Paris is more than just a city; it is a confluence of experiences and emotions. The city features on the bucket list of most travelers and is visited by more than 50 million visitors each year. Paris, unfortunately, is also one of the most expensive cities in the world, and with a multitude of experiences to participate in, a Paris trip can be exorbitant.
Here is a guide to explore Paris on a budget and make the best of every Euro you spend! From making the best of public transport to choosing the right accommodation, this guide will cover everything for a fantastic budget Paris trip!
15 Things To Do In Paris on a Budget - Under 20 Euros!
If you're on a shoestring budget, here's all you can do in Paris without shelling out much or sometimes nothing!
Admire the magnificent Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles unsettled everyone in the 17th Century when King Louis XIV decided to shift his capital from Paris to Versailles. Built as a show of grandeur and power, it remains one of the most remarkable palaces in the world. The Palace interiors are breathtaking, even though the French Revolution stripped it off its glory, it has been restored. The important rooms are the Royal Apartments, The Grand Gallery with the War salon, Peace salon and the world-famous Hall of Mirrors. Don’t miss out on the gardens and fountains, and the Bosquets and Trianons. It’s the best day-trip out of Paris on a budget!
Explore Impressionist Art at Musée de L'Orangerie & Musée d'Orsay
The Musée de L'Orangerie and Musée d'Orsay are together the world’s best repositories for Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. The Musée d'Orsay has the largest collection of French art including sculpture and photography. Artists like Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Gauguin, Renoir, and Van Gogh find their place on its walls. The Musée de L'Orangerie while holding a sizeable collection of Impressionist art is most famous for its permanent collection of eight paintings of ‘Water Lilies’ by Claude Monet. Joining Manet are other famous artists including Manet, Picasso, and Rousseau. For 18 Euros you can enjoy priority access to both these museums.
Enjoy a Bateaux Mouches Sightseeing Cruise with live commentary
Everyone from Romans and Vikings to the erstwhile Franks has sailed down the waters of the Seine in Paris through the ages. The banks of the Seine have seen the city rise over the centuries with the addition of landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Conciergerie, Palais de Justice, Musée d'Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. You can go on the same path in a comfortable cruise with a guide who will narrate the history of these attractions and their part in the building of the city. The 70-minute tour is one of the best things to do in Paris on a budget and costs just 14 Euros. Read More about a Bateaux Mouches cruise here.
Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral
The 12th century Parisian had to just look up to the Notre Dame Cathedral to remain in awe of the word of Christ and learn more about the stories from the Bible. The facade of the cathedral is impressive to state the least, the towers and flying buttresses are built in the Gothic style a departure from the Romanesque architecture of the times. It was decorated with carvings and statues that narrated Biblical stories, the breathtaking rose windows, and the grand interiors ensured it was the right place to praise the lord. You cannot leave Paris without a trip to Notre Dame, and you won’t even stretch your budget since a guided tour costs just 15 Euros!
Explore modern art at Centre Pompidou
Parisians are a tough crowd to please and just like the Eiffel Tower was considered an eyesore, so was the Centre Pompidou in 1977! The iconic building has an inside-out architecture where the pipes, structure and mechanical system can be seen from the outside! This bizarre building took time to be accepted and is now Paris’s most happening and avant-garde venues. Within it is a public library, the Museum of Modern Art and a Centre for Music and Acoustic Research. One of the top things to do in Paris on a budget, you can visit it to admire the modern architecture and view the ongoing exhibitions and participate in the workshops.
Stand atop the Arc de Triomphe
All roads in Paris lead to the Arc de Triomphe! The building in the center of the twelve radiating avenues of Paris is a memorial to the French martyrs who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Inaugurated in 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is a large triumphal arch and stand up 50m in height, towering over the neighborhood. It has the names of French war heroes written on it and below it lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Admire the bravery of the heroes and the ingenuity of the building and go on the roof to catch a panoramic view of the city, all for 12 Euros!
Discover the magic of sculptures at Rodin Museum
Rodin could make stone speak and emote; you can witness the sensuality in ‘The Kiss’ and the deliberation in ‘The Thinker’ and bring the fear of God in ‘The Gates of Hell’! These are creations of the great 20th-century French sculptor Auguste Rodin who pioneered modern sculptor. You can view these and more than 6,600 sculptures, 8,000 drawings, and over 7,000 art objects at the Museum Rodin, located at Hotel Biron which he used as a studio. Take a walk among the art Rodin created and collected, which includes Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir. It is one of the best museums to explore in Paris on a budget.
