Paris on a Budget

  • August 22, 2019
  • All things Paris
  • Jocelyn Wensjoe

Great news you’ve booked a cheap ticket to visit Paris! But what’s your budget? Are you tight on money? Paris is known to be the seventh most expensive city in Europe, but not to worry because Theatre in Paris has your back. We’ve created a list of a couple of places for you to swing by that are common among locals and you might not have been aware of. We’re here to give you the cheap and the free.

seine river

Unwind by the Seine

Whether it’s spring, fall, summer, or winter one of the most common things Parisians do is hang out with friends by the Seine river to have a couple of drinks. Sightseers also join in the fun, this is a great place to make friends and socialize with locals. After a drink or two everyone is cordial. You can have an evening picnic on the banks of the Seine. Most grocery stores are inexpensive here in Paris, you can buy yourself a baguette, French wine, cheese, some ham and have yourself a “charcuterie” meal with a view. If you head towards Pont Neuf in the evening you can catch locals having a rendez-vous with music and wine in hand after a long day at work. We also recommend visiting a renowned bookstore that goes by the name of the Abbey Bookshop, here you can find affordable second- hand books of every genre in English! This will help you feel at ease while eating charcuterie and listening to the sound of someone playing the Saxophone or the violin in the background. Considering the Seine river is long, there are plenty of places along the riverbanks to stop by. For example, if you are thinking of enjoying the nightlife by the river then we’ve got 2 words for you “Les Nautes”. Les Nautes was once an abandoned building that was later restored into a flamboyant little bar that Parisians treasure. The bar has a perfect view of the Seine river up close, during the weekend individuals of all ages gather in this spot and either bring their own drinks or buy them at the bar and sit down on the wooden benches offered by Le Nautes or on the floor by the river banks. This is the spot to be if you’re looking for something relaxing or in the mood for some mingling. 

thrift shopping

The Thrill of Thrift

The fashion industry here is big, Parisians are known to be stylish and classy. Big brand names such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès are expensive and so are most boutiques in Paris. However, Paris does have its hidden gems and by hidden gems, we are referring to Parisian thrift shops. Oh yes, shopping for second-hand goods is a thing here. If your budget is low, yet you want to shop for some chic French wear then read up because the top 5 thrift shops on this list will facilitate your search. Our very favorite would have to be the Kilo Shop, the name itself gives you a clue as to what their selling method is all about. Kilo Shop sells its products by the kilo, meaning all articles chosen to purchase are first weighed and based on the weight the price is given. The perk of this shop is that there are a few articles that can cost you up to 1 euro, you must be very observant. La Petite Fripe also known as Pointure Paris has a different vibe, this not so little store is located on Avenue de la Republique and it’s a shoe heaven. If you’re into vintage and one of a kind shoes then La Petite Fripe is for you, this vintage shop not only sells second-hand/ hand- made shoes, but it also sells clothing. It caters mainly to women, but there are shoes for men as well. The prices can vary depending on the article. This is as budget-friendly as it's going to get! Next on the list is Chinemachine, a store with an interesting notion where you can sell, trade, and shop! Bring to Paris some clothes that you no longer want and get paid to shop, simple as that. You will find unique items from jeans, 1980’s sweatshirts, and vintage Parisian suede jackets. At last, we’ve reached the last of the top 5! This may be one of the most inexpensive thrift shops with derisory prices that will knock your socks off. The prices can go from as low as 6 to 60 euros, unbelievable right? Free’P’Star offers a wide selection of accessories from new to used apparel, depending on your needs. 

musee d'orsey

How to enter Paris museums for free

One of the most common places to visit when in Paris are museums, and which is the number one museum to visit? The Louvre of course. Paying 15 euros for a museum entrance may not be good for your pocket, which is why we're going to tell you a little secret on how to get in some of the well-known museums here in Paris for FREE! Not a lot of visitors know this but there are a couple of loopholes to get into Louvre, Museum d’Orsay, and even the Cluny “middle- age” museum. There are two specific dates anybody can obtain a free entrance to the Louvre, no matter the age or residency status. These dates include every first Saturday and Sunday of the month starting from 6 in the evening up to 9:45 at night, of course, it can take more than just 3 hours and a half to see all the beauty that lies within the Louvre so we suggest you get there early because during these dates the queue can be longer than usual. If you’ve previously visited the Louvre and are interested in visiting other museums, you’re in luck because multiple museums offer free entrance every first Sunday of the month, not just the Louvre. Now if you’re not planning to come during the first Saturday or Sunday of the month, not to worry because there are plenty of other museums you can go in without having to pay. Click here to see the following museums you can visit for free. For the young travelers, if you are 18 years old you can enter the museums free of charge, and if you are under the age of 26 you can enter the museums for free on Fridays. 

