Eating on the run doesn’t come naturally to the French, and you can easily spend two hours, albeit pleasantly, having lunch in a Paris café.

macarons paris

If you’re looking for something quicker, there’s no point in trying to make a Parisian waiter move faster than he wants to; instead, head to a new breed of snack shop that puts speed first, without sacrificing quality. Prices can be high for what you get (expect to spend €10-€15 for a meal), but it’s still a lot cheaper than most bistros.

Be. Star chef Alain Ducasse and wizard baker Eric Kayser make sandwiches a luxury item here; snag one of the handful of tables amid the heavenly bakery aromas. 73 bd. de Courcelles, 17e 01-46-22-20-20.

Bob’s Juice Bar. If you’re strolling along Canal St-Martin, stop into this funky juice bar run by American Marc Grossman, aka Bob, for juices, organic salads, and muffins. Bob’s also has a northern Marais offshoot called Kitchen 74 rue des Gravilliers, 3e 15 rue Lucien Saimpax, 10e 06-82-63-72-74.

Cojean. This French-run chain takes an Anglo approach to healthful eating, with salads and sandwiches plus quick dishes available at the counter.

Così. This Italian sandwich shop in St-Germain, the original Così, piles imaginative fillings—like fig, Comté cheese, and arugula—onto delicious crusty bread baked in a brick oven. 54 rue de Seine, 6e 01-46-33-35-36.

Le Pain Quotidien. Part bakery, part café, this Belgian chain with locations throughout the city serves fresh salads and sandwiches at lunch and is great for breakfast. It tends to be overrun with office workers at peak times.

Oh Poivrier! Specializing in open-face sandwiches, this is a long-established chain with several locations; some have terraces.

Oh Mon Cake. Linger in the comfy upstairs room or perch at the counter of this cheerful Anglo-inspired café near the Louvre to tuck into inventive wraps and salads. 154 rue St-Honoré, 1er 01-42-60-31-84.