Renowned for romance, famed for fashion and celebrated for its stunning architecture and rich history, Paris is one of the most visited cities in Europe. As a cultural hub of the world, from art to fashion and everything in between, thousands of tourists flock to the famous “City of Love” for romantic getaways, exploration and sightseeing. But it can come at a price, so how can you enjoy all Paris has to offer if money is a little tight? Well, that is where we come in! The following guide will help you make the most out of a trip to Paris on a shoestring budget. With places to go and things to see and do (without paying a fortune) as well as a handy little tip as to when you should do them, we’ve made it possible for you to enjoy all Paris has to offer, whilst saving yourself a pretty penny at the same time!
There’s so much to see in Paris and many of the most iconic landmarks won’t cost you a penny to see, so make sure you check them out and get that valuable picture for your Instagram. The Arc de Triomphe, the Wall of Love and Louvre Pyramid are among the most popular. Even the Eiffel Tower won’t charge you for standing next to it and taking a snap! The many bridges that span the River Seine are some of the best places to get a great photo of the tower. Pont de Bir-Hakeim in particular is a great spot.
If you are planning on making your way to Paris on a shoestring budget but still want to soak in everything the city has to offer, then it may be beneficial to plan your trip around the first Sunday of the month. Paris’ Free First Sunday programme means that some of the city’s top attractions can be entered completely free of charge. The Louvre and Musee d’Orsay are two of the most significant places to offer the programme but it’s worth bearing in mind that, due to this, they will be extremely busy so prepare to wait in line. Alternatively, less popular museums such as the Musée des Arts et Métiers or the Musée National Eugène Delacroix are also part of the programme and will be much quieter. So if you’d prefer to escape the crowds and go to the busier places on a separate day, then there’s still plenty to take advantage of.
Why not take an afternoon to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and crowded tourist areas to meander around one of Paris’ biggest parks. Rustle up a nice picnic and stroll through the lush greenery of the Luxembourg Gardens. Situated at the heart of the city and spanning 55 acres, there’s plenty to explore as well as lots of places to sit, stop and rest. There’s also an abundance of activities for children to take part in and, for those a bit older, the Luxembourg museum can be entered for a small fee of 10 euros. The gardens are a lovely place to relax, take a breather and soak up the scenery.
At some point during your visit, there’s little doubt you’re going to want to head to the famous Eiffel Tower. A lift to the top of the tower will cost you around 26 euros, where you can find incredible views across the entire city and beyond. But for those a little bit more money conscious, it may be worth buying a ticket that allows you to climb the stairs halfway to the top. This will only set you back around 10 euros and there’s still phenomenal views to be had from the second floor viewing platforms. If you aren’t great with heights either, then this may be the best option for you. Finally, make sure you’re in view of the tower at some point during the evening as on the hour, every hour, it will light up for a few minutes. It really is a sight to behold.
Promenade Plantee is a three-mile-long, and completely cost free, walkway bustling with colourful flowers and shrubbery. An abandoned railway track converted into a makeshift park, the Promenade Plantee begins at the Bastille and ends at the Bois de Vincennes and reaches up to ten metres above street level. It was, in fact, the world’s first elevated park walkway. Initially sceptical, Parisians have taken to the Promenade and it is now a valued part of the city, providing some much needed respite from the chaos of the streets below.
After a long day of walking the streets and taking in the sights of this beautiful city, why not wind down with a film in the gorgeous Parc de la Villette open air cinema. For a month between July and August (dates may vary) the La Villette open-air film festival screens a wide variety of movies on its lawn completely free of charge. So grab some deck chairs, bring plenty of blankets and enjoy a splendid range of films from blockbusters like ‘Bladerunner 2049’, classics such as Charlie Chaplins ‘Modern Times’ or family favourites like ‘Wall-E’. With plenty of choice, what better way to spend a nice, relaxing, cost free evening?
A ticket to Paris Fashion Week is way out of most people’s budget. Nevertheless, you can still achieve a little taste of that glamorous fashion lifestyle that Paris is so famous for by heading to Galeries Lafayette at 3pm on a Friday afternoon. Here you can attend an actual fashion show. It will cost you around 13 euros but if clothes are your thing, then what better way to spend half an hour than at a fashion show in Paris, one of the fashion capitals of the world! Afterwards, head to the observation deck for some amazing city views!
Speaking of city views, what’s the one problem with taking a picture of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower? The Eiffel Tower won’t be in it! Instead, why not head to the many other places where amazing views can be found. They’ll provide you with a full picture of the Paris cityscape and most of them are completely free of charge! So, forget the Eiffel Tower for a moment and make your way to Montmartre, Parc de Belleville or the top of the Institut du Monde Arabe for stunning city views and for absolutely no fee!
If history, arts and culture are more your thing, Paris is packed with historical sights, churches, cathedrals and museums. Notre-Dame may be undergoing renovations after the fire back in April 2019, but fear not, there are plenty more amazing architectural gems scattered throughout the city, from Sainte-Chapelle to St. Denis Basilica. A small fee of 9-12 euros may be required to enter though, but they’re worth seeking out just admire from the outside.