The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With its iconic landmarks, world-class museums, charming cafes, and more, it's easy to see why. However, Paris also has a reputation for being an expensive city.

The good news is, you can still experience the magic of Paris on a budget! With some planning and insider knowledge, you can save money on accommodations, food, activities and transportation in the City of Light. This ultimate guide provides budget-friendly tips to help you visit Paris without breaking the bank.

How to Plan an Affordable Trip to Paris

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips
The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Planning ahead is key to visiting Paris on a cheap budget. Here are some tips to save money before you go:

Look for Discount Paris Flights

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Search for cheap flights: Flights will likely be your biggest upfront cost. Search on comparison sites like Skyscanner and Google Flights to find the best rates. Consider flying midweek instead of weekends for lower fares.

Fly budget airlines: Carriers like Level, Vueling, and EasyJet offer cheap nonstop flights to Paris from several European cities.

Watch for airfare sales: Sign up for deal alert emails from airlines to snag occasional flash sales and discounts.

Use miles: Check if you have enough frequent flyer miles to redeem for free or discounted tickets.

Book Affordable Paris Accommodations

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Stay outside the city center: Hotels and vacation rentals in central areas like the Marais are pricey. Save money by staying in budget-friendly neighborhoods like Belleville or Montreuil.

Consider hostels: Paris has fantastic, modern hostels with both dorms and private rooms for much less than hotels. Generator Paris and St. Christopher's Paris are top rated.

Look for deals on Airbnb: Private rooms or full apartments on Airbnb can be an affordable option outside peak seasons.

House sit: For longer stays, you can house sit and stay for free in exchange for taking care of pets or plants. Trusted sites like MindMyHouse can connect you with home owners.

Research public transportation: Figure out the best way to get around using Paris' excellent public transit system.

Buy a travel guidebook: Pick up an affordable, detailed guidebook to start mapping out top sites and an itinerary.

When to Visit Paris on a Budget

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Paris attracts tourists year-round. But visiting during the shoulder season from March to May or September to early November can mean fewer crowds and lower prices on airfare and hotels.

Winter months also tend to be cheaper for Paris travel, though the weather is quite chilly. Late spring and summer is peak season and will be the most expensive and crowded.

No matter when you go, be sure to check for any major events or festivals that could affect prices and availability. Avoid visiting during Paris Fashion Week or the French Open, for example.

Paris Weather by Month

Paris has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons:

  • Spring (March-May): Average highs 13-22°C. Mild, sunny weather ideal for strolling. Some spring showers.
  • Summer (June-August): Average highs 20-25°C. Warm, sunny days with occasional rain showers.
  • Fall (September-November): Average highs 13-18°C. Mild weather, along with vivid fall foliage in parks.
  • Winter (December-February): Average highs 6-9°C. Chilly, damp weather with occasional snow.

No matter when you visit, having layers and an umbrella on hand is recommended for Paris' changeable weather.

Getting Around Paris on the Cheap

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Paris has an extensive, easy to navigate public transportation system. You can get nearly everywhere using the metro, buses, trams, and RER trains. Here are budget-friendly options for getting around:

By Metro

Paris' extensive Metro system is the most affordable and efficient way to explore the city. Fares start at €1.90 for a single one-way ticket.

To save money on multiple rides, consider:

  • T+ 10-Pack: €16.90 for 10 tickets, saving 17%
  • 1-Day Mobilis Pass: Unlimited travel for €8.60/day
  • Paris Visite Pass: Unlimited travel starting at €12.55/day for central zones 1-3

Make sure to validate your ticket at the turnstiles or risk a fine! Also avoid rush hours when the metro is packed.

By Bus

Buses can be a good budget option for areas not served by the metro. Single tickets are €2, or you can use the same passes as the metro. Popular lines like the #69 bus show you scenic parts of Paris.

By Bike or Scooter

Cycling is a fun, cheap way to get around Paris. The city has over 700 km of bike lanes. Use ride sharing services like Vélib' or jump on an e-scooter with Dott or Tier. Fees are just €1-5 for short rides.


Walking in Paris is simple with arrondissement grids and 20 numbered districts. See top sites and neighborhoods on foot to save money. Free walking tours are also available. Wear comfy shoes!

Top Free Activities and Attractions

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Paris has dozens of free sights and activities perfect for budget travelers looking to save on admission costs.

Free Museums and Galleries

Many top Paris art museums offer free entry on certain days or times:

  • Louvre: Free the first Saturday of every month from 6pm-9:45pm.
  • Musee d'Orsay: Free the first Sunday of every month.
  • Rodin Museum: Free the first Sunday of every month.
  • Picasso Museum: Free the first Sunday of every month.
  • Centre Pompidou: Free the first Sunday of every month.
  • Museum of Decorative Arts: Free for all visitors.

Other free museum options include the Catacombs, Petit Palais, and Maison Victor Hugo. Check schedules in advance.

Free Sights and Attractions

Paris has many free sites to visit:

  • Eiffel Tower: Access underneath and around is always free.
  • Arc de Triomphe: Admire from the outside or climb to the top for €12.
  • Sacré-Cœur: Basilica entry is free, €8 to access the dome.
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery: Wander through the peaceful cemetery grounds.

Stroll down avenues like the Champs-Élysées, relax in gardens like Luxembourg and Tuileries, or window shop bustling neighborhood markets.

