Paris on a Budget

Paris like many major urban centres of the world is expensive. Unfortunately it comes with the territory. But, don’t despair there are ways of getting past that. We have lots of addresses and things to do on the cheap. Luckily we are here to help because we ourselves are Parisian and we know all the tricks for saving a pretty penny. Paris on the cheap, mission impossible? You want to bet?

Sightseeing without breaking the Bank

The cultural life in Paris is vibrant and intense! Museums, theatre, concerts, there are hundreds of things to keep a culture vulture busy. Tickets to the museums cost anything between 5 and 10 euros, a seat at the cinema is usually about 9 euros, and if you are feeling particularly adventurous with your French, seats at the theatre start at 20 euros, but with prices like this going out starts to add up! So what’s the alternative? Would you be content walking around the beautiful parks and seeing only the exteriors of monuments? It’s not as absurd as it sounds, just walking around Paris will reveal a city jam-packed with stunning architecture and monuments.

There are other ways to appreciate French patrimony for free, and in all of its splendour. Did you know that there are a number of museums in Paris that are free? The Home of Balzac (47, rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris) and Victor Hugo (6 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris), the Musée Cerunuschi, the Musée de la Vie Romantique, the Musée d’Art Moderne and the Petit Palais, propose free entry to their collections. Even the large museums such as the Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du Quai Branly have free entry the first Sunday for the month, so make sure check the calendar!

For night-time outings, there are a number of concert halls with affordable entries. There are also bars, which propose free concerts depending on the night. The Limonaire (18 Cité Bergère, 75009 Paris) is a “bistro à vins et chansons” which proposes a simple dinner in an inviting atmosphere for a modest price, followed with a concert of French chansons or music from the poplar repertoire. At the end of the night a hat is passed around and you pay into it whatever you wish. A night like this will definitely kindle a bit of that famous Parisian romance. And the fact that it is found on a side street hidden in between the grand boulevards, makes the experience all the more charming. At the L’International, a bar in the 11th arrondissement, there are free concerts every night, and the fact that it is found in this up and coming area of Paris means that you will be experiencing a slice of real Parisian life.

What do you say to a lunchtime concert Opera for only 5 euros? “Thursdays at the Bastille” is a unique opportunity to discover soloists, chamber music, and orchestras. Best to get there early or reserve your tickets online. There are also discount ticket websites like billetreduc.com where you can book all sorts of concerts and theatre.

Don't Leave the Restaurant with Empty Pockets

Eating well in Paris is high on the list of priorities for most Parisians, so finding a good meal for the right price isn’t as hard as you might think. It just takes a little Parisian savoir-faire! The cave-à-vin “Le Vin en Tête” regularly offers free wine tastings in the company of winegrowers who will be happy to impart their wisdom as you gulp down Bordeaux and Cotes-du-Rhone to your hearts content. This team of passionate wine drinkers own three boutiques in Paris, found at Métro Saint-Georges, Métro Rome and Métro Saint-Placide.

Another Parisian classic, the sandwich jambon-beurre (ham and butter) can still be found for the modest price of €3.90. Roll up to the Petit Vendôme (8 Rue des Capucines, 75002 Paris) not far from the foot of the celebrated Vendôme. Eating a sandwich like this in these glorious surroundings means experiencing the folklore and glamour associated with Paris. If you’re looking for something more exotic then a trip to Trois Frères (14, rue Léon Paris 75018) for couscous in the lively 18th arrondissement is just the ticket for those with modest means. Dinner is served from 8:30 onwards and drinks are surprisingly cheap by Paris standards, starting at €2. Bon appétit!

You might also be interested in the following article What to pack for Paris

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