Paris is one of the most romantic and elegant European cities. Whether you’re watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle under the night sky or eating a fresh pastry at one of the many local cafes amongst the surrounding iconic architecture, you will feel the magic of this city. Despite being one of the most distinguished cities in the world, you can visit Paris, France on a budget easily. We recommend spending at least 3 days here. Here is our quick guide on what to do when visiting Paris, France on a budget.
Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in early April
What to do in Paris on a Budget
Que the cliché but the Eiffel tower is truly magnificent to behold. See the Eiffel tower at as many different times of day as possible. Our favorite was when it was lit up and sparkling at night. It was truly magical! We also really enjoyed going up to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower and seeing the panoramic views of the city.
To visit the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower, we recommend taking the Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise and City Bus Tour. This tour allowed us to “skip the line” at the Eiffel Tower and was reasonably priced.
Tip: Go here early in the morning to enjoy the Eiffel Tower without the crowds. We stayed near the Eiffel Tower, and we really enjoyed jogging around the tower/surrounding park in the morning when we were some of the only people there. And guess what? This was completely free!
Next, go see the world’s largest, and arguably most iconic, art museum–the Louvre. The Mona Lisa is housed here amongst many other iconic pieces of art. You can literally get lost here (we actually did) but that is part of the fun. Sam also likes to try to be the art (see pictures below). The unique iconic architecture outside of the museum is not to be missed either.
Tip: Make sure to check to see what days the Louvre Museum is open before you visit. The museum was closed on Wednesdays when we were visiting and we were glad to know this prior to arriving so we were able plan out seeing the rest of the city accordingly.
Notre Dame Cathedral
After seeing the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, make a stop at Notre Dame Cathedral. This Cathedral is really a stunning piece of iconic architecture. Unfortunately, the Cathedral was damaged by a fire in April 2019 since our visit but restoration is underworks. This should be completed by Summer 2024. This cathedral was very impressive and even with the damage, we would still recommend a visit here.
Explore city by foot
On a nice day, this is a great way to see the city. Walk along the Seine river and use this landmark as your home base for navigation. If walking the city (it is quite large!) is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of bus tours that you can book to see the whole city in a day. Make sure to see the Arc de Triomphe, Jardin du Palais-Royal and the Luxembourg Gardens in addition to all the sites above!
What to eat in Paris on a Budget
Bread, bread, bread!
After exploring the city by foot, you’ll certainly be hungry and have plenty of an appetite to try some fresh French bread and pastries. These baked goods here are really unmatched in taste. Sample a couple everyday and find your favorite!
Sam loved these and tried as many as possible during our time in Paris. There are little shops and stands all over the city that sell these. We highly recommend chocolate or nutella filling!
Where to Stay in Paris on a Budget
Stay near the Eiffel tower. We stayed at Hotel Eiffel Rive Gauche near the Eiffel Tower and recommend it. It was nice to be able to run or walk around Eiffel tower park in the morning. This hotel is also within walking distance from most of the other major attractions. The rooms were quite chic and as always, it was budget friendly.
Bonus: Your stay at this hotel includes a complimentary wine and cheese tasting every afternoon. Being from Wisconsin, we are all about a good charcuterie board.
We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Paris on a budget. Anything else you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Leave us a comment.
Tip: Consider visiting London while you are in Paris. There is a high speed train that can get you there in under 2.5 hours! See our London, England Quick Guide for more tips on visiting London.
And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!
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Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.