Free Walking Tours

Join a free walking tour to see top Paris attractions and hear local history. Most are 2-3 hours and run daily. Rely on tips. Options include:

  • Sandeman's New Paris Tours
  • Free Walking Tour Paris by Foot
  • Paris Greeters - See Paris with a local volunteer
  • Discover Walks - Great paid tour options too

Alternatively, pick up a self-guided walking tour map and explore at your own pace.

Riverside Views

Get scenic views of Paris landmarks along the Seine River. Walk or have a picnic on the pedestrian Pont des Arts bridge. Watch the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower.

Finding Cheap Food and Dining Deals

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Famous French cuisine can break the budget, but dining well in Paris for cheap is possible with these tips:

Bakeries and Boulangeries

Stop into any local boulangerie or patisserie for freshly baked breads, croissants, tarts, and sandwiches. Prices are usually €1-5 per item. Try Poilâne for delicious sourdough.

Street Food and Markets

Grab fast, inexpensive bites like crepes, falafel, kebabs, and more from street vendors. Or stock up on fresh produce, cheese, meat and seafood at open-air markets.


Having picnic spreads from market goods and grocery stores can save over dining out. Set up in scenic spots like the Champ de Mars, Canal Saint Martin, or Cemetery Père Lachaise.

Prix Fixe Menus

Look for affordable set menus at cafes and bistros, especially during lunch. These prix fixe deals can be €15-30 for 2-3 courses. Check for student discounts too.

Happy Hours and Drink Specials

Take advantage of happy hours for half priced drinks and cheap bar snacks. Or grab coffee/tea specials at cafes in the afternoon.

Groceries and Convenience Stores

Stock up on necessities at budget chain stores like Monoprix, LeaderPrice, and Franprix instead of pricey mini-marts.

Free Samples

Department stores like Galeries Lafayette offer free samples of food and beauty products. La Grande Epicerie de Paris has an entire room of free samples!

Finding Affordable Accommodations

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Lodging will likely be your biggest daily expense in Paris. But you can still find affordable options with a little research.


Hostels cater to budget travelers with cheap dorms and private rooms, shared kitchens to prep your own meals, and social settings to meet fellow travelers. Some top-rated options:

  • Generator Paris Hostel - Modern, trendy vibes with bars
  • Les Piaules - Quirky, artsy decor and a fun crowd
  • St Christopher's Paris - Beloved spot near Gare du Nord
  • BVJ Paris Louvre - Great location by the Louvre

Apartment Rentals

Renting an apartment via Airbnb or VRBO can cost less than a hotel, especially if traveling with others. Look for units outside the city center in neighborhoods like Belleville, Montreuil, or Saint Michel.

House Swapping

For longer stays, consider home swaps to occupy Parisian homes for free in exchange for offering your own place. Trusted swapping sites include Love Home Swap and HomeExchange.

Budget Hotels

Good value hotels with rates around €100-150/night include B&B Hotel Paris Italie, Ibis Paris Bastille Opera, and Hotel Jules & Jim. Avoid major conventions and festivals when prices spike.

Discount Hotel Bookings

Use apps like Hotel Tonight for last-minute hotel deals. Or look for discounted unsold inventory on, Expedia, and more. Sign up for price alerts and hotel voucher codes.

Escape the city for budget-friendly regional day trips via train.

Versailles (20 min): Tour the opulent Versailles palace and gardens. Take the RER C train. Entry €18, free on the first Sunday of the month.

Giverny (50 min): See Monet's house and gardens. Take the TER train. Entry €11.50, free for ages 7-25.

Reims (45 min): Visit famous champagne houses. High-speed TGV train. Tastings from €25-55.

Loire Valley (1 hr): Explore famous chateaux like Chambord. TER or OUI.go trains. Entry €13.50, under 18s free.

Buy round-trip tickets in advance for the cheapest rates to these destinations and more. Having a flexible itinerary allows you to take advantage of good last-minute deals on both train tickets and attractions too.

Make the Most of Paris on a Budget

While Paris has a reputation for being pricey, it's entirely possible to visit and enjoy the City of Lights on a budget. Use these money-saving tips to affordably experience Parisian culture, cuisine, history and art.

With discounted transportation, free activities, budget food options, affordable lodging and more, you can immerse yourself in Paris without spending a fortune. See the city at its best for less with this ultimate budget travel guide.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream trip to Paris on the cheap today!

Budget Tips for Food and Dining in Paris

Eating out three meals a day in Paris can wipe out your travel budget quickly. Use these tips to save money on food and dining:

Grocery Shop at Budget Stores

Fill up on bread, cheese, produce and other staples at no-frills French grocery chains like Monoprix, LeaderPrice, Lidl and Franprix. Shop at smaller neighborhood markets for deals.

Cook Your Own Meals

Prepare quick meals in the kitchens of apartment rentals or hostel dorms to stretch your budget further. French comfort foods like crepes, quiche, ratatouille and soups are budget-friendly to make.

Share Starters or Mains

Portions at French restaurants are often generous. Split one starter and main dish between two people to save euros. Or just share several starters for a tapas-style meal.

Dine at Bistros and Brasseries

Michelin star restaurants are pricey. Stick to more casual bistros, brasseries, and cafes where menu formule deals offer appetizers, mains and dessert for a fixed price.

