How to get the most out of Paris on a budget

Jul 05, 2019
Find out how you can experience the joy of the Eiffel Tower for free. Source: Getty

Paris is a bucket-list destination for many travellers, and for good reason. Even if you’re not a croissant connoisseur, there’s plenty to do and see in this popular French city, whether it’s a trip to the world-famous Eiffel Tower or cruising along the spectacular Seine River.

But if you’ve been put off by by the potential cost, you may be surprised at just how affordable it can be to experience the ‘City of Lights’.

Here are our top tips for getting the most out of Paris on a budget:

Museums are occasionally free

Free museums in Paris? Yes, you read that right, most of the city’s major museums open their doors to the public for absolutely no charge on the first Sunday of each month. They include big names like the Picasso Museum, Musée d’Orsay, Musée du Quai Branly and the Pompidou Centre. Others are only free off-season (between October and March) like the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and Sainte-Chapelle. The only downside is that lots of people take advantage of this generous offer and the queues can be super long, so get in there early!


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Picnic near the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is probably one of the most-visited sights in Europe, which means thousands of visitors flock to the world-famous monument everyday to enjoy the spectacular views. But if the idea of queuing in a long line to reach the top puts you off, why not spend the 12 Euro ($A24.50) it costs to climb the tower on tasty picnic food, such as cheese, wine and a baguette, and sit on the sprawling lawns surrounding it. You can pick up fresh produce and other goodies on Rue Cler, one of Paris’ most beloved market streets, and it’s only a short 14 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower.


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Take in the incredible sights

From scenic gardens to beautiful cathedrals, there are plenty of incredible sights to see in Paris for free. Some popular attractions include Parc des Tuileries, a public garden located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde (one of the major public squares), the Sacre-Coeur, one of the city’s most famous cathedrals, and Promenade Plantée, the world’s first park elevated walkway.


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Check out the free annual events

If you’re looking to save costs, the French capital is packed with free events all year round. There are fireworks displays and lively parades for Bastille Day on July 14, elaborate light installations and concerts at the Nuit Blanche festival in October, and the Christmas lights and markets in December. If you’re one for history, the European Heritage Days event offers a great opportunity to see rarely-opened sights around the city for free. Check out the Time Out Paris website for the latest information about what’s on.

Take a free walking tour

Why not explore Paris by foot? Free walking tours are a fantastic way to experience a new city firsthand. Experienced guides will walk you through the city and point out everything you would have missed if you had simply driven through. Tour guides are often locals who know the ins and outs of their city and, because the tours are free, it’s also likely they’re volunteering their time which means they truly care about showing tourists the best spots.

For example, SANDEMANs New Europe Tours offer a three-hour walking tour showing you many of the top attractions including the world-famous Louvre museum, Arc de Triomphe and the impressive Parc des Tuileries. Learn more here.


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Have you been to Paris before?

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