Best cheap bars in Paris

Our guide to drinking in style on a budget

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1

Aux Folies

  • Price band: 1/4

A Belleville drinker’s institution, never empty of local youth imbibing black coffee with their afternoon papers or kicking off the evening with an aperitif or five. The Folies is named after an 18th-century watering hole at the gates of Paris, in then then-rural quarter of Courtille, famous for the annual debauches of the city carnival. Today, the outlook is a little less bucolic – the rows of vines have been replaced by winding streets, but the area still packs a distinct

  1. 8 rue de Belleville, 20e
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2

La Cordonnerie

  • Price band: 1/4

Loitering as it does in the shadows of peep shows and sex shops, for many years this little dive was merely the refuge of locals in search of pleasures less carnal and more alcoholic. Its happy hours offered probably the cheapest pints in Paris, as well as rums and cocktails at minimal prices, imported beers, and free couscous on Thursdays and Saturdays.Then, this old working-class tavern started to attract a younger clientele in search of a good deal – and today La Cordonnerie

  1. 28 rue Greneta, 2e
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3

Les Pères Populaires

  • Price band: 1/4

Ever get nostalgic for 70s youth hostel decor? Look no further – the trappings of table football, board games and musty old books have all been slavishly recreated at the Pères Populaires. One of the cheapest bars in the city, it’s also a local canteen, complete with sticky table-tops and the tenacious smell of stale beer that bears witness to many a debauched evening. The décor is an incoherent mixture of second-hand furniture with some good pieces, and of bent wood hat

  1. 46 rue de Buzenval, 20e
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4

Bar Ourcq

  • Price band: 1/4

If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq of an evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shorts-sporting clientele is welcomed with open arms. On summer days, crowds gather for open-air guitar jamming sessions or to picnic on the banks of the canal, refuelling at Bar Ourcq with plastic goblets of cold beer or bottles of wine. Things get pretty boozy as the day wears on, leading many a pétanque player to squint

  1. 68 quai de Loire, 19e
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5

La Fourmi

  • Price band: 1/4

The terrace of La Fourmi [the ant], whose name is a wink to the nearby concert hall La Cigale [the cicada], is a summer sun-trap for pretty girls with cute haircuts and skimpy dresses, attracting a throng of Pigalle street singers come to serenade their charms. As soon as they launch into song, the venue’s crowd of arty bohos take up position behind the big bay windows of the big main room with its high ceilings and post-industrial décor – an enormous, yet warm and friendly

  1. 74 rue des Martyrs, 18e
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6

Le Mauri7

  • Price band: 1/4

Le Mauri7 is the perfect antidote to its rival over the road, the achingly hip Chez Jeanette. Where the one is always crammed with snooty drinkers, the other’s clientele are a delightfully mixed bag, its atmosphere an appealing sort of ugly sexy kitsch. The walls are plastered with out-dated vinyl sleeves and film posters, while behind the bar a tacky neon sign proudly spells out the name. We love le Mauri7 because the place oozes a human warmth lacking in its neighbours. The

  1. 46 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10e
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7

La Caravane

  • Price band: 1/4

With all the wandering joie de vivre of its gypsy namesake, this lively little local bar just two steps from République specialises in slide shows, jam sessions, jazz and DJ sets against a backdrop of colourful, comfortable clutter, all poufs and window seats. Stop by for the entertainment, while sipping a few caipirinhas or beers at prices (€4 a pint) that are more than reasonable for the area. The fusion food is also a draw – it mixes Asian, French and Italian on a

  1. 35 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11e
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8

Pili Pili

  • Price band: 1/4

As small and powerful as its name suggests, the sting in the tail is having to choose between numerous flavours of rum mixes or cocktails at unbeatable prices. There’s a ton of character in the décor too, with winks to African culture but also to British punk: a real red telephone box takes pride of place in one corner. Attracting both regulars and interested new faces, the atmosphere is relaxed and intimate and the music always well chosen and eclectic – funk, rock and

  1. 70 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11e
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9

Le Bar Dix

  • Price band: 1/4

This local dive has been miraculously preserved (in sangria) since 1955. You’d be hard put to find something more ‘real’ than this tiny venue – more of a musty-smelling cave covered with posters and a patina of nicotine. Its clients occupy their time slipping Euros into the slot of the collector’s jukebox, awakening it to play tunes from the era of Goldman, Brassens and Ferré. The moustachioed barmen are frequently drunk but always charming, mostly there to rein in

  1. 10 rue de l'Odéon, 6e
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10

Trucmush

  • Price band: 1/4

The front end of a Peugeot Twingo sheltering the DJ decks is only the first wacky design feature to grab your attention in this cool, lively, slightly trippy bar – the impression builds as you take in the stuffed flowers, the cheerful orange walls, and the car pressed into service as a table. The décor is a definite draw for this little bar hidden in a dead-end street near Bastille, almost as much as the rock-bottom prices. A word of warning – the clientele is very young

  1. 5 passage Thiéré, 11e
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