Take Advantage of Lunch Prix Fixes

Lunch prix fixe menus tend to be significantly cheaper than dinner. You can get a two or three course meal for as little as €15-25 at many cafes and brasseries.

Dine Early

Restaurants typically offer dinner specials early in the evening like "early bird" meals before 7pm or happy hour deals. You can save 30% or more dining before peak hours.

Stick to Tap Water

Water is free from any tap in Paris. No need to buy pricier bottled water, just ask for "une carafe d'eau" and restaurants will bring a pitcher.

Split Desserts

Desserts and pastries don’t come cheap in Paris. Halve the cost by sharing a chocolate mousse or creme brûlée with your dinner partner.

Buy Alcohol at Stores

Pick up wine, beer and liquor at grocery stores rather than pay high drink prices at bars and clubs. Pre-game before going out.

Cheap Accommodation Tips for Paris

Finding affordable accommodations in central Paris can be a challenge. Use these tips to lower your lodging costs:

Book Outside Peak Season

Aim to travel in spring or fall when hotel rates will be lower than summer or holidays. But confirm there are no major conventions or events.

Be Flexible on Locations

Stay outside the most central 1st-4th arrondissements where hotels are pricey. Find deals in southern, eastern or northern districts instead.

Check Airbnb for Long Stays

For weeklong or monthly stays, Airbnb apartment rentals can cost less per night than hotels. Be sure to factor in cleaning and service fees too.

Use Points for Free Stays

Check your credit card and hotel loyalty programs to see if you have enough points for a free hotel night certificate. Sites like PointsHound can help maximize rewards.

Consider Airport Hotels

Hotels near Paris airports often cost less than in the city center. The CDG train connects directly to Paris in 25 minutes for under €10.

Inquire About Unpublished Rates

Asking about any unpublished or corporate rates can score you a discount at hotels. Also join free loyalty programs for deals.

Saving Money on Paris Attractions

Paris has dozens of world-class museums, monuments and attractions. Here are tips for sightseeing on a budget:

Buy Discount Passes

Bundled passes like the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass offer discounted entry to save queueing and money. Compare against pay-as-you-go.

Visit Free Museums and Galleries

Major museums like the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay have free admission a few days or evenings per month.

See Sights for Free

Walk by iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral for free exterior views.

Invest in Guidebooks

Let detailed guidebooks be your guide to free and reduced admission days/hours instead of buying full-price tickets.

Take Free Walking Tours

Join excellent tip-based walking tours of historic Paris neighborhoods and hidden gems led by locals.

See Churches, Parks and Markets

Entry to ornate churches like Sacre Coeur and famous parks like Luxembourg Gardens won't cost you a cent. Stroll through lively food markets too.

Visit Cemetery Père Lachaise

Wander the winding paths of this moving burial site where famous people like Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison rest.

Top Neighborhoods to Stay on a Budget

Paris has 20 arrondissements circling out from the city center. Here are some of the most affordable neighborhoods for budget travelers to stay in:

Belleville (10th, 19th, 20th)

Belleville has a hip, artsy vibe and is home to many Chinese, African, and Middle Eastern immigrants. Find lots of cheap global eats and lively open-air markets. Metro stops include Belleville, Couronnes, and Menilmontant.

Bercy (12th)

Quieter Bercy has become a rising foodie destination with wine bars, breweries, and the massive Bercy Village shopping complex. Stay near the Cour Saint-Émilion or Bercy Park for a local Parisian experience.

La Villette (19th)

This former industrial area houses cultural complexes like the Cité des Sciences museum and the Philharmonie de Paris concert hall. The Canal Saint-Martin offers scenic strolling paths.

Pigalle (9th, 18th)

Made famous by its red light district and the iconic Moulin Rouge, Pigalle balances seedy and chic. Stay near the cafe-lined Place du Tertre for affordable charm.

Latin Quarter (5th)

Unwind along the Seine in this beloved student area home to the Sorbonne University. Find cheap flats and hostels near Luxembourg Gardens and the Pantheon.

République (3rd, 10th, 11th)

This epicenter of nightlife and LGBT culture has become more gentrified but retains an eclectic, artsy spirit. Look for lodging deals around the stately Place de la République.

Family-Friendly Activities on a Budget

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Paris dazzles visitors of all ages. Here are top kid-friendly activities that won't break the bank in the City of Light:

Play at Parks

Let kids run free at Parisian parks like Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Garden, and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Feed ducks, ride ponies, or explore themed playgrounds.

See Animals at the Zoo

The Ménagerie is a compact, affordable zoo inside Jardin des Plantes housing animals like lemurs, monkeys, and giant tortoises. Kids will love it.

Paris has a few vintage carousels like the ones in front of the Eiffel Tower and along the Seine. Tickets are just €2-3 per ride.

Marvel at Miniature Paris

Cité des Enfants inside the Cité des Sciences museum lets kids play and learn in a pint-sized version of Paris. Entry is free for under 6 year olds.

Cruise the Seine

A boat ride along the Seine River is fun for all and offers unique views of Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and more. Fares start around €15 per person.

See a Puppet Show

The Marionettes des Champs-Elysées puts on charming puppet shows. Kids can even meet and play with the puppets after the performance.

