Vacations can cost quite a bit, but there are some places around the world where everyone can visit without breaking their budget. In fact, there are even a few areas where it is possible to travel and come in under budget. Paris happens to be one of those beautiful areas, thanks to all the free and cheap things that people can do while they are there.
Here are 10 free or cheap things that will help everyone take a fantastic trip to Paris without spending a fortune:
1. Utilize Public Transportation
While walking is the cheapest way to get around this city, it is not always possible to get everywhere on two feet. Thankfully, the public transportation system is kept up to date in Paris, and there are plenty of choices for passes. The best pass seems to be the Paris Metro, which allows everyone unlimited travel via the Metro, RER, bus, tramway, and regional SNCF trains for multiple days in a row. These passes also allow visitors to receive discounts at numerous museums, restaurants, and attractions on the days that their passes are valid.
2. Attend Free Events
There are plenty of free events held in Paris throughout the year, but some of them are more popular than others. Of course, to take advantage of them, everyone needs to be in the city when they are taking place. The Paris Music Festival is held every year on June 21st, and other popular choices include the Open-Air Paris Cinema, Bastille Day Celebration, and European Heritage Days.
3. Take Advantage of Free Museum Days
Most of the national museums within Paris offer free admission on the first Sunday of every month. This means that travelers visiting around that time can enter the Louvre, Orsay, Albert Kahn, and many more of the museums in the city for free. The only downside is that this is popular, and many other people will have the same idea. Therefore, it is recommended that everyone arrives early to get into line.
4. Visit Free Historical Sites
There are many historical sites that travelers can visit for free, although there is a cost to do specific things within some of them. For example, it is free to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral. However, there is a cost to climb to the top of the towers. The Eiffel Tower is also free, as long as you view it from the outside.
5. Tour Jardin d’Acclimation
There is a small fee to enter this park, and while some of the attractions inside can be costly, it is still a great place to go to save some money. Visitors will love being able to enter the apiary, house of mirrors, and water park for free in between wandering around exploring the rest of the open space.
6. Stroll the Jardin Luxembourg
This garden was constructed by Marie de Medicis during the 17th century. While changes have been made since then, the most prominent feature, the Medici Fountain that was placed there in 1630, can still be seen. There are more than one hundred other statues, and fountains within this park and many people can spend hours wandering around looking at them all. This is also a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch with items that were picked up at a local bakery and market.
7. Explore Père Lachaise Cemetery
Not many people think to visit a cemetery on their vacation, but in Paris, there are a couple worth going to. A favorite amongst many is Père Lachaise, as it is non-secular and there are many famous people buried there. This cemetery was established in 1804, and it now contains one hundred and ten acres. There is a map available of where everyone is buried, but the most notable people include Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Chopin, and Edith Piaf.
8. Walk Along Canal St-Martin
It won’t cost anyone a dime to take a stroll along Canal St-Martin. Canal St-Martin can be found in the 10th arrondissement, so visitors will want to add it to their itinerary for that area of town. This waterfront area is the perfect destination for a picnic lunch or snack, complete with a bottle of wine and hours of time to sit and watch the world pass by.
9. Visit La Promenade Plantée
La Promenade Plantée can be found in the 12th arrondissement and can be easily accessed by the Metro. This walkway is just over two and a half miles in length and thanks to its elevation, people can see spectacular views high up over the city. The greenery is a fantastic backdrop to many of the sights, and it is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the tranquility.
10. Dine Out for Less
Not everyone is going to want to prepare their own meals for the duration of their trip to Paris, but no one will need to worry about going over budget while eating out if they know what to do. Many restaurants serve the same cuisine at lunch as they do for dinner, yet the price is much less.
This will allow visitors to eat at some of the best restaurants without spending a lot of money. Ordering a la carte meals can also offer significant savings, as can avoiding soda and sparkling water and purchasing wine by the glass instead of the bottle.
The best way to save money though is by eating as the Parisians do. Grabbing a baguette, butter, and jam makes a leisurely breakfast for less than a few euros while adding cheese and wine to the baguette makes a nice filling lunch or dinner.
These ten cheap or free things will allow everyone to experience Paris for less but understand that everyone will want to splurge on something when they are there. However, a little splurge or two is more manageable when everything else is costing very little.
Let me know what your experience in Paris and what would you suggest adding to this list. Post your comments below!