Marvel at the stained glass at Sainte Chapelle
Walking into the Sainte Chapelle on a sunny day you will feel as if you have entered a magic crystal! The sunlight streams through 6,500 square feet of stained glass in hues of red, blue and violet to create a mesmerising effect. The glass depicts 1,134 scenes from the Bible and is one of the oldest stained glass art in the world. The 13th-century church was built to protect the relics of Christ, especially the Crown of Thorns. Getting a ticket to Sainte Chapelle will be the best 10 Euros you will spend in Paris! The high rib-vaults, the luxurious upholstery, and the statuary, all are worth a visit.
Take in panoramic views of Paris atop the Montparnasse Tower
The city officials of Paris hated the Montparnasse Tower so much that they disallowed the construction of any skyscraper over seven stories for two years! But the monolithic building itself is not the attraction but the observatory atop the tower. The ticket to the viewing deck on the 56th floor at 18 Euros is the one of the best things to do in Paris on a budget. The reason why it’s amazing is because it’s the place where you watch the Eiffel Tower in all its glory! You can take the experience a notch higher and walk up to the 59th floor for the open-air observation deck.
Marvel at the luxurious interiors of the Opera Garnier
You don’t have to buy an expensive Paris ballet ticket to view the interiors of the opulent Opera Garnier. Also known as the Palais Garnier, it is one of the largest opera houses in the world, and even amongst the famous, thanks to it being the setting of the novel ‘The Phantom of the Opera’! A guided tour of the opera to explore its gilded interiors at only 15 Euros is one of the best things to do in Paris on a budget. The home of the Paris Opera Ballet, you get to view the foyer, auditorium, lounges and see the magnificent artwork that adorns the walls of the opera.
Take a day trip to the Mont Saint Michel Abbey
The islet of Mont Saint Michel has remained unchanged for centuries, with only a modern bridge connecting it to the mainland, what was left earlier to the mercy of the tides! Right at the top of the islet is the Mont Saint Michel Abbey surveying over all of Manache. The imposing stone architecture of the abbey is striking and seems straight out of a fairytale! Today, the abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a visit will let you learn more about the history of the abbey as a place of worship, a prison, and a military stronghold. Read all about taking a day trip from Paris to Mont Saint Michel
Learn the history of French Military at Les Invalides
France has had an active military throughout the ages, and Les Invalides commemorates this history of the army. Louis XIV constructed the building itself as a home and hospital for war veterans, later on, it played an important role in the revolution and the World Wars. Today, you can go on a guided tour of Les Invalides and visit the museums and monuments dedicated to French war heroes, and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte as well as the Dome Church and the chapel of St. Louis. For 14 Euros you will get a quick tour of France’s military history!
Get behind the scenes at Stade de France
The FIFA World Cup 2018 Final might have taken place in Moscow but the cheers of France winning the World Cup truly rang at the celebrations at the Stade de France! The national stadium of France, it is here where the team also won the FIFA World Cup 1998 for which it was constructed. Take a guided tour of the large venue that seats more than 80,000 spectators. At just 14 Euros it is one of the best things to do in Paris on a budget for sports lovers! You will be taken on a tour of the private boxes, locker rooms, seating area, and the museum.
Go on a Paris City Tour
Whether you are short on time or just want an overview of the city before you head out to explore, a Paris city tour is the best way to discover the city. This two-hour bus tour which costs less than 20 Euros is one of the best things to do in Paris on a budget. You get to sit comfortably in an air-conditioned coach and whiz past iconic Parisian landmarks like Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Pantheon, Les Invalides, and Orsay Museum. The bus tour will have an audio commentary that will help you identify the attractions and know more about them.
Enjoy a Romantic after-dark Sightseeing Cruise
Paris goes by the moniker of ‘City of Lights,’ and when you spend a night in the beautiful city you won’t wonder why! Every major building and landmark in the city is lit up by lights throughout the year. A fantastic way to explore this side of Paris on a budget is to go on an after-dark sightseeing cruise that costs less than 15 Euros! The sightseeing cruise on the Seine goes through all the landmarks like Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, and you can watch the banks of the river twinkling gloriously.
Planning a Trip to Paris on a Budget - Discounted Tickets
If you're planning a trip to Paris on a budget, here are a few discounted tickets that will help you save a few extra euros!