DIY Eiffel Tower

Make a miniature Eiffel Tower out of sticks and string in the grass of the Champ de Mars park next to the real one.

Visit the Louvre's Discovery Areas

The Louvre's Sully and Louis XV wings house interactive discovery trails and workshops for kids to experience art hands-on.

Romantic Paris on a Budget

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Paris is for lovers, but avoid an expensive splurge with these budget-minded romantic activities:

Stroll Along the Seine

Walk hand-in-hand along the pedestrian Pont des Arts bridge or on the riverbank, admiring landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower.

Picnic in Parks

Pick up cheese, bread and fruit from street markets to enjoy an amorous picnic lunch spread together in lush gardens.

Wander Montmartre

Explore charming Montmartre's cobblestone streets lined with cafes, bakeries, and vine-covered buildings that exude romance.

Catch Sunset Views

Watch the sunset from the steps of Sacre Coeur Basilica or over the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero for romantic ambience.

Share Dessert

Indulge in a chocolatey Parisian dessert like creme brûlée or Gateau Opera over candlelight at an intimate cafe for deux.

See Free Concerts

Catch free musical performances with your beloved at venues like Saint-Chapelle and Saint-Eustache Church.

Stroll Market Streets

Meander down small market streets and alleyways like Rue Montorgueil hand-in-hand, stopping for food samples and people watching.

Get Lost Together

Trying to find your way through Paris' maze of streets and side alleys can lead to lots of laughs and sense of adventure.

Kiss at Midnight

Join couples kissing in front of the sparkling Eiffel Tower as it twinkles at the stroke of midnight. It's a quintessential romantic Paris moment.

Solo Tips for Visiting Paris

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Traveling to Paris on your own? Here are some of the best tips for an amazing solo trip:

Take a Free Walking Tour

An introductory walking tour helps get your bearings while meeting fellow travelers. The guides offer great insider recommendations too.

Stay at a Social Hostel

Hostels enable you to meet new people in communal dorms or social spaces. Try the Generator, Les Piaules or St. Christopher's.

Join Activities

Sign up for a photography tour, cooking class or wine tasting to enjoy Paris with others who share similar interests.

Visit the Louvre on Wednesday/Friday

The museum stays open late on these nights with fewer crowds, special events, and a lively ambiance.

Chat with Locals

Strike up conversations with locals at cafes, parks, bars and markets to gain authentic Parisian insights and practice your French.

Treat Yourself

Since you don't have to compromise with others, splurge on experiences like dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant or seeing the Paris Ballet.

Get Lost

Put away the map and wander lesser known neighborhoods and small streets to stumble upon hole-in-the-wall patisseries, galleries, and shops.

People Watch at Cafes

Order a cafe au lait or glass of wine and enjoy some solo people watching at bustling Parisian cafes.

Know Key Phrases

Brush up on key French words and phrases so you can comfortably dine out, order, ask questions, and interact with locals.

Shopping in Paris on a Budget

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Paris is a shopper's paradise, but prices can be high. Try these tips for affordable shopping:

Find Flea Markets

Markets like Puces de Vanves and Porte de Vanves offer second-hand wares and vintage fashion for bargain hunters. Go early for the best deals.

Visit Sample Sales

High-end brands like Chanel and Hermès host seasonal sample sales to sell off overstock at discounts up to 60% off retail prices.

Shop Department Store Sales

Look for soldes sales periods at Parisian department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps when items are marked down significantly.

Find Outlet Stores

Journey outside the city center to outlet malls like La Vallee Village and One Nation Paris for past-season designer goods at reduced outlet prices.

Buy from Local Designers

Up-and-coming local designers sell their Parisian-inspired fashions at lower price points than big names. Check out the Clignancourt market.

Shop Grocery Stores

Even grocery stores like Monoprix offer fashionable, inexpensive clothing and accessories alongside their regular food selection.

Buy Bakeware and Kitchenware

Escape tourist prices in cooking stores at the cookware specialty shops clustered around Metro station Les Halles.

Souvenir Shop Smart

Avoid buying overpriced souvenirs on the Champs Elysees. Check out area markets and shops around Sacre Coeur instead for deals.

Hidden Gem Neighborhoods

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Looking to escape the tourist crowds? Try these lesser-known yet captivating quarters:

La Butte-aux-Cailles - Charming, almost village-like neighborhood lined with art deco buildings, bohemian bars and cozy bistros.

Canal Saint-Martin - Relaxing, romantic canal lined with charming shops, cafes and restaurants. Perfect for strolling.

Passageways of Central Paris - Whimsical covered arcades and passages hiding cocktail bars, small museums, and old-world shops.

Village Saint Paul - Former Medieval village turned labyrinth of tranquil courtyards, galleries, and antique stores in Le Marais.

Jardin des Plantes - See Paris’ hidden but impressive botanical gardens founded in 1626 next to the natural history museum.

Rue des Martyrs - One of the most charming market streets in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, with boutiques and eateries.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés - Wander the historic winding streets of this Haussmann-era neighborhood filled with cafes, bookshops, and the must-see Saint-Germain-des-Pres abbey.

Additional Day Trip Destinations

Some other great day trips reachable by train from Paris include:

Chartres Cathedral (1 hr): A high-speed train whisks you to this town to tour its grand 13th century Gothic cathedral just an hour outside Paris.

