It might sound impossible visiting Paris (know as one of the most expensive cities in Europe) on a budget, but is absolutely possible. How? Let us tell you. Here is our new low cost guide with top address for an inexpensive weekend among museum, restaurants and shopping in the world’s most romantic city.

First things first: when to book. Before thinking about flight and hotel it’s better to think about the right period to visit the city, since all the first Sundays of the month the main Parisian museums are free (yes, you read right, we said free, and it’s all of them, even the Louvres, Centre Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay!). Let’s take advantage of it!

Where to stay. Avoid central and tourists areas, favoring more suburban areas where you will find cheaper hotels that are equally well connected to center with subway and buses. If you are looking for a more central and cheaper alternative you can opt for the Generator Hostel, a cool and young hostel featuring private rooms, terraces and chill out area, located at the 10th arrondissement with interesting prices.

Satisfy your palate. Visit a boulangerie like Du Pain et des Idées (34 rue Yves Toudic) and indulge in some  baguettes, then go to Le Loir dans la Théière (3 rue des Rosiers) and order a slice of cake (it’s said to be one of the best in town!) and after buying all this, take everything to the Canal Saint Martin and enjoy your lunch en plein air surrounded by an incredible scenery. If you are visiting Paris in summer you can also have a beach pic nic at the Paris Plages, real beaches with artificial sand by the Seine (the one by the artificial lake Bassin de la Villette offers also the opportunity of renting pedal boats or canoes). If you are more traditional and love having lunch sitting down, then we suggest Chez Gladines (64-66 rue de Charonne) where you can choose between a variety of salads and typical French dishes in a rustic and characteristic setting.

Enjoy the city. Paris is an open air museum and walking down the city is the cheapest way of visiting it. Reach the 7th and 16th arrondissement: you will feel to have traveled back in time, with typically Art Noveau buildings, shops and streets. Or you could rent a bicycle through the city Bike Sharing: with a few euros you will be able to see the city from a different perspective, in the open and without having to use the subway or taxis. There is also the  famous Cimetière du Perè-Lachaise (16 rue du Repos) an evocative place where you can find the graves of famous art and literature figures, like Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Chopin and Edit Piaf. You are in Paris with your sweet companion? Reserve an evening boat tour on the Seine and with less than 10 euros you will admire a magical an unique view of the whole city, rocked by the river.

You might be wondering about the shopping. Paris is the capital of luxury brands but we have some alternatives for those who have a lower budget. The first stop is the Marais district, where you will find one of our favorite shops: Free’P’Star (8 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie). All the vintage you can find is here, from accessories to clothes, this is an unmissable stop located in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of the city. Every Sunday in Montmartre there is the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (Paris’ the largest flea market), a huge oasis, that is the heaven of second-hand items. Antiques, clothes and different types of objects with the chance of relying on a service with a “personal shopper”  (all the info on the website) that will guide you, finding the most original piece at the best price! Absolutely to be tried!

30 Responses to “Paris on a budget: a low cost city guide”

    Not all of us can manage to go crazy on a holiday. Some of us are on a budget, and this post is perfect for us. We get to visit this lovely city as well as not end up broke.

    Reply to Lilly Heinz

    Cities that are more expensive than Paris: Rome, Milan, Florence. ..Bern…Tokyo. in 1999 I went to Paris on a whim taking 2 of my children with me. For 649.00 each we got round trip airline tickets, a 1 week hotel stay just 2 blocks from the Louvre, daily breakfast of fruit, hot chocolate and teas and a variety of croissants. The hotel also included 2 vouchers for tours…1 was for an evening boat tour with dinner on the Seine…the other was admission to thevLouvre.

    Paris is a very walkable city with each arrondissement being with blocks of each other. Paris like Rome, and parts of many large European cities (Rome comes to mind) also is notorious for excellent and many pickpockets.

    Stay away from car rentals if you wish to traverse Paris it is easy and better by Metro. Parisi an drive like maniacs and it is the rare car that does not get some damage. Also be aware that due to our attitudes towards the French after 9/11; not as many are embrace of Americans and the sad truth is a car is a tempting target for vandalism or making a geopolitical statement.

    I have visited Europe more times than I can remember (relatives there) and Paris remains one of my favorite cities. It is a love/hate. Love the feel, culture and architecture of Paris. ..the Parisians are another matter entirely.

    Reply to Sandra Ullah
  • Thank you, this is perfect!! I’m currently looking for a holiday to Paris, so I’ll be sure to check the places you mentioned above out 🙂

    Reply to Aliya

    YAAIIII!! thank you! going to Paris next Fall, can’t wait! =)

    Reply to Nicole
  • thinking of how much that city costs was one of the reason paris never found its way to my want-to-see-locations… maybe now it can!

    Reply to Ramona
  • We are thinking about a trip to Paris later this year but are watching the pennies, so this is very helpful thank you 🙂

    Reply to Melissa Lee
  • This is a very helpful post. I plan to study abroad in the spring. The information here will be useful when I plan my quick getaway to Paris so thank you!

    Reply to ItzaBri
  • Thanks for the great advice! I am thinking of taking the eurostar and getting out of London for a couple of days soon! hopefully do some shopping while I’m there….. 😉

    Please check out my fashion/travel blog!

    Reply to Annie
  • Free P Star is great! Living in Paris, I find that it can be quite easy to make the city inexpensive. There are always huge student discounts, EU Citizens under 26 basically get all entrances for free, and picking up sandwiches at a bakery is in almost everybody’s budget!


    Reply to Julia
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