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Eating in Paris on a Budget
Paris is a gourmet’s destination and it is a travesty if you cannot sample the best of French cuisine on your Parisian holiday. The Michelin star restaurants can be tempting and travelers should definitely visit at least one during their vacation. But eating out at fine dining restaurants can be expensive and also time-consuming especially if you are on a budget Paris trip. The best option to save on food expenses is to visit boulangeries or bakeries, patisseries, cafes and street food stalls for the cheapest yet authentic food. A fixed set lunch and dinner is also a great way to save on some money without compromising on variety. Here are some of the top budget eateries in Paris.
Crepes are the best French food you can eat on a budget and that is wholesome! This restaurant serves up amazing sweet and savory crepes, with lots of options for vegetarians as well. Located in Montmartre, it offers quick service and their 12 Euro lunchtime menu is a big hit!
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It is one of the top-rated budget eateries in Paris and offers delicious Middle Eastern food. People queue up outside the restaurant to get their famous falafel, but it’s worth the wait. Try their falafel plates, falafel sandwich and mezze plates with hummus and freshly baked pita! View Reviews >>
You might as well be transported to a little alley in Tokyo when you enter Higuma. The cozy hole-in-the-wall restaurant near Louvre offers an authentic menu of lip-smacking Ramen. A filling and cheap bowl of Ramen is sure to keep you pumped for a full-day of sightseeing in the city. View Reviews >>
Finding good French food in Paris is not a tough task, but finding good cheap French food is not easy! This cafe on Rue Saint-Sabin close to Bastille offers great options all under 10 Euros. Their service is quick and the staff gives you recommendations that cannot go wrong.
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A boulangerie or a bakery is your best bet in Paris for a cheap eat! The bakeries churn out fresh breads multiple times a day and you can be assured of a tasty fresh meal at any time. This is one of the best bakeries in Paris, their baguette sandwich and pain au chocolate are irresistible. View Reviews >>
Staying in Paris on a Budget
The idea of waking up to the view of Eiffel Tower from your hotel balcony can be romantic but it can set you back financially on your trip to Paris on a budget. There are many ways you can spend lesser on your stay in Paris. Choose to stay in a hostel or a bed & breakfast instead of a hotel. They can give you better cultural experiences as you can meet people from all over the world. Certain neighborhoods or arrondissements as they are called are cheaper than others. Accommodation options in Montmartre, Latin Quarter, St. Germain and Belleville are less expensive than those in the center of Paris. Here are a few options you could consider.
The hotel is a popular choice among the top-rated hotels to stay in Paris on a budget. It is located near the Montmartre district within 3KM of major attractions like Louvre and Arc De Triomphe. The newly renovated hotel has free WiFi, is family-friendly, and 200m from Place de Clichy Metro Station making it easy to commute everywhere. Book now >>
Zazie is a bright and comfortable hotel in the 12th arrondissement and 350m away from Reuilly - Diderot Metro Station. With cafes and supermarkets nearby, it is within 20 mins walking distance of Notre Dame. It has free WiFi and a 24-hour front desk. Book now >>
It is located in a quiet neighborhood in the 20th arrondissement, just a few steps from the Maraîchers Metro Station, which makes it convenient for traveling anywhere in the city. It is rated highly for its hygiene and staff service, and a variety of room options; there are also private rooms with shared bathrooms at cheaper rates. Book now >>
A part of the international Ibis group of hotels, this hotel in the 11th arrondissement is a contemporary place to stay on a budget. You can enjoy a great morning breakfast and walk about 300m to Oberkampf Metro Station to travel to any part of Paris. Book now >>
This hostel is ideal for the young at heart! A lively place in the 14th arrondissement it has both dormitory and private room options. It’s a great place to meet fellow travellers and perfect for solo travellers. It is 5 min walk away from Saint-Jacques Metro Station. Book now >>
Budget Your Paris Trip
While there are many ways to budget your trip, we find this online tool reliable and easy to use. As per BudgetYourTrip, here's what a budget trip in Paris would look like :
- The average daily price for traveling in Paris is €5.92
- The average price of food for one day is €11
- The average price of a hotel for a couple is €38
On the whole, the average daily cost per person, per day on a budget should cost you €59
Use this tool to plan and estimate the budget for your Paris trip before you go!
Hacks For Exploring Paris on a budget
Now that sightseeing in Paris on a budget is taken care of, here are a few more ways to save money on your Paris vacation. Make these your holy grail and you won't be lamenting by the end of your trip!
