The romanticism and glamour of Paris do not often come cheaply particularly if you want to visit during the high season which is much of Spring, Summer, and early Fall. Therefore, for today’s Paris Week post, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite more budget-friendly spots and experiences in the city.
Budget Friendly Paris
If you’re going to Paris for the first time and plan to spend the majority of your days hitting up major tourist attractions like the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay and other attractions then I’d recommend getting the Paris Pass. It’ll save you time as you get to go through fast track lines and you’ll get some Metro tickets included, too! The value over a few days is well worth it. Alternatively, look up the pay what you wish or discounted hours for the museums you’re most looking to visit. (Several are free the first Sunday of the month, too!)
Rooftops of Printemps and Galleries Lafayette.
These two famed department stores in Paris both offer beautiful views of Paris from above and they are 100% free! I always pop up to them when in the neighborhood because the views just never get old.
Paul is a chain bakery that I cannot get enough of. I actually always try to take a Sandwich Mixte with me on the airplane because I love them so much! Typically around $5 and utterly delicious, you can’t beat this as a cheap eats in Paris that doesn’t sacrifice French flavor or tradition.
Crepes are a great way to eat a cheap lunch on the go. My personal favorites are ham and cheese or butter and sugar or nutella and strawberries. They should be each under $7 and fill you right up.
Pierre Herme Macarons or Croissants.
I love the sweet treats at Pierre Herme and they’re much less expensive than a sit down dessert. Grab a macaron or croissant to go and take it to a nearby park to enjoy under the Parisian sky.
This place looks fancy and feels fancy but is actually great value for the amount of food you get if you decide to split a few dishes with a friend.
There’s something so special about Paris cafe culture and I love it the most during breakfast when you can order a classic petit dejeuner which typically consists of a croissant, a coffee and a juice for under 10 Euros.
Season is a favorite healthy eating spot for me and I love that they do half portions if you’re counting your pennies.
L’as du Falafel.
This famous falafel stand in the Marais will fill you up without emptying your wallet.
This crepe spot is a sister restaurant to the famed Breizh and they serve up amazing crepes. The lunch special at Little Breizh is amazing offering one savory crepe, one sweet crepe and a glass of cider for about 12 euro.
Have a picnic.
One of my favorite activities in Paris is to have a picnic in one of their beautiful parks or along the Seine. I pop into a boulangerie for a baguette, the frommagerie for a variety of cheeses, a wine shop for a bottle (they often have glasses if you ask nicely!) and then head to a grocery store or farmer’s market for some fruit, charcuterie, butter and nuts. It is often one of my favorite and yet least expensive meals. (A great street to get you started is Rue Cler.)
Avoid bottled water.
The tap water in Paris is great and you can get it for free by ordering a “carafe d’eau.” Otherwise many waiters and waitresses will charge you about 4 euros per bottle of water.
Be your own best walking tour guide.
I have used these cards on many a trip and they’re a great way to do a walking tour on the cheap.
RER trains from Paris Charles de Gaulle.
This is a great way to save a lot of money to/from the airport. The RER train stops at a few stations within Paris City Center and will cost you about 1/4 of the price of a taxi.
I also usually book a hotel that is nearby where I plan to spend most of my time.
This cuts down on transport costs. I do take the Metro rather frequently as well when I visit as it is so much more affordable than taxis or Ubers. I’ll take Ubers but only if it’s being split with a friend or later in the evening. And while there are so many amazing museums and attractions in Paris, I have to say one of the best free things you can do is walk and get lost amongst its varying neighborhoods.
Do you have any budget friendly favorites in Paris? I’d love to hear them!
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p.s. a lot of my Paris favorites and 5 things not to miss in Paris.
With the recent political unrest in Paris/France, I’d be interested to hear what your impressions are of the atmosphere/ambiance/etc.
Hi Marilyn, I’d say to just research the climate before you go which is relevant for all travel destinations. Know spots to avoid and how to best stay safe.
Definitely walking to do your exploring! Took me so long to realize there doesn’t need to be a destination, the adventure can be the end goal and you end up seeing so much! I also took advantage of the combo ticket between the Musee d’Orsay & the Orangerie on my last visit and loved that that ticket option was offered.