Chantilly (25 min): Escape to Chantilly’s stunning chateau surrounded by sprawling gardens, stables, and a charming town center.

Disneyland Paris (45 min): No need for a car—just hop the RER train straight to Disney's amusement parks and get your Disney fix.

Auvers-sur-Oise (30 min): See the French countryside landscapes that inspired Impressionist artist Van Gogh in this quaint village.

Giverny and Auvers (Full day): Make a loop trip to visit both Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny plus Van Gogh sites in Auvers.

With Paris’ excellent regional rail network, historic sites, charming villages, and magical landscapes are just a quick day trip away.

Top Free Sites in Each Paris Arrondissement

Paris has 20 numbered arrondissements spiraling out from the city center. Here are some of the top free sites and activities in each:

1st: Walk through gardens of Palais Royal complex

2nd: Admire Grand Mosque in Le Marais

3rd: See Place des Vosges, Paris' oldest square

4th: Stroll elegant Place des Vosges

5th: Explore Latin Quarter’sUniversité de la Sorbonne

6th: Tour Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey

7th: Snap photos at Eiffel Tower

8th: Marvel at Church of Saint Augustin

9th: Climb Butte Montmartre for panoramic views

10th: Relax in Canal Saint Martin parks

11th: Play with optical illusions at Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale

12th: Walk from Bastille along lively Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine

13th: Visit redeveloped national library François Mitterrand

14th: Pay respects at Cimetière du Montparnasse

15th: See where Napoleon is entombed at Les Invalides

16th: Get classic views of Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro

17th: See Arc de Triomphe then stroll Champs Elysees

18th: Explore winding lanes of Montmartre

19th: Visit Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie museum

20th: Relax in nature at Père-Lachaise Cemetery

This offers a great starting list of free sights to check out in each of Paris’ districts!

Top Cheap Eats Under €10

You can eat well in Paris without breaking the bank at these delicious eateries:

Pink Flamingo Pizza - Thin crust pizza slices for €2.50 each.

Dose de Piments - Savory West African dishes under €10.

Shawarma Corner - Generous chicken and lamb pitas under €6.

Pho 14 - Big bowls of Vietnamese noodle soup starting at €9.

Pinxo - Basque-style pintxos (small bites) from €2 each.

Krishna Bhavan - All-you-can-eat southern Indian thali plate for €9.95 at lunch.

Miznon - Israeli pita sandwiches stuffed with veggies, falafel and meat from €6.

Yafo - Fabulous Middle Eastern mezze small plates under €4.

Demon Tweeks - Loaded €4.50 burgers voted Paris' best.

Breizh Café - Savory buckwheat crepes (galettes) for under €10.

Bon appetit! Paris' multicultural food scene offers cuisine around the world on a budget.

Hidden Restaurants off the Tourist Path

Venture away from major sites to find amazing local eateries like:

Le P'tit Troquet - Cozy vintage bistro dishing French comfort food in a lively atmosphere. Cash only.

Le Cotte Rôti - Charming restaurant east of Père Lachaise serving roast chicken and naturally wines.

Le Bon Georges - Retro red-checkered cafe with a hidden tree-filled terrace in the 2nd.

Restaurant AT - Unassuming neo-bistro focused on refined seasonal sharing plates. Worth a splurge.

Frichti - Modern spot for build-your-own salads, burgers, bowls and more with quality ingredients.

Holybelly - Australian-run cafe serving all-day breakfast and brunch in the 19th.

Abri - Tiny but mighty sandwich shop with some outdoor picnic table seating.

KB Coffee Roasters - Specialty coffee from a pioneer Parisian third-wave roaster.

Manhattan's Burgers - Juicy gourmet burgers and milkshakes without the touristy prices.

Paris Tips During Summer

Paris in summer can get quite hot. Follow these tips to beat the heat and crowds:

  • Visit top sights early morning before crowds and heat peak
  • Have a picnic lunch in shaded park areas to cool down
  • Duck into cool, air-conditioned museums to escape afternoon heat
  • Carry a folding fan and portable water bottle
  • Keep to shaded side streets and river pathways
  • Wear light, breathable natural fabrics like linen and cotton
  • Eat cool foods like salads, gazpacho soup, crepes, sorbets, apero snacks
  • Check music festivals, open-air cinema and other summer events
  • Consider a day/night trip out of the city center for a respite
  • Sit streetside for people watching over cool drinks instead of walking all day
  • Take frequent breaks to rehydrate and rest indoors or in the shade
  • Sleep with good blackout shades drawn and windows open
  • Book accommodations with air conditioning if possible

With some preparation for hotter weather, you can comfortably enjoy Paris in summer without overexerting yourself!

Best Parks for Picnics in Paris

Parisians love picnicking in the city's many beautiful parks. Top green spaces to spread out a blanket and enjoy budget eats include:

  • Champ de Mars - Grassy lawns with unbeatable Eiffel Tower views. Gets crowded on weekends.
  • Tuileries Garden - Manicured gardens between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde.
  • Luxembourg Gardens - Lush and lively gardens where locals relax in the Latin Quarter.
  • Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - Peaceful green escape in the north featuring cliffs, waterfalls and a lake.
  • Canal Saint-Martin - Relax by the tranquil canal or on green quayside squares nearby.
  • Promenade Plantée - Elevated park built on a former railway viaduct with food markets.
  • Jardin des Plantes - Historic botanical gardens near the Natural History Museum.
  • Parc Monceau - English-style landscaped gardens popular with well-heeled locals.
  • Square du Vert-Galant - Tiny green space on the tip of the Île de la Cité under the Pont Neuf bridge.
  • Parc de Belleville - Hilly park with some of the best panoramic views over Paris.