Grab a Citypass
A travel pass is undoubtedly the best way to explore Paris on a budget. The pass offers many benefits including free entry to attractions, immense savings up to 50% on entrance tickets and the convenience of free transport. You can choose from two city passes in Paris – The Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass.
The Paris Museum Pass is ideal for museum buffs and will get access to over 50 museums including Louvre and Orsay. Every Paris trip advisor forum mentions this pass as a great value for money option. The Paris Pass is an all encompassing pass and even includes the Paris Museum Pass. With the Paris Pass you get a host of exciting tours as well as HOHO Bus tour and free transportation across the city. Both the cards are convenient to redeem and extremely easy to use at all the attractions.
Use Public Transportation
Paris is a sprawling metropolis and is spread across more than 105 sq km. A major chunk of travel expenses is often transportation and the best way to enjoy a budget Paris holiday is to use the fantastic public transportation system.
1) Metro – The Metro system in Paris is extensive and covers 16 lines with over 300 metro stations. The metro trains run every day with high frequency and is the cheapest way to travel in Paris.
2) RER – The RER is the Suburban Railway network and connects Paris city to the extended Paris region. You can use this on your day trips outside Paris.
3) Tram- The tram system is hyper local and offers transport in the perimeter of the city. In case, you accommodation is outside the city you can take a tram to a metro station.
4) Bus – The bus offers last mile connectivity in tandem with the metro network. While it is cheap to use this, you can get stuck in traffic for long durations, so use it only when necessary.
5) Night Bus Service – This bus service runs from 12:30 AM to 5:30 AM and is suitable for transport after a night out on the town.
Hop on Hop off around Paris
One of the most common Paris tips and tricks that veteran travellers will vouch for are the Hop on Hop off tours. A hop on hop off tour as the name suggests allows you to explore multiple stops on a tour vehicle with a single ticket. The tours have many benefits like free audio guides on board, maps, predetermined routes that cover all major attractions and some of them even have live commentary and free Wi-Fi. You can choose from two exciting HOHO tours in Paris – L’Open Hop on Hop off Bus Tour and the Batobus Hop on Hop off River tour. The L’Open Tour runs on three routes and covers all the famous tourist attractions in Paris. The Batobus takes the scenic route on the Seine and covers major stops like Eiffel Tower, Musee D’Orsay, Notre Dame and Champs-Elysees.
Visit the Free Attractions
A cheap Paris holiday might be unheard of, considering Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world. But, many beautiful and amazing places are entirely free of cost and will allow you to experience Paris is all its glory. Go on a stroll or spend the day with a picnic lunch at the many gorgeous free parks and gardens in Paris. Some of the best ones are Jardin d'Acclimatation, Jardin des Tuileries, Parc Monceau and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont Explore the art and history of Paris at its free museums like the Paris Modern Art Museum and Musee Carnavalet. And don’t miss out on free entry to the famous Louvre and Musee d'Orsay on the first Sunday of every month Admire the stunning churches & cathedrals of Paris including the world-famous Notre Dame and Saint Eustache. Paris is a picturesque city, and you are bound to find joy and beauty in every corner!
Plan your Trip to the T
Summer is the best time to visit Paris on a budget, the weather is perfect, and spirits are high! Many summer festivals are conducted across the city, which are free and ideal to experience the culture of the city. The Fete de la Musique (June 21st) is a celebration of music, and all of Paris rings out with free concerts and performances. The Paris Plages are a unique concept where sand beaches come up on the Seine front and are free to visitors through summer. Bastille Day (July 14th) marks the French revolution and is abound with fireworks and lively festivities. Some other ways to explore Paris on the cheap are to visit during the first week of the month when many attractions are free. The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Arc De Triomphe, Pantheon, Sainte-Chapelle are all free on the first Sunday of every month from 1st November to 31st March. Many attractions in Paris are also free for EU citizens under the age of 25, as well as for teachers.
Travel during the off-season
Paris is glorious during the summer but if you are keen on budget travel to Paris then you might want to consider traveling in the off-season which is the winter season. Off-season comes with a lot of advantages – low prices on accommodation, lower airfares, cheap fares in public transport and most importantly, fewer crowds at the attractions. In fact, if you can brave the cold, then Paris is magical in the winters, especially during Christmas time. The entire city is lit up beautifully, and the city which is known for its churches and cathedrals gets a spectacular makeover for Christmas. Fantastic Christmas markets spring all over the city, and it’s a great time to indulge in year-end shopping sales.
Ready To Visit Paris on a budget?
Here are a few detailed guides that will help you plan your Paris vacation better!