Hello! This is Simone from Go Get Inspired By and I’m going to be sharing with you 5 tips on how to explore Paris on a budget!
Whenever you think of France, your first thoughts go directly to the dreamy, romantic city of Paris. You imagine everything being luxurious and chic, and with that being expensive. But there are so many free and discounted things to see and do in Paris, and I’ve put together a few of my favorite tips in the list below. The best part is you can still feel chic and sophisticated like a Parisian, all while saving your pennies.
5 Tips to Explore Paris on a Budget
Free Walking Tours
There are many free walking tour operators in Paris with a variety of different tours to choose from. Simply type in “Free walking tour Paris” into any search engine and you will find a tour that best suits your needs. The tours are always free with the option of giving a donation or tip at the end. The tour guides are very informative and live in Paris themselves.
Another perk includes being part of an English-speaking group with people coming from around the world. Fun tip: After every tour I always ask the guide for restaurant recommendations with good prices, because locals know where to go.
Fine Dining on a Small Budget
I highly recommend using Restaurant Finder apps such as La Fourchette, Foursquare, and Groupon for deals, discounts, and reviews on restaurants throughout Paris. One of my favorite places that I always venture to when friends and family visit is at the oldest cafeteria in Paris, Restaurant Chartier, complete with classic French dishes and options even for the pickiest of eaters, authentic décor and good service!
Be sure to arrive either as the lunch or dinner service begins or is ending to avoid a long line and wait. This place is so popular for tourists and locals alike that it is on a first come first serve basis, with no option of making a reservation.
Explore the city’s free attractions
Paris is home to many public parks which are definitely worth exploring. The last time I was there I went to the Jardin de Luxembourg for the first time and loved it. You will have plenty of opportunities for people watching and admiring all the different greenery, flowers, and sculptures the park has to offer.
All churches are open and free to the public for basic walk-through visits. The famous cathedral of Notre Dame and Montmartre’s Sacre Coeur Basilica are must-sees, with the best times for entry being early in the morning or just before closing for shorter lines and less crowds. An added bonus when visiting Montmartre is a beautiful view of the Parisian skyline, even better than paying to go up the Eiffel Tower!
Catch a Discount or Free Entry to Museums
Like many cities in France, museums in Paris offer free entry every first Sunday of the month, including the Louvre (Oct-March only), The Centre Pompidou, and Musée d’Orsay. Again, going early or at the last entry time will help with getting in faster and enjoy the exhibits with a less amount of people. If you can’t make it on the first Sunday, there are discount options when you search and book at least one day in advance, as many museums offer you to pick a specific day and reservation time on their website or on a museum discount site.
Hotels in Paris can be pricey, so I always book a place to stay via AirBnB. I like staying at apartments in well-located areas either with the host themselves or having the entire place to myself. This gives you a true authentic feel of how actual Parisians live and gives you more personal views of French culture and lifestyle. If you’re staying for more than a few days, try and find a place with a washer so you can do a load of laundry for free. If traveling solo, using Couchsurfing is another option if you are looking for a free place to stay.
Fun tip: Opt to buy breakfast at a bakery instead of paying for an expensive, mediocre hotel breakfast or if the AirBnB doesn’t provide breakfast.
About the author:
My name is Simone and I’m the creator of Go Get Inspired By, a travel blog journeying through my past, present, and future adventures, giving insights to my favorite destinations with stories of culture, language, and everyday life.