Budget Saving Apps and Websites

Maximize savings by using these handy budget travel apps and sites:

  • Museum Pass - Purchase discounted museum and monument passes.
  • CityMapper - Plan the best public transit routes.
  • Too Good To Go - Buy discounted surplus food from restaurants and bakeries.
  • Foursquare - Find deals at shops, cafes and attractions.
  • Groupon - Score discounts on activities like tours and museum entry.
  • Meetup - Join free local excursions and events.
  • Couchsurfing - Connect with locals to meet up and get tips.
  • GasBuddy - Locate the cheapest petrol stations.
  • Wi-Fi Map - Find free public wi-fi hotspots.
  • MeetnGreetMe - Hire a local to show you around.
  • Ulmon CityMaps2Go - Use offline maps without data roaming charges.

Photography Tips for Paris

Capture stunning shots of Paris' iconic landmarks and streetscapes with these tips:

  • Pack wide angle and zoom lenses - Frame scenes up close or fit everything in.
  • Include people - Add human interest to architecture and landscape shots.
  • Try different vantage points - Shoot from high above or ground level for variety.
  • Focus on details - Zoom in on textures, patterns and small elements.
  • Play with lighting - Use the golden hour light at sunset or artificial night lights.
  • Consider composition - Use rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry, etc.
  • Avoid mid-day sun - The light is harsh. Shoot morning/afternoon instead.
  • Watch the backgrounds - Avoid cluttered or distracting backgrounds.
  • Learn top camera settings - Understand ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.
  • Tell a story - Convey a sense of time, place, mood, and narrative.

With the right skills and creative eye, you can capture stunning photographic memories of Paris.

Best Souvenirs to Bring Home from Paris

Want memorable, affordable souvenirs? Shop for these items to bring a piece of Paris home:

Macarons - Grab a box of classic French macarons from Pierre Hermé, Ladurée or Fauchon. Delicate and irresistible.

Chocolates - Treat yourself to bonbons and pralines from master chocolatiers like Michel Cluizel and Patrick Roger.

French Cookbooks - Find beautiful French cookbooks at affordable prices to bring home French cuisine.

Flea Market Treasures - Search for unique vintage finds like jewelry, glassware, books and artwork at the markets.

Perfume - Bring home refined fragrances like those by Guerlain, Annick Goutal and Diptyque.

Canvas Totes - Pack your stuff in chic, reusable canvas tote bags with Paris designs.

Scarves - Classic Parisian-style scarves in silk or fun prints make great gifts back home.

Stationery - Shop the stationery boutiques for stylish notebooks, pens and desk accessories.

Tea Towels - Colorful, charming tea towels printed with Eiffel Towers, macarons and Paris scenes are great kitchen souvenirs.

Art Prints - Buy affordable art prints from street stalls and galleries to frame.

Best Movies Set in Paris

Immerse yourself in Parisian culture before your trip by watching these classic films:

Amélie - Whimsical 2001 comedy following a shy Parisian woman on adventures.

Midnight in Paris - Romantic 2011 movie about a writer traveling back to Jazz Age Paris.

Moulin Rouge - Baz Luhrmann’s lavish 2001 musical set in 1890s Montmartre cabaret scene.

The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain - Wistful 1990s film about a Paris orphan’s life journey.

Funny Face - Stylish 1957 Audrey Hepburn musical partially filmed around Paris.

Charade - Charming 1963 Audrey Hepburn thriller set in Parisian streets and landmarks.

Breathless - Nouvelle vague pioneer Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 art film shot in Paris.

Ratatouille - Pixar’s acclaimed 2007 animated film about a rat chef in Paris.

Hugo - Magical Martin Scorsese family film that celebrates 1930s Parisian cinema.

Paris Je T’aime - 2006 collection of 18 short films each set in a different Paris neighborhood.

Packing Tips

Pack light and smart for Paris with these tips:

  • Choose a small, carry-on size bag for easy mobility
  • Bring layers like lightweight scarves, sweaters, and jackets
  • Pack comfy but fashionable shoes suitable for walking
  • Roll clothes to conserve space and prevent wrinkles
  • Mix and match versatile neutral-colored clothing
  • Consider bringing collapsible travel bottles and bags
  • Don't forget chargers and power banks for devices
  • Pack health essentials like medications and bandages
  • Bring foldable umbrellas or raincoats in case of rain
  • Pack a few French phrases to help communicate
  • Photocopy passports and leave copies at home
  • Consider bringing snacks to have on hand
  • Utilize luggage tags and locks for security

Following these tips will keep your belongings safe and organized so you can better enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris! Let me know if you need any other packing help.

Paris has several major train stations, each serving different destinations:

Gare du Nord - Trains to Northern France, Eurostar to London and Thalys to Brussels, Amsterdam. Oldest and busiest station.

Gare de l’Est - Destinations in Eastern France, Germany, Luxembourg. Easily walkable from major sights.

