Paris is known for its luxurious shopping, exquisite food and stunning architecture, with that, a high price is often associated with this beautiful city.
But what if you’re on a budget when you visit Paris and can’t afford a 500€, 17 course, gourmet tasting menu each night?
Don’t worry, below you’ll find a two day itinerary containing cheap or free attractions, cheap eats and handy tips for when you’re there.
No matter where you’re staying, most sights are easy to get to, whether you walk or use the cheap metro to get around, let’s start in the centre with Notre Dame.
This magnificent gothic cathedral is a must see, yes there’s a plethora of selfie stick wielding tourists, but it’s free and close to many other popular attractions.
Spend half an hour or so there, depending on how many gargoyles you want to spot, then meander on to the Louvre museum, about a 15 minute walk away.
If you’re under 26 and from an EU country it’s free, otherwise a ticket is €15, a steal considering the 35,000 pieces of art it shows, including the Mona Lisa (FYI, it’s tiny).
Depending on how long you spend wandering through the place – you’d need a week to cover just a quarter of it – make a pit stop for lunch at the most amazing cheese and wine restaurant you will ever visit, Fromagerie Danard.
Round the corner from the Louvre , this tiny spot offers a plethora of different cheese boards, with cured meats, fresh bread, crackers and delicious wine. Just tell the very knowledgeable waiters what you like and they’ll come back with a selection of your favourites, you won’t be able to finish, but you can take it away with you along with any leftover wine (unlikely for the latter). Definitely book in advance as there are only a handful of tables.
If you can manage to walk after all that, have a wander round the neighbouring Palais Royal famed for its pretty courtyards, impressive columns and quirky shops (think endless Instagramable opportunities).
Following all that cultural overload, head to Rue Saint Honoré for some retail therapy.
After that move onto Montmatre, be prepared for a hike, it’s about a 30 minute walk from Rue Saint Honoré followed by a lot of steps, you can get the metro to Pigalle, but you still have to do the 90 odd steps to reach the Basilique du Sacré Coeur for the most amazing views of the city.
Arrive just before sunset for that golden hour and to see the city of lights really come to life, for free.
There’s a plethora of eccentric bars nearby to choose from once the sun goes down, my favourites were Bar À Bulles, Vingt heures Vin, Chez Camille and Le Proibido.
Still hungry after lunch? Then pay a visit to Les Apôtres de Pigalle, a gorgeous French tapas-style restaurant, with unbelievably low prices, considering the quality.
You can’t come to Paris and not pay a visit to the Eiffel Tower, only 5€ for under 24’s if you take the stairs (there’s a lot) or 11€ for the lift. Visit in the morning for a shorter queue or get there early evening to make sure you’re up there for the sunset (the queue is pretty long at this time).
Dont fancy paying but want a good view of the tower? Cross the river to Palais de Tokyo for an impressive sight, with no charge.
There are plenty of river cruises available that start and end at the Eiffel Tower and at roughly 13€ for an hour-long tour with commentary you don’t want to miss out, for an extra 4€ you can enjoy a glass of fizz on board.
Once back on dry land, walk along the Seine to Avenue Montaigne for pure window shopping and to spy on some of the chicest, well dressed people in he city, the window displays in shops such as Dior, Chanel and Prada are like art galleries with no charge.
This brings you onto the Champs Elysee, with the stunning Arc d’Triomph at the top of the street. Here you’ll find more affordable shops like H&M and cafes that offer wine at the same price of a coffee, no brainer.
There you have it, Paris can be done on a budget and if you don’t want to spend much getting and staying there, go in January. Yes it’s freezing but it’s dry and quiet with virtually no queuing, so wrap up.
All photos are my own, you’re welcome to share, but please credit me if you do, thank you.