How to See Paris on a Budget

Paris is one of those magical cities you dream your whole life about going to. However, visiting Paris can become quite expensive, especially if you want to experience all of the monuments, food, and other iconic Paris things. After spending a weekend Paris, I have compiled some tips to help you save money the next time you might visit the City of Lights!

1. Walk the first two levels up the Eiffel Tower

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Walking up the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower has three levels. The first two levels can be tackled by either stairs or elevator, while the third level can only be accessed by lift. Although you can take the elevator all the way up (€12.50 for youth ages 12-24), it is much more economical to walk the first two levels, and then take the elevator the rest of the way (only €9.50). An even cheaper option is a stair ticket to only the second level, which is €5, and already gives you a great view of the surrounding city! An extra benefit to taking the stairs is that it gives you a good look at the tower’s internal structure and allows you to take your time to admire the sights!

2. Choose free monument options

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Most of the iconic monuments across Paris have certain parts that require tickets to enter, such as going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral and Sacre Coeur Basilica, or museums like the Palace of Luxembourg and the Army Museum at Les Invalides. However, all of the locations I have mentioned above are free to experience in some way without spending money. Walk underneath the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, enter the inspiring Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, and amble the gardens and grounds of both the Luxembourg Gardens and Les Invalides, all completely free!

3. Eat at a café counter for breakfast

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A cute Parisian café

If breakfast is not included in your hostel, or if you are staying at a hotel with an expensive breakfast (they are usually around €8-10), head to one of the many local (and extremely cute) cafés. They will have much better prices for coffee and pastries, and a much more pleasant atmosphere. In addition, be careful  about where you sit in the café. Consuming your breakfast at one of the tables will often incur extra charges. So to keep things cheap, enjoy your espresso and croissant at the café counter/bar!

4. Have a picnic for lunch

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Only tourists take photos with baguettes 🙂

Paris is incredibly beautiful and the perfect place to enjoy a picnic. Plus, even lunch prices at restaurants can be quite expensive. Grab a €4-5 Pariasian sandwich “take away” or pick up a freshly baked baguette from a bakery, some charcuterie, cheese, and fruit from a grocery store. Then head to Trocadéro Gardens for the best views of the Eiffel Tower, Park Champ de Mars if the lawns are open, or for a royal experience spread out on the beautiful lawns at Luxembourg Gardens. All three are free to the public!

5. Free night at the Louvre!

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My final and, in my opinion, coolest tip has to do with the Louvre Museum. It is almost compulsory to go to the Louvre when visiting Paris, although tickets can be quite expensive, €17 for adults when bought online. However, on Friday nights the museum is open past its regular closing time of 6pm, and closes at 9:45pm. During this time, admission is free for people under 26 of all nationalities. You don’t even have to wait in the ticket line, just go straight to the exhibit entrance and present your ID. I also suggest looking up a guide online to tackle the Louvre efficiently, as it is the world’s largest art museum, and you’ll want to make good use of your time.

I hope that these tips will be useful the next time you get a chance to visit this magical city!

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