Gare de Lyon - Trains to Southeast France, French Riviera, Italy, Switzerland. Also serves Disneyland Paris.

Gare Montparnasse - Connects to Western and Southwestern France, Spain. Gateway to Loire Valley.

Gare d’Austerlitz - Smaller station with trains to Center France, Pyrenees, Southwest, Spain.

Gare Saint-Lazare - Northwestern France, Normandy region. Close to big department stores.

All stations have pay toilets, ATMs, money changers, tourist info, and food shops. Buy tickets at the station or book ahead online for popular routes. Arrive 30 minutes early to find your platform.

Essential French Phrases

Brush up on basic French words and phrases to help you navigate Paris:

Hello - Bonjour

Goodbye - Au revoir

Please - S'il vous plaît

Thank you - Merci

You're welcome - De rien

Excuse me - Pardon/Excusez-moi

Yes - Oui

No - Non

Do you speak English? - Parlez-vous anglais ?

I don't speak French - Je ne parle pas français

How much is this? - C'est combien ?

Where is...? - Où est...?

Bathroom - Toilettes

Train station - Gare

Bus stop - Arrêt de bus

Even just mastering basics like hello, please, and thank you can help overcome language barriers. Locals will appreciate the effort!

Smart Packing Cubes

Packing cubes help keep your luggage tidy and organized. Look for sets that:

  • Are lightweight
  • Have 2-4 different sizes
  • Have durable zippers
  • Are made of breathable mesh fabric
  • Have color coded cubes
  • Have handles for pulling cubes out
  • Are designed to compress contents
  • Help separate clean/dirty clothes
  • Can organize by clothing type

Quality packing cubes from brands like Eagle Creek, Shacke Pak, and Muvalon maximize your luggage space while keeping items compact, wrinkle-free and easy to access. They provide a smarter way to pack!

Staying Safe in Paris

While Paris is generally safe, it helps to follow some basic precautions:

  • Be aware of pickpockets in crowded tourist areas and on public transit. Keep valuables in interior coat pockets or a crossbody bag.
  • Don't carry large amounts of cash. Rely on ATM withdrawals as needed.
  • Only take registered taxis with a meter, or use ride share apps like Uber. Avoid unmarked cars.
  • Don't walk alone late at night. Stick to well-lit major streets if out past dark.
  • Don't display expensive cameras or phones conspicuously in public. Keep in a discreet bag when not using.
  • Be wary of common scams like petition signing or demands to show police your wallet. Ignore them.
  • Carry a small amount of cash in a cheap spare wallet to hand over in case of robbery.
  • Leave passports and excess valuables locked up securely in your accommodation.
  • Have emergency cash and card numbers to call and cancel cards if lost or stolen.
  • Stay vigilant in airports, train stations and tourist sites where pickpockets lurk.
  • Consider travel insurance for health emergencies and lost belongings.

Handling Flight Delays and Cancellations

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

Understand your rights and options if your Paris flight is delayed or cancelled:

  • For delays over 2 hours for short haul EU flights, airlines must provide food, refreshments, and communication.
  • Delays over 3 hours may qualify you for compensation under EU law. Research eligibility criteria.
  • If rerouted for a cancellation, you can ask for a full refund instead of rebooking.
  • Never leave the airport until your status is confirmed or you rebooked if needed.
  • Get booked on the next available flight if yours is cancelled, even if with another airline.
  • Request compensation for incurred meals, transport, hotels, etc. due to major disruptions.
  • Phone airline providers for updates rather than waiting in huge lines if possible.
  • Leverage social media to get faster callbacks and assistance from airlines.
  • Relax in airline or airport lounges using status, memberships or day passes if needed.
  • Be kind to airline representatives, and remain patient yet persistent.
  • Have backup plans ready in case of major flight disruptions to minimize headaches.

Best Museums for Free

Many top Paris art museums offer free entry on certain days or times:

  • The Louvre - Free the first Saturday of every month from 6pm to 9:45pm. Get in for free all night on July 14th for Bastille Day.
  • Musée d'Orsay - Free entry every first Sunday of the month. No tickets needed.
  • Centre Pompidou - Free access the first Sunday of the month.
  • Rodin Museum - Free the first Sunday of the month from October to March.
  • Picasso Museum - No admission fee the first Sunday of the month.
  • Musée de l'Orangerie - Free for all visitors on first Sundays. Houses Monet's Water Lilies.
  • Petit Palais - Permanent collections are free, charges for temporary exhibits.
  • Museum of Decorative Arts - No entry fee for the extensive collections.

Many museums are also free for those under 18 or under 26 if EU residents. Arrive early as lines can still get long for free entry days.

Budget Flight Connections

Access Paris for less by flying low-cost carriers:

EasyJet - Flies from London, Geneva, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, and Milan.

Ryanair - Connects Paris with Dublin, Madrid, Porto, Brussels, and Copenhagen cheaply.

Transavia - Budget flights from Rotterdam, Oslo, Athens, Tel Aviv and more.

Vueling - Low-cost routes from Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga, Seville and Granada.

Level - New low-cost carrier with cheap Barcelona-Paris flights.

Wizz Air - Routes across Eastern Europe including Vilnius, Warsaw, and Bucharest.

Eurowings - Good for getting to Paris from Germany affordably.

Check routes, luggage allowances, fees and sale fares across these carriers to score deals. But don't assume lowest base fare—add all costs up.

