Paris may be notoriously expensive, but even the most budget minded traveler can enjoy all the charm, beauty and highlights of the city without spending a dime! From its buzzing fashion scene to its globally famous art and history, there are surely plenty of places to discover in the city of romance that won’t leave you feeling broke.
Go to a Fashion Show
No visit to the world capital of fashion would be complete without at least some sort of exposure to the city’s fashion industry. Instead of springing for the newest Prada bag, you can attend a high end fashion show for free! For instance, the Galeries Lafayette is a high-end shopping and insanely large department store that offers free fashion shows to its patrons every week. Visitors can attend their free fashion shows at 3:00 in the afternoon on Mondays and Fridays throughout the year.
Visit the Eiffel Tower
There’s nothing like gazing out over the cityscape and seeing the Eiffel Tower’s to convince yourself you are actually in Paris. Besides the actual beauty of this architectural wonder of the world, part of the Eiffel Tower’s captivating beauty is that anyone can see it without spending a buck! While a ride to the top of the famous landmark is quite expensive, anyone is welcome to walk around the Parc du Champ de Mars, home to the tower, for free. You can walk right up and touch the tower, or admire it from vantage points around the city, or do both and truly experience the Eiffel Tower just as much as if you had paid for the pricy ride to the top.
Have a Picnic at Tuileries Garden
Can’t afford a night out on the town? You can still enjoy eating like a royal at Tuileries Garden, which was open only to the Parisian upper class and French Royalty for centuries. Thankfully, now the gardens are free and open to the public, and they have become a popular picnic spot and a gather place for locals and tourists alike to pause and enjoy the beauty and splendor of the ancient French architecture and gardens. There are plenty of public benches and tables available for those who wish to eat outside sans grass stains.
Stroll the Seine River
Instead of springing for a boat tour of the Seine River, why not just talk a walk? Almost as iconic as the Eiffel Tower itself, no visit to the city of romance is complete without visiting the famous river that winds its way through the most historic center of Paris. The riverwalk is surrounded on both sides with plenty of bridges and multi-level sidewalks that help give different perspective on the river and the beauty of the city itself. It’s one of the best ways to kill time in Paris and soak up true Parisian culture in every breath.
See the Museum of Modern Art
In a city known for its art, one of the best points is the fact that many of these museums are affordable for everyone to visit! The Museum of Modern Art offers free admission, and still holds some of the most exclusive and well known pieces of artwork from Parisian artists. The building has a huge collection of sculptures, statues and paintings from great artists ranging from Picasso to Matisse.
Walk the Coulee verte Rene-Dumon
Paris is home to the world’s first elevated park, built on an old abandoned railroad viaduct that carved a path through the heart of Paris. The trend has now spread across the world, and cities around the globe have started taking the initiative to produce more urban parks in abandoned transportation systems as well. Coulee verte Rene-Dumon was the first, and still remains one of the best; the 3 mile long walkway allows you to stroll high above the congested roads and see Paris at a whole new level.
Take a Guided Tour of the Shoah Memorial
Easily one of the most moving memorials to the victims of the horrific WWII, the Shoah Memorial pays tribute to the Jews and other people of faith that lost everything, including their lives, at the hands of the Nazis during the German occupation of France. Guided tours are offered for free in English for visitors on the second Sunday of every month at 3:00 pm. The tour helps to explain in detail the day to day life of the city’s Jewish population, and some of the overall history of Paris during WWII.
Visit the Carnavalet Museum
The Carnavalet Museum holds so much history from centuries of Parisian politics, culture, and movements that it takes up two entire mansions. There are hundreds of thousands of artifacts that date as far back as the 4th century all the way up to present day Paris. For no charge, you can browse through and see some of the most famous moments from the city’s history, all housed in some of the most beautiful architecture in Paris.
Visit the Basilique du Sacré Coeur
The Basilique du Sacré Coeur is one of the most famous and arguably the most breathtaking basilica in the world. The white exterior is only a beginning to the beauty that lies within, with 24 carat gold mosaics, glass stained windows, and intricate carvings in every corner. Best of all, you can see most of the inside for free!
Take a Tour of Paris
Guided tours in Paris are available to anyone, free of charge! Without spending a dime, you too can hire a local guide to take you to the best spots around Paris, and give you a background on the city’s history as well. Tours can be booked in advance on the website called Paris Greeters. It’s a great way to get first-hand knowledge of the city from a local’s point of view, without having to spring the extra money for an exclusive high end private tour.
Looking for more ways to save money on a trip to the City of Lights? Make sure to check out our budget-friendly tips to Paris!
Jason Biondo is a fitness buff and a travel junkie who loves to share insightful tip-offs to his fellow backpackers and travelers. He is also a User Interface Developer Consultant and the founder of Trekeffect.