quiches, éclairs, small pizzas, burnt creams, flans, chocolate fondant, madeleines and macaroons—everything ready to take away and under 5€. For those with more time, take a seat in their cottage-themed upstairs, but be prepared for long wait times and unpleasant servers. Avoid their menu formulas and order instead à la carte: rich drinking chocolate or coffee in a bowl accompanied by slices of warm brioche; homemade vegetable soup; or a typical croque monsieur—toasted ham and cheese sandwich—with the same authenticity of a French countryside kitchen.
Le Corner – halfway between metro stops Rue Saint Maur and Père Lachaise on the Avenue de la Republique, this café has yet to gain popularity (even a Google search doesn’t have any results), so take advantage of the solitude while possible. They have paninis & sandwiches for 3€, most crêpes sucrées for 2€ and salées for 4€, and fries, desserts, drinks and coffee for 1€. The only thing that could make it better: if they stayed open all to satisfy drunk customers stumbling down from Parmentier.
Chez Alain – venture past the Lebanese and African stalls located in the crowded Marché des Enfants Rouges to an eccentric Frenchman named Alain. Here, street food is an art that deserves quality ingredients and proper attention. While watching Alain singing and joking, taking his time despite the accumulating crowd, one gets the impression of having been invited into his private kitchen, a rare warmth in an otherwise stoney city. The sandwiches are hearty and worth the 7€ , but Alain is infamous for his crêpes: the perfect thickness and a melt-in-your-mouth quality for just 2,80€. Choose from lemon and sugar, Nutella, jam or honey. Alternatively, organic gaufres with powdered sugar, Nutella or maple syrup are available as well. Support Alain by liking his Facebook page.