Guides Paris Paris on a Budget: Top 12 Affordable Activities & Places

Paris on a Budget: Top 12 Affordable Activities & Places

City Guide July 18, 2023

Paris is many things, and expensive is one of them. We won’t sugarcoat it. Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from visiting the beautiful city of lights.

When there’s a will, there is certainly a way, and we are here to show you how it’s done.

In this guide, we’ll show you that navigating and getting to know the city can be done successfully on a budget. From hidden gems to iconic landmarks, we’ll ensure you can see it all no matter how thick your pockets are. Say hello to Paris on a budget as we guide you through affordable things to do in Paris!

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1. Walk up the Eiffel Tower

But of course, we’re starting this with a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. You can roam around the area for free and even have a picnic on the lawn facing the tower called Champ de Mars.

If you’re interested in going up the tower, a budget hack would be to take the stairs over the elevator. Not only do you cut the cost, but you also cut the line and get to see the inner workings of the tower. The stairs might be daunting, but you can take breaks as needed.

You’ll have to take an elevator from the second story up to the top to see the view from there, of course. If you’re under 24, you can also get a discount for your visit.

Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France

Hours: The Eiffel Tower is typically open every day from 9:00 AM to midnight


2. Strut through Champs Elysées

Stroll down the world-famous Champs Elysées, a grand avenue with luxury (and regular) shops, theaters, and cafes. Take in the glamour, indulge in some shopping, or sip some coffee and engage in good ‘ol people-watching. While on Champs Elysées, see the famous Arc de Triomphe up close. If you have the Paris museum pass, admission to the top of the arch is included.

Address: Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France

Hours: Champs Elysées is a public street, so it doesn't have specific opening or closing hours. However, individual shops and attractions along the avenue may have their operating hours


3. Go shopping at the Saint-Ouen Flea Market

Embark on a treasure hunt at the Saint-Ouen Flea Market, a paradise for antique enthusiasts and bargain hunters. The vast array of stalls offers everything from vintage furniture, clothing, books, artwork, and much more. Get lost in the labyrinths as you find one-of-a-kind trinkets.

Address: 93400 Saint-Ouen, France

Hours: The Saint-Ouen Flea Market, also known as Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, is generally open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from around 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM


4. Admire the Landmarks

Paris is a giant open-air museum. Use that to your advantage as you stroll through the streets and admire the city’s landmarks. Each landmark carries a rich history and architectural splendor, from the splendid Notre Dame Cathedral and the majestic Louvre Museum to the iconic Arc de Triomphe and the enchanting Montmartre.

Admire the different architectural styles from Haussmannian to Art Nouveau. Just make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!


Nannybag - Paris on a Budget: Top 12 Affordable Activities & Places


5. Free Walking Tour

Discover the charm and hidden gems of Paris through a free walking tour. Join knowledgeable guides who will lead you through the city's enchanting streets, sharing intriguing stories and historical insights as you explore Paris for free.

You can find free walking tours online or ask the reception staff if you’re staying in a hotel or hostel. Walking tours are a great way to learn the city's history and build a newfound appreciation. Don’t forget to tip, though, the guides will appreciate it.


6. Catch the Sunrise at Sacre Coeur

Experience a magical moment by catching the sunrise at Sacre Coeur, a stunning basilica perched atop Montmartre. Watch as the first light rays illuminate the city, casting a golden glow over the rooftops.

Our recommendation? Grab some viennoiseries from a nearby boulangerie and enjoy your breakfast as you take in the panoramic views. Once you’re done, explore Montmartre or enter the basilica to witness its grandeur.

Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

Hours: The Sacre Coeur Basilica is usually open from 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM. However, access to certain areas, such as the dome, may have restricted hours or require a separate ticket


7. Explore Modern Art at Centre Pompidou

If you’re a fan of modern art, don’t miss a chance to visit the Centre Pompidou. From the outside, you’ll admire its strikingly original architecture that will make you go “ooooh,” and others go “ahhh.”

Once inside, you’ll find a vast collection of works from renowned artists worldwide, from Frida Khalo to Pablo Picasso. And you can even find Marcel Duchamp’s “fountain” piece here. Spend the day, admire the art, and ask yourself, “What is art” as you roam the museum!

Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France

Hours: The Centre Pompidou is generally open every day except Tuesdays from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM



8. Picnic along Canal St. Martin

Budget traveling is often just living like the locals do since tourist budgets differ greatly from the locals! Parisians enjoy their favorite pastries from the boulangerie as they relax, enjoying the atmosphere around them. And Canal St. Martin is the perfect place to experience this.

Find a cozy spot along the canal's banks, sprawl out your favorite blanket, and let the time pass by as you watch the boats glide and observe the locals and tourists alike. Sometimes the free things in life are some of the best.

Address: Canal Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris, France

Hours: Canal St. Martin is a public area, so it doesn't have specific opening or closing hours


9. Capture Content at Petit Palais

We love cheap and free things to do in Paris, especially when they’re filled with priceless artifacts. Petit Palais is one of the many free museums in Paris and is an architectural gem nestled in the heart of Paris. Wander through its elegant halls adorned with ornate ceilings, stunning frescoes, and sculptures that evoke a sense of timeless beauty. Take advantage and capture memories here to fill your portfolio or Instagram profile.

Address: Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France

Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM


10. Visit Oscar Wilde’s Grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery

Pay homage to the famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde and other historical greats like Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise cemetery. Wander through the tree-lined paths of this sprawling cemetery and seek out the tombstone adorned with tributes and messages from admirers. Reflect on Wilde's literary legacy and the cemetery's tranquil beauty.

If you want to live your Emily in Paris dreams, grab your lunch and eat it here just like she did on her birthday!

Address: 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, France

Hours: Père Lachaise Cemetery is generally open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM



11. Try French Food at Bouillon Pigalle

If you’re looking for cheap places to go in Paris, indulge in traditional French delights at Bouillon Pigalle! To us, eating is an activity, which is why this budget eatery has made it on the list. Food is an experience; at Bouillon Pigalle, you’re in for a traditional French experience. From the fast-paced waiters to the assortment of French dishes at a price you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Use this chance to sample foods you otherwise wouldn’t have ordered elsewhere (like snails) because why not!

Tip: The best time to visit is around 6/7 pm, lines can get long quickly to get in, so arrive early to secure a spot.

Address: 22 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France

Hours: Bouillon Pigalle is typically open every day from around 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM


12. Learn About Art Nouveau at Musee Carnavalet

Discover the artistic movement that swept through Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Explore the museum's vast collection of furniture, decorative arts, paintings, and photographs, providing a glimpse into the elegance and innovation of this iconic artistic style.

Delve into the lives of everyday Parisians, noble families, and influential intellectuals through the fascinating exhibits that grace these halls. Musee Carnavalet offers a perfect day for those into history and architecture or role-playing the bourgeoise.

Address: 16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris, France

Hours: Musée Carnavalet is generally open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

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