Romantic Day Trips from Paris

Escape the city for romance in these nearby destinations:

Chantilly - Wander the fairytale chateau set in sprawling gardens and forest.

Giverny - Stroll through Claude Monet's home and artistically inspiring gardens together.

Rambouillet - Explore this enchanting medieval fortress and forest perfect for picnics.

Chartres - Be dazzled by stained glass in the 13th century cathedral.

Fontainebleau - Escape to a lavish palace surrounded by villages and forest.

Loire Valley - Tour gorgeous chateaux like Chambord and Amboise.

Auvers-sur-Oise - See the quaint town and countryside that inspired Van Gogh's art.

Reims - Make it a day of champagne tasting in this capital of bubbly production.

From charming smaller towns to scenic natural escapes, trips from Paris make romantic easy getaways.

Best Parks for a Picnic

Have a Parisian picnic in these remarkable green spaces:

  • Champ de Mars - Sprawl out under the Eiffel Tower. Gets crowded on nice days.
  • Jardin du Luxembourg - Relax by fountains and sculptures in this iconic park.
  • Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - Escape to this hilly 19th-century park with rocky cliffs.
  • Canal Saint-Martin - Picnic along the tranquil canal or on green squares nearby.
  • Jardin des Tuileries - Manicured gardens between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde.
  • Parc Monceau - Lovely English-style landscaped gardens frequented by well-heeled locals.
  • Promenade Plantée - Stroll this elevated park built on a former railway viaduct.
  • Champ de Mars - Large grassy fields with stellar Eiffel Tower views. Gets crowded.
  • Square du Vert-Galant - Tiny green space on the tip of the Île de la Cité by Pont Neuf.
  • Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - Escape the bustle amidst cliffs, waterfalls and a lake.

Cheap Late Night Bites

Sample Paris after dark without breaking the bank at these late night eats spots:

  • Breakfast in America - All-day and late night American diner classics.
  • Pink Flamingo - Pizza by the slice until 2am on weekends.
  • Le Bouillon Chartier - Classic brasserie dishing up comfort food until midnight.
  • Delmontel - Hole-in-the-wall serving baguette sandwiches nonstop.
  • Noodle Box - Hearty Thai noodle soups until 11pm every night.
  • Mano Saigon - Affordable Vietnamese spot open until midnight most nights.
  • Kabylie's - Algerian restaurant with great happy hour deals 10pm-1am.
  • La Buvette - Wine bar with small plates until 2am on weekends.
  • boboons - Tiny 24/7 crepe window serving sweet and savory options.
  • Aziza - Moroccan couscous, wraps, and more until 1am daily.

Rainy Day Activities

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

When it's rainy, enjoy indoor fun on the cheap:

  • Movies at Le Grand Rex historic cinema
  • Free concerts at Saint Eustache Church on Sundays
  • Cooking or baking classes - learn French cuisine
  • Album art exhibits at the Philharmonie de Paris
  • Tuileries fun fair carnival rides under cover
  • Café hop along bookstore-lined Rue Bonaparte
  • See underwater wildlife at the Aquarium de Paris
  • Stroll through grand department stores like Galeries Lafayette
  • People watch from cafes with steamy window seats
  • Catch live music in cozy jazz club Caveau de la Huchette

Budget Jewelry Shopping

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Paris on a Budget: Paris travel tips

For affordable and unique jewelry, try these spots:

  • St. Ouen flea markets - Vintage and antique finds. Bargain and negotiate!
  • Marche de la Creations - Handmade jewelry sold by local designers.
  • SHAPES - Curated modern jewelry shop emphasizing bold, geometric styles.
  • Merci - Beautiful jewelry selection supporting local designers.
  • Mona Ruy Branco - Artist's Paris studio and shop selling sculptural jewelry.
  • Eric & Lydie - Keep an eye out for their pop-up stands around the city.
  • Retrokids - Funky 80s vintage pieces.
  • Tendance bijoux - Trendy costume jewelry at easy prices.
  • Agnes b. - French designer also making timeless gold and silver pieces.

With so many options, you can find chic Parisian jewelry at almost any budget.


Paris conjures up images of elegant boulevards, iconic landmarks, and chic cafés—but also hefty price tags. However, enjoying the City of Lights doesn’t have to break the bank.

With research and planning, you can discover Paris on any budget. Find inexpensive flights, pick affordable accommodations in charming neighborhoods, and utilize free and low-cost transportation. Fuel up on cheap eats from sidewalk crepe stands, bakeries, and picnic market hauls.

Soak up the ambiance at the Eiffel Tower and riverside walkways, get your art fix at free museum entry times, and wander hidden alleys and galleries. Head out of town for magical day trips to Versailles, Giverny, and Reims. A little savvy goes a long way.

The real pleasures of Paris—soaking up captivating culture, people-watching from bustling cafés, strolling tree-lined boulevards—don’t cost a cent. By mixing paid attractions with free activities, you can experience the best of Paris without going broke.

Use these budget tips to save on flights, lodging, transportation, dining, sightseeing, and more. With a little planning, creativity and flexibility, Paris’ irresistible charm can be enjoyed on any budget.

So don’t put off that Parisian vacation just because money is tight. Follow this budget guide and start mapping out your affordable Parisian getaway today! What are you waiting for? Paris awaits!

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