People will tell you that you need a lot of money and a lot of time to do Paris. Not so. Liebling and I went to Paris for less that 48 hours a few weeks ago, saw all the highlights, and best of all, didn’t break the bank. What’s more, you can do what we did in 24 hours. Here’s how!
- When it comes to sightseeing, stick with the free stuff.
Resting majestically atop the hill in Montmartre (one of Paris’ best known districts), the Sacred Heart Cathedral’s white domes are probably one of Paris’ most recognizable landmarks after the Eiffel Tower. From here you can also get the most amazing view of Paris- it’s the second highest point in the city!
Stroll along the Champs-Elysées
Subject of many songs and literature, a stroll along the avenue is a must-do in Paris. A walk along this chic street also means that you can hit up other important monuments in the city. The Arc de Triomphe sits stoically at the top of the avenue, while the Place de la Concordeis found at the end.
It’s arguably one of Paris most visited attractions. Home to Mona Lisa and Venus, even if you don’t like art, you have to go in (or at least take your picture outside the famed glass pyramid like we did- we hate museums, remember??). The Louvre costs anywhere from 10 to 14 euros to view various collections BUT it is FREE for visitors under the age of 18, school teachers of various subjects, and people who can prove they are unemployed, amongst others. The Louvre is also FREE for everyone on the 1st Sunday of every month. See the Louvre’s website for a more detailed explanation.
Sure, you can pay 4-13 Euros for a ticket to go part-way or fully to the top, but us budget-conscious travellers decided to fake it and take a picture in front for free. Pourquoi pas?
It costs money to enter the Centre Pompidou, but hanging around in front and the watching street performers do their thing is free (and more fun, at least for me!).
We also visited the Petit Palais, walked around the Latin Quarter and around the highly entertaining, if a bit seedy, red light district found around Pigalle station. All of these things were also free!
|Walking past Moulin Rouge, which is found in the red light district near Pigalle|
- Eat in Paris on the cheap
Eating out in Paris, especially if you’re not familiar with the city, or spending most of your time in the tourist areas, is EXPENSIVE. I was shocked at the prices of food and drink in restaurants- I somehow remember things costing way less the last time I was in Paris in 2008. At any rate, it is possible to cheaply and heartily. Liebling and I ate cheaply during our stay, often opting to eat smaller, cheaper things during the day, then spending a bit more money to eat well in the evening. My suggestions:
Roadside stands selling delectable treats are a way of life in Paris. Even better, roadside fare is often dirt cheap in comparison to eating in restos. Liebling and I had crepes for 2 Euros each, a huge panini for 3.50 Euros, and ate pastries from the many boulangeries for as little as 65 cents of a Euro.
Despite mostly eating very cheaply, we did splash out (moderately) and spent 25 euros per person on a fabulous dinner at Chez Brigitte, a restaurant in the 17e arrondissment. Of course, that was the one night I forgot to bring my camera, so unfortunately I don’t have any pictures (boo!).
- Save money on accommodation
Finding good, affordable accommodation in Paris can be a nightmare at any time of the year. However, this task was even more difficult for us since we happened to be in the city smack dab during Paris Fashion Week (eek!). However, the lovely folks at Hostel Bookers offered Liebling and I a room for the night at the Quality Opera St. Lazare. Extremely centrally located, this three-star hotel is simple, but very clean, and a steal at only $115 USD per night for a double room. Even better was that our little room had the cutest balcony! Very Parisian.
- Public transportation and your own two feet are the best way to get around
The above is only some of the things we did, ate, and saw during our short trip. Contrary to popular belief, Paris can be done quickly (though we would all love more time to explore!) and cheaply.
What do you think of our itinerary and budgeting tips for 48 hours in Paris? Were we way off base? Anything you’d like to add? Questions? Do you think you could do the same thing in 24 hours in Paris?
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