Today I have put together the ultimate list of cheap things to do in Paris which will ensure you never go over budget!
I was fortunate enough to spend quite some time living and working in a small town called Fontaine le Port, about 45 minutes train ride from Paris.
Most weekends were spent in Paris, and after a while Paris became a city which felt like home!
Paris can be an expensive place to visit, that’s for sure. BUT, there are ways to cut down costs and have an even better experience than ever! You don’t need to be caught in the tourist trap to see the pure awesomeness of the city.
I managed to never spend more than $100 a weekend there, and that included accommodation, food and alcohol. That’s not bad for Paris!
See related articles:
10 Cheap Things To Do In Paris
Below are my top 10 cheap things to do whilst in Paris!
1 – Visit The Chinese Quarters In Belleville
Belleville is a real interesting area of Paris which everyone should visit, both in the day time and at night time.
During the day it’s almost like a full on Chinatown, with hundreds of Chinese markets, grocery stores and cheap restaurants. For a second you forget you are in Paris!
And during the night it turns into this artistic, alternative scene with a lot of young Parisians coming out for a few drinks and a bite to eat. The best thing about this area is that it is really affordable when compared to the rest of Paris. This is partly due to the local crowd consisting of a lot of artists, students etc.
Aux Follies is a great cafe / bar to go sit at, drink cheap pints and watch a whole variety of foot traffic coming by! This was my local hangout most weekends in Paris.
Food wise you are spoilt with choice, with plenty of asian restaurants to choose from.
2 – Sunday Free Museums
If museums are something which interest you, then go visit them on Sundays! They are famously always free of charge for any visitors on a Sunday.
Museum entrance fees can start eating into your budget, so if you can manage to get entrance for free then even better!
3 – Visit Republique And Enjoy The Canals
Republique is quite a famous area in Paris. Even so, you can enjoy the area for a full day on the cheap, hanging out with plenty of locals and tourists.
The Paris canals run through Republique, with some awesome spots to sit and enjoy their presence. As you can imagine, along the canals are plenty of bars and restaurants, but rather go to one of the many mini marts. Buy yourself some cheap beer, wine and bread and enjoy the day along the water.
More often than not, local Parisian musicians come out in numbers and start playing some music.
A day on the Republique canals is definitely one for the bucket list!
4 – Eat Plain Baguettes
Find yourself a bakery (there are a million) and buy a plain, French baguette.
They never cost more than $2 and when fresh, you can eat it just like that and it’s still tasty as hell.
It should keep you full for a good few hours, and you also end up looking like a proper local walking around eating a massive baguette. Maybe decide to wear a French beret as well?
5 – Visit Sacre Couer On A Sunny Day
The Scare Couer is a Catholic church which is a popular place for tourists to visit.
The reason I recommend it is that the view from the top is quite spectacular. You get a panoramic view of the whole of Paris. Plus it’s free to visit!
6 – Order Cafe At The Bar, Not The Table
If you walk into any cafe to get yourself a coffee or something to drink, go and sit at the counters and order your drinks. It’s quite common in Paris for customers to be charged more for just using the table areas in coffee shops and restaurants.
I learn’t this the hard way a few times. The extra charges vary, and some places take the absolute piss with their prices.
7 – Walk, Walk And Walk!
Paris is a walking city. You could quite possibly see the entire city on your feet.
Don’t waste your money on cabs etc, rather just walk as much as possible. This way you also get to see the best parts of Paris.
If you really need to use it, then the metro is cheap as well. No more than $2 for a trip anywhere in the city.
8 – Visit The Eiffel Tower & Have A Few Drinks In The Park
Obviously every single person that visits Paris wants to go visit the Eiffel Tower. It’s free to see it, so why the hell not?
Just be warned that pretty much every single shop in that area charges WAY too much on simple things like drinks, snacks etc.
The parks surrounding the tower are awesome, so if you think ahead and pack yourself some drinks and snacks you can enjoy a really fun day beneath the Eiffel Tower – for free!
9 – Don’t Waste Money On Fancy Meals
French cuisine is supposedly the best in the world, right?
I don’t know whether I actually agree with that! French dining is a bit of a fancy, expensive thing. Unlike Italy or Germany where you can get the best local meals for affordable prices, French restaurants are expensive as hell.
The only local places I would go to on a regular basis were the bakeries. Other than that, stick to cheaper street food type places. Paris is full of Eastern style takeaway joints. Kebabs, pizza slices, burgers etc will get the job done.
Save your money for other experiences rather – go see a show! That’s my opinion.
10 – Rent A Bicycle
On every corner you will see a bike rental station with a bunch of bikes parked nearby. These work extremely simply and with just a bank card, you can get your bicycle within minutes!
There is a booth near where the bikes are parked. You simply go there, enter in a few details, insert your bank card and it will instruct you on how to unlock your bike.
The great thing about this service is that besides the cheapness of the service, you can park your bike at any of the parking bays around the city and come back and continue on your adventure.
Paris also has dedicated cycle lanes for you to use, so there is no concern for car traffic obstructing you.
If you want more tips on European travel, then make sure to follow my Europe Travel Pinterest board!