indian food

Good quality meal, at a low price

When it comes to food if you’re trying to save up some money try eating the very sought-after French tacos! Tourists love them and so do locals and it might just be due to the price and the taste. There’s nothing Mexican about French Tacos, this cuisine originates from a Moroccan experiment of combining different dishes and was introduced in Rhône- Alpes in the early 2000s, it can be closely related to kebabs. This delicious meal consists of a warm white tortilla stuffed and wrapped with the meat of your choice whether it being chicken, turkey, or beef and delicious French fries with a special sauce, yum now doesn’t that sound like a treat? The original creators of the concept O’tacos charge as low as 5 up to 14 euros depending on the size of your wrap. Indeed, France isn’t known to provide a wide variety of vegetarian dishes, but over recent years the idea has been booming. One all-time favorite restaurant with economical and delicious vegetarian dishes is located on Gare du Nord, it’s an Indian joint called Krishna Bhavan (website in French). The food is served on metal dish trays with four sections which contain four different ingredients in each section. The prices vary from 7 to 9 euros, not so shabby if we may say so ourselves. 


Au Taquet bar for cheap drinks

It’s now nighttime, the day was long and you need a drink. Do you know where you need to go to buy a couple of drinks for unbeatable prices? Au Taquet. This bar has an upbeat atmosphere filled with jolly locals, with drinks starting at only 2.50 euros it’s pretty difficult not to feel the joy! Fun fact, did you know that Au Taquet translates to “full speed” in English? In our opinion, this can either be due to the fact that the pints of blonde beer for 2.50 euros fly off the bar counter at full speed, or because the bartenders do an incredible job at providing swift service to the client. For cocktail lovers, cocktails in Au Taquet are only 4 euros, you’re welcome. If you plan to spend some time at this bar, you better go early because at the end of the night this place is bursting with people and space is limited. 

omg she's parisian

Shows to see on a budget

You cannot come to Paris and not watch a theatre performance, Theatre means everything to the city of arts. If you’ve been looking into purchasing a ticket to watch a theatre performance but you haven’t found any affordable prices and most shows you’ve found are in French, stop stressing because we’ve got just the shows for you. Every month there’s an assortment of different shows from comedy to drama and classical concerts. Fortunately, at a reasonable price you can watch the hilarious one-womann comedy act OMG she’s Parisian for 19 euros or listen to the beautiful melody of instruments playing an assortment of classical music such as Bach’s concertos for violin for only 18 euros in one of the oldest buildings in Paris, the Sainte Chapelle


Dancing with the locals

Ever heard of the French term soiree? It means evening party and there’s a lot of that going on here. Going out in Paris is honestly, quite pricey. Getting into a club can cost you from 7 to 15 euros or more, but why pay that much when you can dance with locals and newcomers for free in the streets of Paris. There is a group that organizes meet-ups for the week where people can dance a variety of different music genres depending on the day of the week. The most common days to go to these events are on the weekends when Parisians play the exotic sounds of salsa, bachata, or kizomba. If you go a bit early to this soiree you can learn some dance moves taught by volunteers and friendly locals. From Thursday to Sunday, the Latin steps in Quai Saint Bernard offer an open-air event by the water edge of the Seine river. In the center of Place de la Republique near station 11, there is a similar concept, where you’ll feel like you’re surrounded by professional dancers and be astonished with how incredible everyone looks showing off different dance styles. In Place de La Republique it's better to go on Wednesdays and Fridays, these are the dates when the party doesn’t stop until late at night. Who said having fun needed to be expensive? These two events are 100% free. 

walking tour

Free walking tours

If you have time, get to know the history of some of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Paris such as Montmartre, The Latin Quarter, and learn about important landmarks with a free tour from Discover walks. With Discover walks you’ll get the chance to uncover charming sceneries and explore hidden places that many tourists do not know about, for example, the Montmartre vineyard which is the only vineyard remaining in the center of Paris and is regularly overlooked. The tour is entirely free, but you can leave your tour guide a tip at the end of the journey. Imagine everything you’ll learn about Paris and its wonders! There are different tours at different times, so be sure to check out which is the best for you. This is an opportunity not to be missed!

gallerie lafayette

Watch the sunset on the rooftop of Gallerie Lafayette 

How does watching the sunset with a view of the whole city of Paris in the background sound to you? Like something you would picture yourself watching in a movie, right? well head to Gallerie Lafayette and get ready to feel like a movie star. There is no charge to venture up to the roof, and if you’re feeling a little famished up there the prices on the restaurant’s vegetarian menu are not too bad. The lively atmosphere and the view would have to be the cherry on top of this popular shopping center.


Liked this article? Check out others like it from the Theatre in Paris blog:

The Opulent History of the Sainte Chapelle

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Paris By Neighbourhood- Discover Secrets Around Every Parisian Street Corner